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Caste,community leaders against disclosing of sub-sects in census 

B Sivakumar & Karthick S TNN 

Chennai: The ongoing caste census has brought caste reservation under spotlight once again in Tamil Nadu.
Many caste and religious leaders have issued statements,released advertisements in vernacular press and launched online campaigns urging their community members not to mention the names of the sub-caste or sub-sect to which they belong when the enumerators come calling.
After 80 years,the caste census is being undertaken.This is a good opportunity to know the exact number of persons of each community and accordingly the government can extend welfare measures to them, said Vanniyar Sangam president and MLA Kaduvetti Guru.
On Wednesday,Manithaneya Makkal Katchi MLA from Ramanathapuram M H Jawariullah asked community members to just record their community as Islam and not as Muslim in the community column and not to give any details about their sub-sects such as labbai or rowther.
Islam is the religion and I have asked the community members to record their religion as Islam and not Muslim.Mentioning the sub-sect will create confusion as many are classified as backward class and some are not.Thus mentioning just Islam will not lead to all this confusion, Jawariullah told TOI.
Similarly,prominent leaders of Vanniyars,Thevars and Nadars in the state have also issued appeals to their respective community members to mention the main caste alone and not get into the details.
For example,N Sethuraman,a prominent Thevar leader,does not want any of the community members to mention whether they belong to Maravar,Agamudaiyar or Kallar community.
Just mention the caste names as Thevar and not any of the sub-sects, Sethuraman said.Similarly Paarvendhan of Bhargavakulam has asked his community members to say they belong to Bhargavakulam and not to mention that they are Moopanar,Udayar or Nayanar.The Tamil Nadu Brahmins association has also released an advertisement asking community members to just mention their community as Brahmins and not to reveal which sub-sect they belong to be it Iyer,Iyengar or any other sub-sect.
At present there is no reservation or any other benefit for poor from the community.Mentioning the sub-caste will lead to further division in the numbers.We may have several sub-sects and divisions among ourselves but mentioning all these will bring down the numbers and thereby reduce the bargaining power, said V Ravi of the association.


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HEAD COUNT: An enumerator recording the details of a household 



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Councillor bribe charge nixes.6crore contracts 

Pratiksha Ramkumar TNN 

Chennai: Graft in public projects may be a dirty open secret,but brazen interference by a ward councillors husband in the bidding for projects has led to the corporation cancelling 84 tenders worth more than 6 crore.Corporation commissioner D Karthikeyan ordered an inquiry into complaints of similar interference by councillors and the problems that contractors face.
Karthikeyan said a decision had been taken to annul the tenders and issue fresh ones to put an end to the practice of councillors or their relatives or associates expecting a commission from contractors.We will monitor the cameras carefully.If we find even the slightest mischief,we will lodge a police complaint, Karthikeyan said.
The corporation on Thursday annulled the tenders for infrastructure work in Anna Nagar after contractors complained that ward 103 councillor Vasukis husband S Bhavani Shankar and his associates had on Wednesday illegally stopped some of them from participating in the bidding.They alleged that the councillors husband wanted to give the order to his associates for a fat bribe.Bhavani Shankar was standing in front of the tender sales office with two or three of his men.He said the contracts should be given only to his people and he stopped the clerk from selling the form to us.He allowed only two people to buy the forms, said association president R Ramarao.
Mayor Saidai Duraisamy and commissioner Karthikeyan verified the contractors complaint with the tender sales clerk.I have asked the clerk to submit a confidential report on such practices, Karthikeyan said.
Bhavani Shankar claimed he was only trying to stop the contractors syndicate from delaying development work in his wifes ward.
They fix the bidders,who later demand more money after they are selected and waste time negotiating with the corporation.So,I encouraged people I know to participate and break the syndicate, he said.If my interference led to the cancellation,why did they cancel 30 of the 84 orders that were awarded online I have also complained to the mayor and the chief minister. 
Any tender worth Rs 5 lakh has to be applied manually after buying a form for Rs 1,655.It costs 3,350 to apply for tenders worth 5-10 lakh.Forms for tenders worth more than 10 lakh can be downloaded from the internet.
Bhavani Shankar even demanded that the online system be cancelled because it did not allow contractors to be monitored or controlled.


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TN reports most child abuse cases 

115 Of Total 570 Complaints Were From State,Says Minister 

R Vasundara TNN 

Chennai: Tamil Nadu has the dubious distinction of having the most number of recorded complaints of child abuse in school compared with other states.
Union minister of state for human resource development E Ahamed told the Rajya Sabha on Friday that of the total 570 complaints of beating,harassment,humiliation and sexual exploitation in schools received by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) from across the country,115 were from Tamil Nadu.
Closer home,however,activists wonder if the tag truly mirrors ground realities.It could just be better reporting in Tamil Nadu, said R Vidyasagar,child protection specialist,UNICEF.Based on what Ive seen,I think its just that a higher number of complaints have come to light here, he reckoned.
N Saravanan,his colleague in Dharmapuri and project director for the Integrated Child Protection Project for that district,said more cases have been coming to light in the recent past,particularly sexual abuse cases.Six months ago,there was a case in a government middle school on the outskirts of Dharmapuri town where a mathematics teacher molested several children, he said.The parents came to know about this and they picketed the place and demanded action against this teacher. 
Saravanan believes that the incidence of violence in schools has been high because of rising vacancies in teacher posts,thereby putting stress on the remaining teachers.Because of the inability of the state to fill the vacancies,a single teacher now handles more than 200 children each time and tempers get frayed quite fast in such cases, he said.In Dharmapuri,however,the maximum incidence of abuse has come to light from the government-run tribal schools.Apart from Dharmapuri,we also see a lot of cases reported from Krishnagiri and Salem, he said.
Possibly the speediest action taken in such a case was in September 2011,when the Madras high court ordered the arrest of a woman teacher and a principal of a matriculation school at Kallakurichi in Villupuram district for allegedly sexually abusing a three-year old girl.The court passed the order about a month after a complaint was registered by the girls mother.


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Minister gets mom treated at govt hospital to prove a point 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Chennai: The Government General Hospital in the city now has a new ambassador the state higher education minister,P Palaniappan.Doctors at the hospital have successfully conducted a surgery on his 84-year-old mother after some leading private hospitals in the city declined to do so saying it was risky for her to undergo the surgery.
Ponniammal,a resident of Pappirapati village in Dharmapuri district,has been living with goitre for nearly 34 years.The 240-gram cyst in her throat made it difficult for her to speak or eat and she constantly complained of pain.Doctors in private hospitals told her that she would get relief only if the huge cyst was removed.But they had hesitated to operate on her as they feared that the surgery would leave her with a weak voice,lead to a hole in the neck,and could even be fatal.I was scared.I did not want any such thing to happen to my mother, said Palaniappan.He then sent his mother to a senior surgeon at the government hospital.
Elected representatives and senior politicians usually prefer to receive treatment outside the public healthcare sector.The issue was even debated in the recent assembly session and an opposition MLA said many people prefer to be treated at private hospitals.The minister said he decided to brave it to prove a point that the services in a government hospital were on par with those in private facilities.We have senior doctors and the best equipment in government hospitals, he said.
The Chennai government hospital has been conducting such surgeries for over three decades.On May 16,while Palaniappan was busy in the state legislative assembly,doctors there operated on his mother and removed the cyst,which weighed more than 240 gram.The surgery was completed within an hour and Ponniammal was able to speak a few hours later.It was a risky surgery but it wasnt something we had never done.We have operated on patients who had cysts that were nearly double the size, said surgical endocrinologist Dr M Chandrasekaran.
On Monday,Ponniammal looked visibly relieved in the special ward of the hospital.I can speak.I can eat.My throat is feeling lighter.Now,I am waiting to return home she told TOI.Ponniammal,according to doctors,has recovered well after the surgery and is fit to be discharged.Palaniappan was happy too.They would have done this for any patient.Its free and its good.


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Ponniammal at Government General Hospital in Chennai 



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DMK MP misses flight,creates ruckus 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Chennai:DMK Tuticorin MP S R Jayadurai and his supporters kicked up a furore and allegedly abused Kingfisher airlines staff at Tuticorin airport after he missed his flight on Monday.Jayadurai was scheduled to fly from Tuticorin to Chennai by a Kingfisher flight but he arrived late at the airport.The flight departed on time at 3.30 pm.
Sources said Jayadurai arrived at the airport only at 3.30 pm and picked up a quarrel with airline staff for not holding back the aircraft till he reached.His supporters who came to see him off got enraged and attempted to manhandle the airlines manager.The police intervened,whisked the manager away and confined him to a room to save him from the wrath of the politician and his supporters.
Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has instructed that check-in counters should be closed 40 minutes before departure of aircraft.Domestic passengers should check in 40 minutes before departure of flights.Members of Parliament are not exempted from this rule.Tuticorin is a small airport which handles two flights in a day.
We have informed the MP about departure time of the flight in the morning.A staff also made a reminder call to inform that the flight will be departing on time.He wanted us to hold the plane till he arrived and refused to listen when we informed that it was not possible, said a Kingfisher airline official.
He also said that we waited till 3.15pm because he is an MP.The doors of the aircraft were closed at 3.19pm and it departed at 3.27pm.But,the MP claimed that he reached by 3.15pm. 
Kingfisher airlines official had filed a report detailing the incident with the Airports Authority of India (AAI).Jayadurai confirmed that he reached the airport at 3.15pm and his supporters were enraged at the turn of events.He denied the allegation that he tried to manhandle the airline staff.


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Tasmac among Indias top 5 state-run cos 

TN Liquor Firm Ranks Along With Maha,Guj Power Corpns 

R Vasundara TNN 

Chennai: Its common knowledge that the states liquor dealer,Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation or Tasmac is a money spinner for the government.But a recently released survey report shows that Tasmac also has one of the highest turnovers among all state level public enterprises (SLPE) in the country.
Union minister for heavy industries and public enterprises Praful Patel on Monday wrote to all chief ministers with a view to sharing best practices in running such enterprises and released their first-of-its-kind report.
According to the report,TNs Tasmac ranks third among all SLPEs in the country with a turnover of 10,486 crore.The survey was done based on data submitted in 2007-08.The monopoly liquor retailer,in fact,contributes 46% of the overall turnover of all SLPEs in state.However,neither Tamil Nadu,nor Tasmac figure among the top ten profit-makers.
Unusually,while most other states had their electricity distribution boards and power corporations as their best performing assets,Tamil Nadu,Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka had their liquor beverage corporations as their best performing assets.
Explaining this,managing director of Tasmac,T Soundaiah said,It is true our turnover is one of the highest.But when it comes to profit,Tasmac does not remit in the form of dividends,but in the form of excise duty. 
Tasmac officials do maintain that the corporation is not in the business for profit making.We fix a very small margin of profit,but we reap a huge revenue in the form of taxes and excise duties,which we contribute to the government, said an official.
According to statistics,Tasmac had a turnover of 21,125 crore (approx ) in 2011-12 with the government earning a revenue of 18,081 crore.It is not surprising that the survey says TN has the second highest receipt in the country of ( 4,834 crore for 2007-08 ) VAT,dividend and excise duties.
But the absence of profit extends to many other SLPEs in the state.The state transport corporations are the biggest loss makers in the state with Coimbatore state transport corporation declaring a loss of 7,536 crore.According to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report for 2010-2011,of the 67 working SLPEs in the state,40 SLPEs earned a combined profit of 592.09 crore and 23 SLPEs incurred a loss of 11,923.59 crore.The loss is controllable with better management and there is a tremendous scope to improve the functioning and enhance the profits, said the report.
Commenting on the low profits earned by SLPEs in the state,Ficci state council chairman M Rafeeque Ahmed said,It all boils down to management issues.When higher taxes are levied by the government,why not higher profits for the enterprises.After all,they do not face any competition here. 
But consumer groups in the state were less than amused at this distinction given to Tasmac.Given the alcoholism in the state,it is not at all a matter of happiness that the liquor corporation is one of the best performing public enterprises, said R Desikan,trustee of Consumer Association of India.

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Centre backs tribals rights in debate over TN tiger reserve 

K A Shaji TNN 

Coimbatore: While the state government is prepared to declare Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve,the Union ministry of tribal affairs has stated that such a move should be undertaken without violating the rights of forest dwellers in case they need to be relocated.In a letter addressed to chief minister J Jayalalithaa,tribal affairs minister V Kishore Chandra Deo reiterated that the move should be undertaken within the confines of the Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006.
In the letter,written on May 24,the minister said,Large numbers of them have been illegally displaced from forest land without respect for their rights or due process of law. 
The letter assumes significance as recently,19 tribal village panchayats in the Sathyamangalam region rejected the tiger reserve proposal by adopting resolutions in specially convened grama sabhas,as it failed to address their grievances.Both the Forest Rights Act and Wildlife Protection Act give grama sabhas of tribal majority regions the right to refuse the proposal.
Among the political parties,CPI MLA from Bhavanisagar P L Sundaram has assumed the responsibility of leading the agitation against the tiger reserve.On Sunday last,the DMK too offered their support to the tribal community,demanding the scrapping of the project.We will consult with our party leadership to decide on the future course of action, said DMK Erode district secretary and former minister N K K P Raja.Ironically,it was the previous DMK government that mooted the project.
In his letter,Deo told the state that the Forest Rights Act was passed by the Parliament to remedy the historical injustice done to the tribal community.He said that the legislation had not benefitted most forest dwellers even though it has been five years since the Act was passed.The letter also hoped for recognition of community rights including rights to minor forest produce,grazing areas,water bodies and habitats of primitive tribal groups.
If relocation should happen,it must adhere to section 4 (2) of the Forest Rights Act.Section 4(2) of the Act lays out a procedure by which people can be resettled from protected areas if it is found to be necessary for wildlife conservation.The first step is to show that relocation is scientifically necessary and no other alternative is available;this has to be done through a process of public consultation.The second step is to acquire the consent of the local community,regarding the resettlement.Finally,the resettlement must provide not only compensation but a secure livelihood 
According to Coimbatorebased rights activist C R Bijoy,who was involved in the drafting of the forest rights bill,state forest authorities had never conducted a scientific study regarding the issue.No public consultation was held and no effort was taken to get the opinion and consent of the affected community.

WHAT THE ACT SAYS 


Section 4(2) of the Act lays out a procedure by which people can be resettled from protected areas if it is found to be necessary for wildlife conservation The first step is to show that relocation is scientifically necessary and no other alternative is available The second step is to acquire the consent of the local community,regarding the resettlement Finally,the resettlement must provide not only compensation but a secure livelihood

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In state,idol smugglers have free run 

In 5 Years,154 Idols Worth 75cr Recovered By Cops 

Christin Mathew Philip TNN 

Chennai: With little or no security around the innumerable ancient temples across the state,Tamil Nadu has become a haven for idol thieves in the country.However,there is no record of how many idols have been stolen.
Data obtained by TOI shows that 154 idols,which would cost an estimated Rs 75 crore in the black market,have been recovered by the idol wing of the economic offences wing (EOW ) over the last five years.
About 10% of smuggled idols are recovered after tip-offs from informers,officials said.Most of the idols,stolen mainly from rural areas,find their way to private museums in New York and Hong Kong through a wide network spread across India,Pakistan,Dubai,Hong Kong,Afghanistan,Bangladesh,Indonesia and Thailand.There is a huge demand for panchaloha idols in the international market.But since many of the temples are located in rural areas,they lack security.So smugglers find it easier to strike there, an officer said.
The most targeted areas are Sivaganga,Ariyalur,Thanjavur,Villupuram,Nagapattinam and Tiruvallur,which have temples dating back to the Chola,Pallava and Pandian eras.
Many of the thefts occur during festivals.Once the thieves find a suitable temple,they will stay there for six to 10 months.The value of the idol is calculated as per its antiquity,size and weight in the black market, an officer from idol wing said.Three types of middlemen are involved in this operation.The first will steal the idols from the temples,while the second will assess the quality and value of the idol.The third person will buy the idols and sell them outside the country, he said.
R Arumugam,inspector general of police,EOW,said,Notorious idol smuggler Subash Kapoor,who was accused in several idol theft cases,was recently arrested in Germany by the Interpol.We are in touch with the Interpol to get his custody as he has been involved in the smuggling of idols from the state.


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PIL questions sub-quota for dalit community 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Chennai: The legality of Tamil Nadu governments three-yearold reservation policy of providing 3% sub-quota for the Arunthathiyars within the 18%reservation for scheduled castes has been challenged in the Madras high court.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam,before whom the PIL filed by Dr K Krishnasamy of the Puthiya Tamizhagam party came up for admission on Thursday,has issued notices to the state government.
In his petition,Krishnasamy submitted that the then government had prescribed the subquota for Arunthathiyar,ignoring the fact that the scheduled castes form a homogenous group for the purpose of reservation and it was beyond the state governments legislative competence to prescribe a special reservation for one group within the SC category.
Noting that the SC population as a whole is still marginalised and suffered ostracization,Krishnasamy said that in 2008 the then government had accepted a one-man commissions report recommending a special recommendation for Arunthathiyars.The one-man panel has no jurisdiction or authority to decide such issues,he said,adding that it amounted to discrimination among the castes listed in presidential order.
He said the state government had not held discussions with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes on the matter.Also,the state cannot cull out some scheduled castes from the presidential list for providing special reservation.


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SIM card seized from Rajiv killer in jail 

A Selvaraj TNN 

Chennai: A squad of vigilance personnel (prisons) conducted raids at Vellore prison and seized a SIM card from Murugan,one of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts.Prison officials recovered three other SIM cards and two mobile phones from other inmates of the prison.
We suspected he (Murugan) was up to something and kept a watch on him, said a prison officer.We found him hiding something inside his trousers.When we examined his trousers,first we didnt find anything.Later,we found a small opening at the top portion of the trousers.He had hidden a SIM card in a fold, the officer said.
The seized SIM card has been handed over to senior officials.Some prisoners manage to get SIM cards.They insert them into one or two available phones in the prison and make calls.The SIM card will be handed over to the Vellore crime branch to probe who Murugan has been speaking to.We are investigating who passed on the card to him and how, the officer said.
Perarivalan,Murugan and Santhan,who have been sentenced to death,have filed writ petitions challenging the rejection of their clemency plea by the President in 2011.The Supreme Court is looking into the matter.The three were found guilty in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by an LTTE suicide bomber at Sriperumbudur on May 21,1991 during an election rally.
The vigilance officials will soon send a report to the prison head about the seizure.Vellore prison is now headed by jail superintendent Arivudai Nambi.There will be departmental action against the senior prison officials of the high security block in Vellore prison,based on the report submitted by the prison vigilance officials, a senior officer said.
Similar raids were conducted at several other prisons across the state on Saturday.Police teams searched Puzhal prison in Chennai following the seizure of three mobile phones from Ravi,Prakash and Riyaz Khan,aSri Lankan,on Friday.
selvaraj.a@timesgroup.com


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All Men Are In Hiding Fearing Arrest;Rumours Of More Attacks Abound 

K A Shaji & V Senthil Kumaran TNN 

Sellankottai (Dharmapuri): Though four days have gone since he committed suicide by hanging and more than 48 hours since autopsy was conducted at the Dharmapuri government general hospital,the body of 49-year-old R Nagarajan has not been claimed by his family.Though the family members had agreed to claim the body on Friday,none turned up at the hospital till late on Saturday.It was Nagarajans suicide on Wednesday,allegedly out of frustration over the marriage of his daughter to a dalit,that provoked a mob of Vanniyars to attack dalit houses in three Dharmapuri villages.
A government report said 263 dalit homes were looted and set on fire.The refusal on the part of the Vanniyar community to claim the body has led to dalits suspecting that they were planning more attacks.They claimed it was a ploy to whip up caste sentiments and fuel anger over the inter-caste marriage.
However,Vanniyars offered a different take on their refusal to turn up at the hospital.So far,92 Vanniyars have been arrested and cases registered against 218 others.Vanniyars feel that those who turn up at the hospital to claim the body or make arrangements for the funeral would also be implicated in the case.
At Sellankottai,a Vanniyar village located just a kilometre from Natham,a dalit village which bore the brunt of the Vanniyar fury,only women,children and cattle are left.Even the elderly men are in hiding,fearing arrest.The house of Nagarajan is locked and his wife has shifted to an unidentified location.Divya,who married the dalit,Ilavarasan,was the only child of the couple.A large posse of police is camping in the village while the women keep indoors.Following rumours that the Vanniyar men had left the village and were holding a clandestine meeting at a marriage hall in Dharmapuri to plan further attacks on dalits,police searched the area but ruled out any meeting.
The village with about 100 Vanniyar homes is located in the middle of a vast expanse of turmeric,maize,cotton and rice fields.Ananthayee,a 61-year-old woman,who was burning hay to keep away evil forces that have gripped the village after the suicide of Nagarajan,said her family members had instructed her not to talk to strangers.
Interestingly,the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK),considered to be the political voice of the Vanniyars,has protested reports that the Dharmapuri violence was fuelled by a hate speech by party leader Kaduvetti Guru in Puducherry recently.


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LIVING IN FEAR: The remains of a dalit house at Natham 



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 NHAI may go to court on delays 


Centre Peeved At Tamil Nadu Stalling Trichy-Karaikudi Highway Project 

Julie Mariappan TNN 

Chennai: Perturbed over what it terms the AIADMK governments confrontational attitude towards high-cost infrastructure works in the state,the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is likely to opt for legal action to clear hurdles in the Rs 374 crore Trichy-Karaikudi national highway project.The move,they hope,will help resumption of work on the project,which is vital for Union finance minister P Chidambarams home constituency,Sivaganga.NHAI cannot opt for alternative alignment at this stage,when the project is almost 60% complete, sources said.
A crucial project for south Tamil Nadu,the 108km national highway will help strengthen the existing twolane national highway connecting the three regions of Trichy,Pudukottai and Sivaganga.There are at least 15 water bodies that fall along the alignment where new bye-passes through Trichy,Keeranur,Tirumaiyam,Pudukottai and Karaikudi are planned.The bye-passes,NHAI officials say,have been finalised taking into consideration the existing habitations and congestion along the route.It is perplexing as to why the state PWD,which granted no-objection certificate for cutting through the water bodies in December last,withdrew it, a senior NHAI official told TOI.
PWD minister K V Ramalingam said the no-objection certificate was withdrawn following protests by the local farmers.In a similar case,a recent high court order did not want a water body to be disturbed by NHAI for a project and suggested an alternative route, he said.Only recently,the PWD and NHAI authorities had conducted a joint inspection and finalised the culverts and bridges for the Trichy-Karaikudi national highway.
In its order in December last year,the PWD-Trichy region allowed NHAI to cut through water bodies and in January 2010,Pudukottai PWD officials granted permission for construction of bridges across Kolathur tank,Gundur and Vellaru rivers.The state government has now withdrawn the no-objection certificate for the Trichy-Karaikudi national highway when it was actively considering NHAIs application for sanction for the highway to cut through four water bodies in Sivaganga district.
NHAI cleared all the bottlenecks,including legal disputes over land acquisition,last year.The Madurai bench of the Madras high court cleared the contentious alignment after obtaining an opinion from water resources experts of Anna University.The petitions by a farmers welfare body were dismissed on the ground that the liability and the feasibility of the project were done in larger public interest.For Trichy byepass alone,the national highways acquired 23.38 hectares and got environmental clearance from the Union ministry of environment and forests,and the state pollution control board.


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Rlys bends track to save theme park 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Chennai: The Madras high court has quashed the land acquisition proceedings for a multi-crore railway project in the Tindivanam-Nagari section,saying it has reasons believe that a last-minute change in route was done to protect the interests of an amusement park.
Justice D Hariparanthaman,allowing a petition jointly filed by landowners of Veppur village in Vellore district,said: I have perused the map of the railway track.It takes a bend.They (authorities ) are not able to satisfactorily explain as to why there is a bend at the village.Hence,the submissions that the track makes a bend to accommodate the theme park cannot be simply brushed aside. 
The work to build the broad gauge line passing through Veppur began in July 2008 when the Railway Board gave the go-ahead.The land survey,however,was completed in 2007.According to the villagers,the original plan was changed and the track given a curve to save the park Theme Thunder Amusement Park.They also alleged that the changed alignment would adversely affect heritage structures such as the Ponniamman and Vinayagar temples,besides hospital,school and residential buildings.
Following a representation from the villagers,the district collector conducted a survey and submitted a report in October 2010 confirming the deviation and its adverse impact on the village.
In spite of this,the railway authorities invoked the emergency clause under Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act,1894,to avoid public inquiry and debate before acquiring the land.The landowners moved the HC challenging the deviation in plan and invocation of the urgency clause.

Twist in the track 


Land survey for the Tindivanam-Nagari broad gauge conversion was completed in 2007 Villagers claimed original plan was changed to save an amusement park in Veppur They said that the new alignment would affect heritage structures,schools and hospitals Madras high court quashes last-minute change in route made to protect the amusement park



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No need to invoke urgency clause 


Justice Hariparanthaman said the authorities need not have invoked the urgency clause because the process had taken more than three years to reach the present stage.
The landowners have a right under Articles 19 (1)( g) and 300 A of the Constitution relating to their property.If the authorities intended to take away the lands by dispensing with inquiry,without giving opportunity to landowners to put forth their case,they could do so only if the project cannot brook any delay of even a few weeks or months.But,it is not so in the present case, Justice Hariparanthaman reasoned.


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Liquor shops on TN highways to go 

State Heeds Centres Advice On Reducing Temptation To Have One For The Road 

R Satyanarayana TNN 

Chennai: No more can you hop into a highway liquor shop to down a couple of pegs while driving down national highways in Tamil Nadu.
Among the first to react to a circular from the Union ministry of road transport and highways,which advised all the states to close down liquor shops on national highways to bring down accidents due to drunken driving,the Tamil Nadu government has decided shift them all to other locations.
The state-run Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac),the monopoly liquor retailer in the state,is now drawing up a list of shops along the highways.
An approximate 500 shops are located on the national highways 200 shops on highways leading out of Chennai and the remaining 300 across the state.
We received a communication from the Centre to shift out the shops from the highways.So,we constituted teams,which are in the process of preparing a list,along with their locations, a senior Tasmac official told TOI.
Once the list is finalised,we will gradually close them down, he said.
However,the official made it clear that the liquor shops thus closed down will be relocated to other suitable places.
The Union road transport and highways ministry also instructed the states not to award any fresh licenses for setting up liquor shops in the state and to review licences given earlier.
Senior Tasmac officials admitted that tipplers get tempted when they see a liquor shop along the road.
Though the state police and other officials created enough awareness about the risk involved in drinking and driving,people still do it, pointed out the official.
He said that the Centres suggestion might well help to reduce accidents.
While the ministry has not set a deadline,it expects the states to implement its proposal immediately in peoples welfare and interest. Currently,a rule says that liquor shops are not permitted in a radius of 100 metres from the middle of the highway.
But this rule will now be scrapped and replaced with the new rule prohibiting liquor shops on highways altogether.
A recent study by the International Journal of Research in Management Science and Technology said the total number of fatal accidents in Tamil Nadu in 2010-11 was 14,241,while in 2011-12 it was 14,359.
Though there is no official record of accidents due to drunken driving in Tamil Nadu,government sources said in 2011 the total number of accidents in the state was 65,873,of which the number of fatal accidents is 15,422.


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Illegal hoardings on the rise across city 

Christin Mathew Philip TNN 

Chennai: They are back.Despite a Supreme Court ban,unauthorisedhoardings arebeing put up in various parts of the city.In June 2012,the Chennai Corporation passed a resolution to provideexclusiveboards for advertisements and specific locations for political and religious meetings,but no action hasbeen taken.
The 2008 Supreme Court order banning illegal hoardings in the state notwithstanding,sources say,several private firms have put up hoardings;some have even erected illegal bussheltersfor advertisements.
Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy said the civic body would come up with exclusive boards for advertisements and posters.It is in the process of earmarking sitestohold public meetings,he added.Corporation officials admitted that poor coordination among agencies was hampering enforcementof theban.We haveto get permission from the collectorate to remove illegal hoardings.Butwedont getitevery time.The government should give us statutory power to prevent illegal hoardings, said an official.
Permission for putting up temporary flex boardsor hoardings is given by the collectorate after a no objection' certificate isissuedby thecorporation.
Educational institutions,places of worship,busy junctions and traffic islands have been declared advertisementfree areas but the rule is violated.Commuterssaid many political parties violated rules.Even small parties put up at least 500hoardingsfor a leaders birthday, said Ravi Shankar,a motorist.Some say the presenceof hoardingsdivertsthe attention of motorists and can cause accidents.We will take action against firms who have been enjoying busstops as a space for advertisement without paying money, officialssaid.


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Illegal hoardings in RA Puram 

 

Mumbai donor says gold idols are missing from mutt 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Chennai: A Mumbai resident,who says he has donated more than 30 crore to a branch in the city of the ancient Ahobila Mutt here,has approached the Madras high court saying four golden Garuda idols given by him have mysteriously gone missing.
He said police were refusing to register a case on his complaint lodged on November 26,2012.In his petition,65-year-old K V Ramani,a resident of Deonar in Mumbai,urged the high court to direct the Chennai police commissioner and the inspector of Selaiyur police station to register a case on the basis of his complaint.
Justice A Arumughaswamy admitted the matter and ordered notices to the police commissioner and inspector.Ramanis counsel J Ramesh submitted that he had donated valuables worth more than 30 crore to the mutt on various occasions in the past 20 years.
In June last year,he lodged his first complaint about the mismanagement and misappropriation of funds in the Ahobila Mutt,and also about the theft of gold jewels,silver articles,cash and four gold Garuda idols given by him to the mutt to be kept in the four corners of the golden mandapam built at a cost of 12 crore.
Ramani,in his petition,said he had asked the sculptor who designed and built the mandapam to ascertain whether the articles were still there or had been stolen.On coming to know that the golden Garuda idols had gone missing,he approached the present head of the mutt,Srimath Narayana Yathidra Mahadesikan,and other top brass of the mutt,but could not get any details from them.
He said police received his complaints dated November 26 and 29,but did not register an FIR and investigate the matter for reasons best known to them.




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Was denied passport,says dalit activist who won Dutch honour 

Bharathan Was To Receive Tulip Award On Wednesday 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Chennai: A dalit activist from Tamil Nadu,who was selected for the Dutch Human Rights Tulip 2012 award,says he was denied passport by the Indian government to travel to the Netherlands,apparently due to an objection raised by the state police.Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans gave away the award in his absence at a ceremony in The Hague on Wednesday.
M Bharathan (52),a native of Tirunelveli district,was recognized by an independent award jury for his tireless championing of better living and working conditions for his countrys dalits. Bharathan is the director of Human Rights Education and Protection Council,a non-governmental organisation based in Tirunelveli,and has been working for the welfare of dalits,especially against caste discrimination and human rights violations,for more than three decades.As he could not participate in the award ceremony,Bharathans speech was read out.
My passport was not renewed because of a false murder charge, Bharathan told TOI from Tirunelveli.By denying me a passport,the Indian government has failed to protect human rights and human rights defenders, he said,adding that his case should have been treated as special and he should have been issued a passport.The passport office in Madurai,on advice from the Palayamkottai police station,refused to renew his passport on December 18.The police cited a triple murder case pending since 2009,in which Bharathan is accused number 25,as grounds to deny him a passport.
Bharathan,who claims to be a victim of caste discrimination when he was young,said he had been campaigning vigorously in several villages of Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts against the double tumbler system,restricted temple entry and custodial deaths.The Goondas Act is being misused in the state.The country has several laws to protect human rights,but they are not implemented in letter and spirit, said Bharathan,who waged a long battle for the rehabilitation of dalits subjected to rights abuse.
Nearly 450 types of caste discriminations take place against dalits in the two districts,he said.There is discrimination in schools,leading to dropout of dalit children. Bharathan claimed he had organized several picketing programmes in police stations and district collectorates,and faced nearly 20 cases,which was why the enforcement agencies were acting against him.Chinese activist Ni Yulan too could not attend the ceremony last year,as he was in custody.


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