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Tamil Nadu

TN cyclone toll rises to 45, opposition alleges poor relief work

 
Residents bear brunt of cyclone Gaja in Nagapattinam
The death toll due to the severe cyclone Gaja that devastated several districts in Tamil Nadu two days ago has risen to 45 and damaged 117,624 houses, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said on Sunday.
 
Opposition leaders have criticized what they say was the government's apathy in reaching out relief materials like food, drinking water and other material to the cyclone affected areas.
 
In Pudukottai district, people complained about not getting relief materials and protested on the roads. They also set fire to five government vehicles.
 
Speaking to reporters at Salem, about 350 km from here, Palaniswami said 45 persons have died in the cyclone and the loss of livestock was put at 735.
 
He added that 88,102 hectare of crop and 39,938 electricity poles were damaged in the cyclone.
 
The central government has been asked to depute a team from the National Disaster Management to assess the destruction.
 
To a query about dropping relief materials by helicopters, Palaniswami said removal of trees from the roads would be completed fully on Sunday.
 
Palaniswami said he would visit the affected areas on Tuesday.
 
DMK President M. K. Stalin in a letter to the party cadres wondered whether Palaniswami's heart was made of iron as he appeared to be more interested with inaugurating projects rather than visiting the cyclone battered areas.
 
Stalin, who toured the areas, accused the government of failing to provide sufficient food, clothing and drinking water for the people at the relief centres.
 
He said had only the government carried out the dredging of canals and other water bodies, much of the damage could have been averted and several trees could have been saved.
 
Stalin said coconut trees in about 7,000 hectares in several districts have been damaged.
 
PMK founder S. Ramadoss said it was a shame that the AIADMK government was not providing even food for the cyclone affected people.
 
He said that various districts in the Cauvery delta region like Thanjavur, Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur had been severely affected.
 
IANS

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Modi assures all possible Central assistance to cyclone-hit Tamil Nadu

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today condoled the loss of lives due to cyclone Gaja in Tamil Nadu and promised the state all possible help from the Central government.
 
“My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives due to cyclonic conditions in parts of Tamil Nadu. I pray for the quick recovery of those injured. Officials are working towards providing all possible assistance in the wake of the cyclone," Mr. Modi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"Spoke to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami regarding the situation arising due to cyclone conditions in the state. Assured all possible help from the Centre. I pray for the safety and well-being of the people of Tamil Nadu," he added.
 
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Gaja cyclone hits Tamil Nadu, leaves 11 dead

A severe cyclonic storm, Gaja, battered the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, leaving at least 11 people dead and causing widespread destruction.
 
Cyclone Gaja wreaks havoc in TN’s Nagapattinam
A severe cyclonic storm, Gaja, battered the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, leaving at least 11 people dead and causing widespread destruction.
 
Authorities said the cyclone crossed the coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam districts between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. with wind speeds of about 110-120 kmph.
 
So powerful were the gales that the roof sheets of the Nagapattinam railway station were damaged.
 
Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said in Salem, some 350 km from here, that 11 persons had lost their lives due to the cyclone.
 
He said a sum of Rs 10 lakh would be paid to the next-of-kin of the dead. For those severely injured, a sum of Rs 100,000 would be paid and those who suffered minor injuries would get Rs 25,000.
 
About 82,000 people living in low-lying areas were sent to 471 relief centres, the Chief Minister said, adding that the preventive measures helped keep the death toll low.
 
Relief centres were set up in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Thiruvarur on Thursday itself.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast rains till Friday evening.
 
R.B. Udhyakumar, Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, said all the trees felled by the cyclone were being removed.
 
Road traffic was hit in Nagapattinam due to the fallen trees.
 
The government snapped power supply on Thursday night as precaution. The cyclone damaged some 12,000 power poles.
 
Several universities in Tamil Nadu have postponed their exams slated for Friday.
 
Similarly, schools will remain closed on Friday in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Thiruvarur and several other districts in Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry including Karaikal.
 
Isolated rains are likely over north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, north Kerala and interiors of south Karnataka.
 
Gale wind speed reaching 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph very likely in central parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during next six hours.
 
Powerful winds are also likely in the remaining parts of Tamil Nadu and the Palk Strait, which divides Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.
 
According to the Chief Minister, the Fisheries Department will estimate the damage to the fishing boats before paying compensation to the fishermen.
 
IANS

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Coast Guard takes steps to reduce cyclone Gaja impact

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Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has initiated a series of pre-emptive and proactive measures to prevent loss of fishermen lives at sea in the wake of alerts on cyclone in the Bay of Bengal since November 9.
 
Lessons from cyclone Ockhi and success in preventing loss of lives during recent cyclones Luban and Titliwere put into practice by the ICG, a press release from the Ministry of Defence said.
 
Around eight ICG ships and two Dornier aircraft were pressed into action since November 9 for the issuance of advisories and warnings in local languages to fishermen at sea for their safe return to ports. 
 
The Coast Guard Remote Operating Stations commenced issuance of warnings for fishermen in local languages. It requested fisheries authorities at Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to account for all fishing boats. 
 
The ICG conducted a series of community interaction programmes at Kanyakumari, Mandapam, Rameswaram, Cuddalore, Chennai, Nellore, Nizampatnam, Uppada and Vishakhapatnam to sensitise fishermen and coastal population for taking safety measures ahead of the impact of the cyclone.
 
Anticipating the need for relief material and essential items post-impact of the cyclone in Southern Tamil Nadu areas of Mandapam and Karaikal, a large ICG ship with helicopter sailed from Vishakhapatnam with relief items such as potable drinking water, essential medicines, packaged food and life-saving material to the area. 
 
Three other ICG ships also sailed from Chennai for Mandapam on November 15 for augmenting search and rescue and post-cyclone relief operations. Further, merchant vessels transiting at deep seas were requested through International Safety Net by Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (Chennai) to alert fishermen at deep seas for early return and shelter at nearest ports. 
 
The Indian Coast Guard has kept response teams to be deployed at short notice at Chennai, Mandapam, Karaikal and Puducherry. It was closely coordinating with state fisheries authorities, port authorities and civil administration for reducing the impact of the cyclone.
 
Similar warnings have also been issued for the western coast, with the likelihood of the formation of a low-pressure area in the Arabian Sea from November 17 onwards.
 
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Cyclone Gaja crosses Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam

Severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, felling several trees, damaging thatched huts and hoardings, according to the India Meteorological Department.
 
Cyclone Gaja makes landfall in Tamil Nadu
Severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, felling several trees, damaging thatched huts and hoardings, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
 
In its weather bulletin, the IMD said Gaja crossed the coast between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam with a wind speed of about 110 kmph gusting up to 120 kmph.
 
The high speed wind has damaged the roof sheets of Nagapattinam railway station.
 
Speaking to the media, R. B. Udhyakumar, Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, said the extent of damages will be known once the wind speed gets reduced.
 
He said after the rains preventive measures against breakout of disease will be taken.
 
The fallen trees are being removed at the earliest, Udhayakumar added.
 
Road traffic in the cyclone-hit Nagapattinam was affected due to fallen trees.
 
The government had disconnected power supply on Thursday night as a precautionary measure. Owing to the cyclone, several electricity poles have been damaged.
 
Several universities in Tamil Nadu have postponed their examinations slated for Friday.
 
Similarly, schools will remain closed on Friday in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Thiruvarur and several other districts in Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry including Karaikal.
 
More than 63,000 people have been evacuated from low lying areas and housed in 289 relief centres in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Thiruvarur on Thursday itself.
 
According to the IMD, scattered heavy rains is likely to occur over south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala. 
 
Isolated rain is likely to occur over north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, north Kerala and interiors of south Karnataka.
 
Gale wind speed reaching 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph was very likely in central parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during next six hours.
 
Similarly, gale wind speed reaching 60-80 kmph was likely in the remaining parts of Tamil Nadu and Palk Strait during next six hours while strong winds with a speed of 30-40 kmph gusting at 50 kmph are very likely over interior Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gulf of Mannar, Comorian area and Kerala coast, the IMD said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Cyclone Gaja crosses TN coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam

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Severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam, said Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
 
The cyclone Gaja crossed the coast with a wind speed of about 110kmph gusting up to 120 kmph.
 
The Tamil Nadu government said fallen trees are being removed at the earliest.
 
According to IMD, scattered heavy rains is likely to occur over south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala. Isolated rain is likely to occur over north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, north Kerala and and interiors of south Karnataka.
 
IANS
 
 
 

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Cyclone Gaja set to cross TN coast near Nagapattinam

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The severe cyclonic storm Gaja, which lay centred about 126 km east of Karaikal in Puducherry, is expected to cross the Tamil Nadu coast near Nagapattinam on Thursday night, Indian Meteoroligcal Department (IMD) said.
 
According to IMD, Gaja is expected to cross the coast south of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu by 11 p.m. Thursday with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph.
 
The IMD officials said the outer rim of the Gaja cyclone is touching Karaikal and strong winds have already started blowing in the coastal districts.
 
Rains have started in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thiruvarur districts.
 
The IMD predicted rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places over Tamilnadu and Puducherry.
 
Extremely heavy rain measuring about 20 cm at isolated places is also likely over Cuddalore, Nagappattinam, Karaikal, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram districts, IMD said.
 
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has set up relief centres in the districts of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur and Thiruvarur. People in living in low-lying areas have been shifted to relief centres.
 
Universities and colleges have postponed their exams slated for Friday. Similarly, schools and colleges in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Thiruvarur will be closed on Friday.
 
According to the state government, telecommunication companies have said they would have oil stocked for a minimum of five days in the cyclone-expected zone and for 15 days at their headquarters.
 
The mobile telephone companies also assured the government of moving their mobile telecom towers or cell on wheels to Nagapattinam and Cuddalore.
 
According to a statement from the state government, arrangements have been made to send bulk SMS to mobile subscribers warning about the weather issued by the emergency control centres.
 
The Indian Navy is also on high alert and is ready to render any assistance, a statement said.
 
Two Navy ships - Ranvir and Khanjar - are standing by to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake humanitarian aid, distress relief, evacuation, and logistic support, including proviging medical aid, the Navy said.
 
Additionally, aircraft from Naval Air Stations Dega, Rajali and Parundu and patrolling boats from naval detachments in Ramnathapuram, Nagapattinam have been warning the fishing vessels about the approaching storm, the Navy said.
 
Naval aircraft are also standing by to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty, evacuation and air drop of relif material to the stranded.
 
IANS
 

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Cyclone Gaja to cross Tamil Nadu coast on Thursday evening

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Cyclone Gaja over southwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal is expected to cross the Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore tomorrow evening with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph, gusting to 100 kmph.
 
The cyclone had moved west-southwestwards with a speed of 13 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 2030 hrs IST of today over southwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 12.2°N and longitude 84.0°E, about 410 km east-southeast of Chennai and 480 km east-northeast of Nagapattinam, a bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department at 2130 hours said.
 
"It is very likely to move west-southwestwards and intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 12 hours. While moving west-southwestwards thereafter, it is likely to weaken and cross Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore during 15th November evening as a Cyclonic Storm with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph," it said.
 
The IMD has issued a red alert for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, warning that rainfall would occur at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places tomrrow. It also said that extremely heavy rainfall (20 cm or more) was also likely over Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram districts.
 
IMD has also forecast rainfall at most places in interior Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on November 16, with heavy falls at a few places and very heavy falls at isolated places.
 
It has also issued warning for rainfall, with isolated heavy falls, over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema and Kerala tomorrow. Heavy to very heavy falls were likely at isolated palces over Kerala on November 16, it said.
 
The bulletin warned that gale wind speed reaching 75-85 kmph gusting to 95 kmph prevailing over southwest Bay of Bengal was very likely to increase gradually, becoming 90-100 kmph, gusting to 110 kmph, over these areas from early morning of Thursday.
 
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Squally wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph is very likely to prevail along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts. It is very likely to increase, gradually becoming gale wind speed 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph along and off central parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from tomorrow afternoon onwards.
 
Strong wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph was very likely over interior Tamil Nadu, Kerala, southeast Arabian Sea along and off Kerala coast, Comorian area, Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait on Friday. Strong wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph was very likely to prevail over southeast Arabian Sea and along and off Kerala coast on Saturday.
 
The bulletin warned of rough sea conditions and said that storm surge of height of about 1 meter above astronomical tide was very likely to inundate low lying areas of Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Karaikal district of Puducherry at the time of landfall.
 
The bulletin called for total suspension of fishing operations along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts during this period.
 
Coastal hutment dwellers were advised to move to safer places. Other people in the affected areas were advised to remain indoors.
 
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Cyclone Gaja likely to cross Tamil Nadu coast on Thursday

Image: IMD
Image: IMD
The cyclonic storm Gaja over west-central and adjoining east-central and south Bay  of Bengal is likely to cross the Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore during the forenoon of Thursday, November 15.
 
A bulletin issued by  the India Meteorological Department (IMD) this morning said the cyclone had moved west-northwestwards with a speed of 7 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 0230 hrs IST of today over west-central and adjoining east-central and south Bay of Bengal near latitude 13.2°N and longitude 87.3°E, about 760 km east of Chennai and 850 km east-northeast of Nagappattinam (Tamil Nadu).
 
"It is very likely to intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 24 hours and maintain the intensity during subsequent 24 hours. It is very likely to move west-southwestwards. While moving west-southwestwards, it is likely to weaken gradually on 15th November and cross Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore as a Cyclonic Storm during 15th November forenoon," the bulletin said.
 
"The cyclonic storm is meandering over the region, as it lies between two anti-cyclonic circulations located to its east and west in the deep layer mean atmosphere. It is expected to move slowly for next 12 hours and complete the loop. Thereafter, its speed of movement will increase gradually and move west-southwestwards as it will be guided by the anticyclone to the west of the centre," it said.
 
The bulletin said that rainfall was very likely to commence over north coastal Tamil Nadu and adjoining districts of south Tamil Nadu from November 14 evening, with heavy falls at isolated places. 
 
It said heavy rainfall was very likely over north Tamil Nadu and adjoining districts of south coastal Tamil Nadu, with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy falls (20 cm or more) at isolated places on November 15. Rainfall is also likely at most places over remaining parts of south Tamil Nadu, with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places.
 
Rainfall was also likely at most places over interior Tamil Nadu, with heavy  falls at a few places and very heavy falls at isolated places, on November 16, the bulletin said.
 
The bulletin also forecast rainfall in south coastal Andhra Pradesh on these days, in Rayalaseema region on November 15 and in Kerala on November 15 and 16.
 
The bulletin said gale winds with speed reaching 70-80 kmph and gusting to 85 kmph, prevailed over southeast and adjoining central and southwest Bay of Bengal. "It is very likely to increase gradually becoming 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph over southwest & adjoining westcentral and southeast Bay of Bengal from evening of 13th November 2018," it said.
 
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"Squally wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph likely to commence along & off north Tamil Nadu & Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts from 14th November morning. It is very likely to increase gradually becoming gale wind speed 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph along & off north Tamil Nadu & Puducherry coasts from 14th November night onwards," it said.
 
The bulletin said sea condition was high over southeast and adjoining central and southwest Bay of Bengal. It will become "very high" over southwest and adjoining westcentral and southeast Bay of Bengal from 13th evening to 14th night and high over the southwest Bay of Bengal on 15th. The sea condition is very likely to be rough to very rough along and off Tamil Nadu-south Andhra Pradesh coasts from 14th November morning and high from 14th November night.
 
Storm surge of height of about 1.0 meter above astronomical tide is very likely to inundate low lying areas of Nagappattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Karaikal district of Puducherry at the time of landfall.
 
The bulletin called for total suspension of fishing operations along and off north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts during 13-15th November.
 
Fishermen were advised not to venture into central parts of south and central Bay of Bengal on 13th and into southwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal during 13-15th November.
 
Fishermen who were in deep sea were advised to return to the coast. 
 
Coastal hutment dwellers have been advised to move to safer places. Other people in the affected areas were advised to remain indoors.
 
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Confident India aim for whitewash in final T20I against West Indies

Rohit Sharma (File Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Rohit Sharma (File Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Having already clinched the three-match rubber 2-0, India will be looking for a clean sweep against the West Indies when the two sides face off in the final T20 International at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Sunday.
 
However, Chennai fans will miss their favourite "Thala" in former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been dropped from the ongoing T20I series and also the coming T20I rubber in Australia later this month.
 
With the series already in India's kitty, after convincing wins in Kolkata and Lucknow, the team management had decided to rest some of the key bowlers in pacers Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah, and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav for the final match. 
 
In such a scenario, the home side would look to test their reserve players like Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar and the uncapped Shahbaz Nadeem ahead of the challenging tour Down Under, later this month.
 
India's batting department will be spearheaded by skipper Rohit Sharma, who struck a blistering century to hand the hosts a comfortable 2-0 lead in the second game.
 
Besides Sharma, his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan has also been amongst the runs, while the middle order responsibilities will be shouldered by the likes of Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant.
 
Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead the pace attack that comprises the rookie left-armer Khaleel Ahmed and the newly-added Siddharth Kaul.
 
It will be interesting to see whether the team management tweaks the spin department comprising leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and left-armer Krunal Pandya, with Sundar and Nadeem still warming the bench.
 
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On the other hand, the West Indies will aim to finish off on a high and are expected to come out all guns blazing for one final time in the tour.
 
While the absence of regular openers -- Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis -- has been a setback for them, the experienced middle order comprising Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo and Denesh Ramdin have flopped big time in the opening two matches.
 
Skipper Carlos Brathwaite and the young Shimron Hetmyer will also need to pull up their socks if the visitors want to put up a fight at Chepauk.
 
On the bowling front, Oshane Thomas has waged a lone battle so far as the other West Indian bowlers have looked pedestrian on most occasions.
 
Teams:
India: Rohit Sharma (C), Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Krunal Pandya, Siddarth Kaul, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed, Shahbaz Nadeem, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
 
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (C), Fabian Allen, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope (WK), Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard, Obede McCoy, Rovman Powell, Sherfane Rutherford.
 
IANS
 

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Naidu meets Stalin, wants opposition parties to sink differences

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Continuing his efforts to forge a grand alliance against the BJP in the next Lok Sabha elections, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Friday met DMK President M. K. Stalin and urged opposition parties to sink their differences in the interest of the nation and democracy.
 
"We are all together in bringing parties on one platform. One or two may have differences of opinion. We (TDP) had differences with Congress for 40 years but at the same time now we are working how to bring together all. Democracy is important. It is for people to sink their differences. People are prepared now," he told reporters after an hour-long meeting with Stalin at his residence.
 
Naidu said he had a meeting with former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda and Karnataka Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru on Thursday and had a good meeting. "I am in touch with Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal Chief Minister) and would be meeting her soon as part of these efforts," he said.
 
Recalling his meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi last week in the national capital, he said, "All of us want to join together and save the nation."
 
The TDP chief deftly avoided answering questions on who will be the face of the opposition grouping against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
"There are so many leaders. Even Stalinji is better than Modi. We might have differences with Congress. But when you think of nation, national interest is utmost importance. Everybody is joining together on one platform. Today, you are talking of individuals. I am taking of democracy. If democracy survives only then you can elect leaders. If there is no democracy, there is nothing."
 
Replying to a question, Naidu said Rahul Gandhi is the Congress President and is the main anchor for the opposition against the BJP and his party has an all-India presence.
 
"We are regional parties. Even Mamata Banerjee is strong in West Bengal. I am strong in Andhra Pradesh. Deve Gowda is strong in Karnataka and Stalin is strong in Tamil Nadu," he said.
 
To another question, Naidu said he was not the face of the opposition grouping. "I am not an aspirant. I am only a facilitator. I will bring everybody together," he said.
 
On his part, Stalin said that he welcomes Naidu's efforts to bring together opposition parties against the anti-people and communal government of Modi. 
 
"I have already welcomed his meeting with Congress President on this account. Naidu has told me that he was planning to convene a meeting of like-minded parties either in Delhi or any other state capital to draw up a strategy to defeat BJP in the Lok Sabha polls. I have accepted his invitation," he said.
 
Both the leaders attacked the Modi government for undermining the autonomy of institutions like the RBI, CBI, office of Governors, saying that democracy and the nation were under immense threat.
 
IANS
 

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Faced with threat, Sarkar undergoes voluntary cuts, muting of dialogue

 
AIADMK workers vandalise Vijay-starrer 'Sarkar' movie's posters
With the ruling AIAMDK opposed to the Vijay-starring 'Sarkar' over certain scenes and a character's name, the producer and director of the Tamil movie have obtained CBFC's permission to voluntarily delete some visuals and mute some dialogues, said an official.
 
The Central Board of Film Certification said excisions and modifications carried out in the originally certified movie were: (a) deletion of visuals of throwing a mixie and grinder into fire; (b) muting the name 'Komala' from the full name of the character 'Komalavalli' and removing the same from subtitles; and (c) muting the dialogue 'Podhuppaniththuraia' (PWD) and '56 Varusham' (56 years) and the removal of those words from subtitles.
 
Tamil Nadu Minister for Information and Publicity Kadambur Raju said the issue has been settled as the film unit "has agreed to our demand of removing the objectionable scene."
 
The AIADMK's objection was to the scene that showed the actor throwing out mixie and grinder -- given free by the government to the poor -- into the fire.
 
The AIAMDK government under late J. Jayalalithaa offered free mixer, grinder, laptops and others to the poor.
 
The other reason for the ruling party opposing the movie is the name of a character 'Komalavalli' which they say is the birth name of their late leader Jayalalithaa.
 
On Thursday state Law Minister C.Ve. Shanmugam compared the scenes (burning of freebies) in the movie with terrorist activity aimed at instigating violence against the state government.
 
Party cadres protested outside the theatres which screened the movie in several places and damaged the banners on Thursday and Friday morning.
 
Earlier in the day, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan tweeted: "It is nothing new for the state government to exert illegal political pressure on movies that got proper certification."
 
"Governments that does not have the guts to accept criticisms will derail. The businessmen group will go and the good people who would come to power will win," Kamal Haasan said.
 
Similarly, actor Rajinikanth tweeted in support of the the movie condemning damage to the film's banners.
 
Meanwhile, the Madras High Court ordered the Tamil Nadu police not to arrest 'Sarkar' movie Director A.R. Murugadoss who had approached it seeking anticipatory bail.
 
He had approached the court after state ministers voiced their opposition to the movie with Law Minister Shanmugam threatening legal action.
 
IANS
 

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With 20 TN seats vacant, it will be mini-assembly poll

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A total of 20 assembly seats are vacant in Tamil Nadu as of Thursday following the Madras High Court judgment in the AIADMK MLAs case and it will be a sort of mini-assembly elections if bye-elections are to held simultaneously.
 
The bye-elections for 20 seats will be an acid test for the leadership of Chief Minister K. Palaniswami, DMK President M. K. Stalin and the sidelined AIADMK leader T. T. V. Dhinakaran, now an independent legislator, said a political analyst. 
 
"Normally bypolls are to be held within six months of a seat falling vacant. Owning to the death of MLAs -- M. Karunanidhi (Tiruvarur) and A. K. Bose (Thiruparankundram) -- two seats are vacant. 
 
"The Madras High Court on Thursday upheld the Tamil Nadu Speaker P. Dhanapal's decision to disqualify 18 dissident AIADMK legislators, taking the total of vacant seats to 20. If the bypolls are held by the Election Commission then it will be a sort of mini-assembly elections," political analyst John Arokiasamy told IANS.
 
"The Election Commission cannot postpone holding bypolls for 20 constituencies. The people need their representatives in the assembly with more than three years left for the assembly polls," he said.
 
There are various possibilities of holding the bypolls separately or along with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
 
According to him, it is advantage DMK if the bypolls are held. Even if DMK wins 10 seats then the stability of the AIADMK government will be an issue.
 
"The bypolls if held for 20 seats will be like a mini assembly poll. It will put to test the leadership of Palaniswami, Stalin and Dhinakaran," Arokiasamy said.
 
He said the polls will also test the strength of two leaves symbol of AIADMK under the current party leadership.
 
Differing with him another analyst S. Raveenthran Thuraiswamy told IANS: "In my view the bypolls will be held along with the Lok Sabha polls. The split in AIADMK is between two major castes -- Gounder and Devars. The Devar community will back Dhinakaran while the Gounder will back Palaniswami. The DMK may not get any advantage but may lose the votes of these two castes," Thuraiswamy said.
 
Meanwhile, Stalin in a statement said the bypolls for the 20 assembly constituencies should be held immediately.
 
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In the 235-member Assembly, the AIADMK has 115 members followed by the DMK with 88, Congress eight, one of the IUML, one Independent, the Speaker and 20 vacant seats (18 disqualified and two dead). Besides, there is a nominated member.
 
Three legislators though belonging to three different parties won their seats under the AIADMK's two leaves symbol. Of that, one legislator Karunas is openly supporting Dhinakaran.
 
Reacting to the judgement in the MLAs disqualification case, Dhinakaran told reporters: "We will discuss with the 18 legislators and decide on the future course of action." He said it was "an experience for us".
 
"If the 18 disqualified legislators decide to go on appeal against the decision, then we will go for an appeal," Dhinakaran said.
 
Speaking to reporters after the Madras High Court verdict the advocate for 18 disqualified legislators N. Raja Senthoor Pandian said there are three options -- appeal to the Supreme Court, face bypolls or prefer an appeal and face the bypolls.
 
A spokesperson of PMK N. Vinobha said that the Election Commission has to hold the bypolls for Thiruparankundram and Tiruvarur constituencies by February 2019.
 
The PMK, as a policy, does not contest in bypolls.
 
Queried whether the party would continue with that policy if bypolls are held for 20 seats simultaneously Vinobha said: "Two scenarios are there. The bypolls could be held separately or held together with Lok Sabha polls. The party high command would take a decision on that."
 
IANS
 

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Disqualification of 18 TN MLAs valid: HC

 
Madras HC upholds disqualification of 18 MLAs
The Supreme Court-appointed third judge, Justice M. Sathyanarayanan of the Madras High Court, on Thursday upheld the Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker's decision disqualifying 18 AIADMK legislators in 2017.
 
Pronouncing his decision in the case, that had priviously seen a split verdict, Justice Sathyanarayanan upheld Speaker P. Dhanapal's disqualification order.
 
With this, the ban on holding of bye-elections for the 18 seats was lifted.
 
The disqualified legislators are with sidelined party leader T. T. V. Dhinakaran, now an Independent legislator in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
 
Reacting to the judgement, Dhinakaran told reporters: "We will discuss with the 18 legislators and decide on the future course of action." He said it was "an experience for us".
 
"If the 18 disqualified legislators decide to go on appeal against the decision then we will go for an appeal," Dhinakaran said.
 
The apex court had appointed Justice Sathyanarayanan, replacing Justice Vimala who was originally appointed by the high court as the third judge following a split verdict in the case in June.
 
While Chief Justice Indrani Banerjee, heading the two-judge bench, declined to interfere with Dhanapal's decision taken in September 2017, Justice M. Sundar set aside the Speaker's order on the ground that it was hit by "perversity, non-compliance with the principles of natural justice, mala fides and a violation of the constitutional mandate".
 
The judges said since there was disagreement between them, the case should be transferred to a third judge.
 
Maintaining the status quo, the court also said that, till the case was finally decided, the interim order issued earlier that barred holding of bye-elections and the floor test in the Assembly would continue.
 
In the 296-page judgement, Justice Banerjee had said that in her opinion the view taken by the Speaker was possible, if not plausible, and "I am unable to hold that the said decision is any way unreasonable, irrational or perverse".
 
"It is well-settled that when two views are possible, the High Court does not in exercise of its power of judicial review conferred under Article 226 of the Constitution of India interfere with the decision just because it prefers the other view. 
 
"No interference is, therefore, warranted with the impugned order passed by the Speaker," she had said, dismissing the petitions by the disqualified MLAs.
 
In his order differing with the Chief Justice, Justice Sundar had said: "sum totality of discussion leads this court to inevitably conclude that the impugned order of the Speaker disqualifying 18 writ petitioners herein deserves to be set aside."
 
In case the court had upheld the disqualification, then there would have been bye-elections in 18 constituencies, exposing the ruling party to vulnerabilities of electoral politics.
 
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On other hand, if the court had quashed the Speaker's disqualification order, the government may have to face an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion, which it would find difficult to survive.
 
In the 235-member Assembly, the AIADMK has 115 members followed by the DMK with 88, Congress eight, one of the IUML, one Independent, the Speaker and 20 vacant seats (18 disqualified and two dead). Besides, there is a nominated member.
 
Three legislators though belonging to three different parties won their seats under the AIADMK's two leaves symbol. Of that, one legislator Karunas is openly supporting Dhinakaran.
 
The case pertains from the time when O. Panneerselvam (now Deputy Chief Minister) had rebelled against the party led by jailed leader V. K. Sasikala. 
 
Later, he merged his group with the faction led by Chief Minister K. Palaniswami, who sidelined Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran.
 
In 2017, a group of 19 lawmakers met then Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao and gave a memorandum expressing loss of confidence in Palaniswami and requested him to appoint a new Chief Minister.
 
The Speaker then issued notice to the lawmakers asking them why they should not be disqualified under the anti-defection law. 
 
Subsequently, one of the legislators, S.T.K. Jakkaiyan, switched over to the Palaniswami side and the others were disqualified.
 
IANS
 

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HC upholds TN Speaker's decision disqualifying 18 TN MLAs

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The Supreme Court-appointed third judge, Justice M. Sathyanarayanan of the Madras High Court, on Thursday upheld the Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker's decision disqualifying 18 AIADMK legislators in 2017.
 
Pronouncing his decision in the split verdict that had previously been delivered, Sathyanarayanan upheld Speaker P. Dhanapal's disqualification order.
 
With this, the ban on holding of bye-elections for the 18 seats has been lifted.
 
The disqualified legislators are with sidelined party leader T. T. V. Dhinakaran, now an Independent legislator in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
 
Reacting to the judgement, Dhinakaran told reporters: "We will discuss with the 18 legislators and decide on the future course of action." He said it was "an experience for us".
 
"If the 18 disqualified legislators decide to go on appeal against the decision then we will go for an appeal," Dhinakaran said.
 
The apex court had appointed Justice Sathyanarayanan, replacing Justice Vimala who was originally appointed by the high court as the third judge following a split verdict in the case in June.
 
While Chief Justice Indrani Banerjee, heading the two-judge bench, declined to interfere with Dhanapal's decision taken in September 2017, Justice M. Sundar set aside the Speaker's order on the ground that it was hit by "perversity, non-compliance with the principles of natural justice, mala fides and a violation of the constitutional mandate".
 
The judges said since there was disagreement between them, the case should be transferred to a third judge.
 
Maintaining the status quo, the court also said till the case was finally decided the interim order issued earlier that barred holding of by-elections and the floor test in the Assembly would continue.
 
In the 296-page judgement, Justice Banerjee said that in her opinion the view taken by the Speaker was possible, if not plausible, and "I am unable to hold that the said decision is any way unreasonable, irrational or perverse".
 
"It is well-settled that when two views are possible, the High Court does not in exercise of its power of judicial review conferred under Article 226 of the Constitution of India interfere with the decision just because it prefers the other view. 
 
"No interference is, therefore, warranted with the impugned order passed by the Speaker," she said, dismissing the petitions by the disqualified MLAs.
 
In his order differing with the Chief Justice, Justice Sundar said: "sum totality of discussion leads this court to inevitably conclude that the impugned order of the Speaker disqualifying 18 writ petitioners herein deserves to be set aside."
 
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In case the court had upheld the disqualification, then there would have been by-elections in 18 constituencies, exposing the ruling party to vulnerabilities of electoral politics.
 
On other hand, if the court had quashed the Speaker's disqualification order, the government may have to face an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion, which it would find difficult to survive.
 
In the 235-member Assembly, the AIADMK has 115 members followed by the DMK with 88, Congress eight, one of the IUML, one Independent, the Speaker and 20 vacant seats (18 disqualified and two dead). Besides, there is a nominated member.
 
Three legislators though belonging to three different parties won their seats under the AIADMK's two leaves symbol. Of that, one legislator Karunas is openly supporting Dhinakaran.
 
The case pertains from the time when O. Panneerselvam (now Deputy Chief Minister) had rebelled against the party led by jailed leader V.K. Sasikala. 
 
Later, he merged his group with the faction led by Chief Minister K. Palaniswami, who sidelined Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran.
 
In 2017, a group of 19 lawmakers met then Governor C.Vidyasagar Rao and gave a memorandum expressing loss of confidence in Palaniswami and requested him to appoint a new Chief Minister.
 
The Speaker then issued notice to the lawmakers asking them why they should not be disqualified under the anti-defection law. 
 
Subsequently, one of legislators, S. T. K. Jakkaiyan, switched over to the Palaniswami side and the others were disqualified.
 
IANS
 

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Withdraw recommendation on new dam in Kerala: TN

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Wednesday urged the Prime Minister to direct the Ministry of Environment to withdraw the recommendation to grant terms of reference for environmental impact assessment for a new dam by Kerala at Mullaperiyar.
 
In a letter to Modi, text of which was released to the media here, Palaniswami said the expert appraisal committee for River Valley and hydro projects functioning under the Ministry of Environment had given its recommendation at its meeting held on Sepetember 27.
 
Palaniswami said the action of Kerala government approaching the Central government and the later entertaining the same is violative of a Supreme Court order.
 
"In the construction of a new dam, there has to be an agreement between the two sides. The offer made by Kerala cannot be thrust upon Tamil Nadu," Palaniswami quoted a portion from the apex's court order.
 
"I also request you to advise the Ministry of Environment to desist from entertaining and considering any proposal of the Kerala government on new Mullai Periyar Dam in future," Palaniswami said. 
 
Though located in Kerala, the Mullaperiyar dam is owned and operated by Tamil Nadu.
 
Kerala wants a new dam to be built so that it has the control over it.
 
IANS
 

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Congress has not said Rahul is its PM candidate: Chidambaram

File photo of Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Rahul Gandhi
The Congress has not officially declared Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in which its main objective is to defeat the BJP and usher in a progressive government at the Centre, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram has said.
 
"Congress has not officially declared Rahul Gandhi as its Prime Ministerial candidate. On the contrary, when two or three persons (in the party) spoke about, the AICC denied it and told people not to speak about it," he told Tamil TV channel News18.
 
The former Union Finance Minister said the question of prime ministership was not an issue at all for the Congress party. 
 
"Rahul Gandhi has not said this. The Congress has not said it wants to bring a person as prime minister. We will decide on the issue (of PM) once the alliance wins and the alliance partners will sit and decide on it," he said.
 
Chidambaram said the main objective for the Congress was removal of the Bharatiya Janata Party government and ushering in a progressive government that does not take away human rights, does not threaten people and does not indulge in tax terrorism against traders and entrepreneurs but provide security to women and children and give a fair and remunerative price to farmers for the farm produce and to farm workers. 
 
IANS
 

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Suresh Nambath appointed as next Editor of The Hindu

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The Hindu Publishing Group today said that its Board of Directors had unanimously appointed Suresh Nambath as the new Editor of The Hindu with effect from March 1, 2019.
 
He will succeed Mukund Padmanabhan, who has been Editor of the newspaper from March, 2016.
 
A statement from the newspaper said that, over the past 22 years, Nambath had himself in "various aspects of bringing out an iconic newspaper, which is now 140 years old".
 
"He has played a coordinating and leadership role on the news as well as editorial and opinion sides," it said.
 
Nambath joined The Hindu as Principal Correspondent covering Tamil Nadu politics in October, 1996; served as Tamil Nadu Bureau Chief between July, 2006 and February, 2012; and was promoted to Senior Associate Editor and Coordinating Editor in March, 2014. He has been the National Editor of The Hindu since October, 2015, and deputising for the Editor in his absence.
 
The Board of Directors commended Nambath’s leadership capabilities, particularly his integrity, sharp political perspective, and many-sided journalistic experience and said it recognised that "he is best placed to steer The Hindu editorially to a bright future". 
 
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Rahul not projected as PM candidate: Chidambaram

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Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram has said the party has not declared its President Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
"Congress has not officially said Rahul Gandhi is its Prime Ministerial candidate," he said in an interview to News18 Tamil TV channel.
 
The former Union Finance Minister said the party wants an alliance to be formed and win the elections and the alliance partners could then decide on who should be the Prime Minister, Chidambaram said.
 
He said the Prime Minister's post was not an issue for the Congress and the party has asked its leaders not to speak about it.
 
According to him, the prime agenda is to remove the Bharatiya Janata Party government and provide a progressive government that does not indulge in tax terrorism, take away human rights, does not threaten the people but provide security to women and children and gives a remunerative price to farmers for the farm produce.
 
IANS
 

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DMK relieves Elangovan as party spokesperson

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The DMK has relieved T.K.S. Elangovan from the party's spokesperson position, a statement said.
 
DMK General Secretary K. Anbazhagan said this in a statement issued late on Monday. However, he did not give any reason for the action against the Rajya Sabha member of the party.
 
The announcement of the removal came hours after the party had said he would be one of the party officials who would be authorised to give media interviews.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Air India plane escapes disaster after hitting wall during take-off

A view of the broken outer wall at Tiruchirappalli Airport in Tamil Nadu, on October 12, 2018 after the wheels of an Air India Express flight to Dubai hit it during take-off. (Photo: IANS)
A view of the broken outer wall at Tiruchirappalli Airport in Tamil Nadu, on October 12, 2018 after the wheels of an Air India Express flight to Dubai hit it during take-off. (Photo: IANS)
Passengers and crew on board an Air India Express flight from Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu to Dubai escaped a disaster early on Friday when the aircraft's wheels hit the airport's outer wall while taking off.
 
Although parts of the Boeing B737-800's undercarriage were damaged, the pilots, unaware of the accident, continued to fly until the airport staff informed them about the damage to the plane, which was diverted to Mumbai and landed there four hours later around 5.40 a.m.
 
The flight IX-611, with 130 passengers and six crew, had taken off at around 1.20 a.m.
 
"We informed the pilot about the hit," Trichy Airport Director K. Gunasekaran told IANS on telephone. 
 
"The pilot said nothing was wrong with the plane as the systems were functioning normally. But we found some parts of the plane like an antenna on the ground. Later the flight was diverted to Mumbai," Gunasekaran said.
 
The official said the plane had hit the airport's instrument landing systems.
 
A portion of the nearly five-foot tall compound wall at the Tiruchirappalli Airport was damaged, an airport official told IANS.
 
"The total length of the runway is 8,200 feet. The takeoff point would vary depending on the type of aircraft," he said.
 
Queried about the load carried by the plane and its capacity, he said the details were being collected.
 
Once the aircraft made a safe but emergency landing in Mumbai, the passengers were flown to Dubai in another plane with a fresh set of crew.
 
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Pending investigation, Air India has derostered both Captain D. Ganesh Babu, who has flying experience of 3,600 hours on Boeing 737 including 500 hours as commander, and co-pilot and First Officer Captain Anurag, who has flying experience of around 3,000 hours.
 
Authorities have started a probe into the accident while technicians in Mumbai were examining the damaged aircraft.
 
Tamil Nadu Tourism Minister N. Natarajan visited the Tiruchirappalli Airport and inspected the damage.
 
Commenting on the incident, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said he had recently ordered putting in place a third-party professional organisation to look into various safety aspects at Air India.
 
"In order to have continuous attention towards air safety, I have also ordered concerned officials to put in place a regular 'safety compliance report' of all airlines. Safety of passengers is of paramount importance for us," the Minister said.
 
Prabhu added that aviation "growth can't be at the expense of safety".
 
IANS
 

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Air India diverts flight to Mumbai after freak accident in Tiruchirappalli

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The wheels of an Air India Express flight to Dubai from Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu hit the airport's compound wall while taking off with 136 passengers on Friday. All passengers and crew are safe, an official said.
 
The flight IX-611 which took off at around 1.20 a.m., was then diverted to Mumbai where it made an emergency landing safely around 5.40 a.m. An alternative flight was arranged to take the passengers to Dubai.
 
Air India has taken the pilot and co-pilot off duties pending an investigation and the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation has been informed of the incident, the airline tweeted.
 
While the damage to the Boeing B737-800 airplane's wheels is not known, a portion of the nearly five-foot high compound wall at the Tiruchirappalli Airport was damaged, an airport official told IANS.
 
The airport authorities have started a probe into the freak accident while technicians in Mumbai are examining the damaged aircraft.
 
On hearing about the incident Tamil Nadu Tourism Minister N. Natarajan visited the Tiruchirappalli airport and inspected the damage.
 
IANS
 

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Air India flight taking off hits wall in Tiruchirappalli, lands safely in Mumbai

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The wheels of an Air India Express flight to Dubai from Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu hit the airport's compound wall while taking off with 130 passengers on Friday.
 
The flight which took off at around 1.20 a.m., was then diverted to Mumbai where it landed safely.
 
While the damage to the Boeing B737-800 airplane's wheels is not known, a portion of the compound wall has been damaged.
 
Officials at the airport police station told IANS that the compound wall was around five feet.
 
On hearing about the incident Tamil Nadu Tourism Minister N. Natarajan visited the airport and inspected the damage.
 
Tiruchirappalli is about 350 km from here.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Major changes in India govt.’s connect with Overseas Indians in last four years: Kovind

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Visiting Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday said that, in the last few years, there had been a major change in the government's approach to expand its reach and connect with the overseas Indian community.
 
“Emotional, cultural, economic and institutional relations between India and Indians settled abroad have become deeper in these years,” Mr Kovind said addressing the Indian community in the Tajikistan capital.
 
“We have started 'Know India-Quiz' for better contact with our people settled abroad. We have instructed our missions that they should be available 24X7 to help the needy.
 
“We believe that our Overseas Indian Community is our key partner to strengthen our international reach. The role of every Indian here is important to spread the message of India. Yes, it is true that we have appointed our ambassadors here, but we consider every Indian here as our cultural ambassador. We believe that you will make our relationship with Tajikistan closer. Next year, we are celebrating Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Varanasi from January 21 to 23. I invite you all to attend the event.
 
“To our Tajik Friends present here, I want to say that India will continue to give its cooperation to Tajikistan in capacity building and development works. I deeply appreciate the work of teachers, professors and experts of Indian languages and Indology in this country. I am very happy to give Padmashree award to the famous Indologist of Tajikistan Professor Habibullah Rajabov for his contribution to education and literature this year,” he added.
 
He began his speech saying that though it was his first visit to the Central Asian country, he was connected with the Tajik people and their culture in a very special way.
 
“When I was the Governor of Bihar, at that time I had an opportunity to deeply know the humanitarianism of the great Persian poet 'Bedil'. He was born in Patna, the state capital of Bihar. People of Tajikistan like him very much and are very fond of his poetry.
 
“I have been told that the Indian diaspora is not big here, but it is their specialty that they are not only closely mingled among themselves but also with Tajik people. Just now during my welcome ceremony few Tajik and Indian youth have presented a beautiful Indian cultural program. This magnificent presentation is a clear proof of this amity and it has captured my heart.
 
“I am most pleased to see that there is a lot of interest in knowing about Indian culture, language, dance and music in this country. Indian cinema and Bollywood stars are very popular here. If we consider why it is so, perhaps it is because we have similar lifestyles in both the countries, and because of that we understand each other easily,” he added.
 
“There is a lot of cultural similarity between Tajikistan and India. This similarity can be seen in our eating habits, music, attire and language. For centuries, ideas, philosophy, thought, and religion have been exchanged between India and Tajikistan. Tolerant humanitarian traditions have flourished in both countries.
 
The great emperor Kanishka is equally respected here as much as in India. Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Hinduism also flourished in this country. Through the 'Silk Route' and through the river valleys and hilly tracts, Tajik art and crafts, commerce and trade have had access to India.
 
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“I am told that a large number of Indian diaspora in this country consists of medical students and professionals. I am happy that you have earned reputation for yourself here with your hard work and integrity. Many of you will soon complete your education here and return to our country, and will  start contributing to our health and wellbeing.
 
"I am glad that you have kept your cultural traditions alive in this country. I have been told that you all celebrate Holi, Diwali, Eid and other Indian festivals here with full gusto and enthusiasm. There was a time when our Indian community was flourishing in Khujand, Panjkand, Samarkand, Bukhara and other great cities on the Silk Route. These cities are not far away from here. Just as you celebrate festivals and fairs today, they would have been celebrating similarly as well,” he added.
 
“Today India is the world's fastest growing major economy, which is growing at a rate of 7.8 percent. Our economic reforms and development-based governance have started showing good results. Within a span of 4 years only, we have electrified more than 18000 villages in remote areas and have provided electricity to every village of India.
 
"With this achievement, India has climbed 73 places to 26th position in World Bank’s list of Access to Electricity. Flagship government programs including 'Make in India', 'Swachh Bharat' 'Start Up India' and 'Digital India', are rapidly moving ahead. Through our 'Ujjwala' program we have made available clean LPG to 50 million households.
 
“We have provided financial assistance to millions of people through our ‘Mudra’ scheme and highest number of beneficiaries have been women in the scheme. Through the International Solar Alliance, we are uniting the world to fight climate change.
 
"Today, a new energy is visible in India. I urge you to seek opportunities in India and in your own way contribute to its economic development, he added.
 
“We are celebrating 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi in the whole world this year. On 2nd October, Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention was held in Delhi in memory of Bapu, in which Tajikistan also participated. I hope all of you will take the message of venerable Bapu, in all the four directions with full zeal.
 
“Our development reflects the new confidence of our country. We have significantly expanded our international relations. Since ages, we have followed 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' and have considered the whole world as our own family.
 
“That is why, we have not only rescued our people, who have been stranded in extreme circumstances or natural calamities, but we have also extended helping hand to other needy people. In the last 4 years, we have been able to safely evacuate more than 90,000 civilians stranded in foreign countries. These include citizens from more than 50 countries,” he added.
 
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#MeToo: Was asked to visit Vairamuthu in hotel, says singer Chinmayi

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Popular singer Chinmayi Sripaada on Monday backed accusations of sexual harassment against veteran Tamil lyricist-poet Vairamuthu by sharing her own story about how she was asked to "cooperate" and visit him in a hotel.
 
After endorsing allegations of sexual harassment against Vairamuthu by several users on Twitter in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Chinmayi shared her own story to corroborate the reports.
 
In a series of tweets, Chinmayi recalled an incident where she alleged that the concert organiser asked her to cooperate and visit Vairamuthu in his hotel room.
 
"Year 2005/2006 maybe. Veezhamattom. An album for Sri Lankan Tamizhs that I had sung in, as had Manikka Vinayagam sir. I don't remember if it was a book or an album release or both now; the performances and launch happened in Switzerland in Bern/Zurich maybe," she tweeted, and added that she returned to Switzerland after the concert with her mother.
 
"Everyone left. Only my mother and I were asked to stay back. The organiser (I don't remember his name) asked me to visit Vairamuthu sir in a hotel in Lucerne," she wrote.
 
Chinmayi added that she was asked to "cooperate". But she refused.
 
"We demanded to be sent back to India. He said 'you won't have a career!' My mother and I both put our foot down, career vendam mannum vendam (don't need career, need self-esteem). Demanded an earlier flight to India and came back."
 
Recalling another incident, which she said happened three or four years ago, Chinmayi alleged that Vairamuthu threatened to make false claims when she turned down his request to sing at an event.
 
"He had a book release function & asked me to sing Tamizh Thaai vaazhthu. I said I would be unable to. He in turn responded I'll tell (a politician) you spoke ill of him on stage, yelled at me and kept the phone down. I bawled," wrote Chinmayi.
 
She went on to write that her work place has been mostly clean save for some bad apples.
 
"In 17 years, not one man in the industry across languages Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Marathi has misbehaved."
 
"I call Vairamuthu sir out alone and I dare," she wrote.
 
She also alleged that the staff of Vairamuthu's office are well aware of his behavior. 
 
"His close confidants know. They are also his enablers," she said.
 
IANS
 

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