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Tamil Nadu

Ashok Gajapathi Raju inspects Chennai airport, calls for improvement in cleanliness

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Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju carried out an inspection of the key infrastructural facilities at the Chennai airport here on Saturday and called for further improvement in aspects such as cleanliness of the terminals, maintenance of wash roooms and overall interior ambience.
 
Mr Raju said this shoud be done on a sustained basis to improve the perception of customers.
 
After an extensive survey of the area and detailed inspection of the facilities, he noted that the Airports Authority of India had fairly attended to the deficiencies notified by the officials of the Ministry during a suprise visit some time ago.
 
Mr Raju had said some time ago that he would personally visit the airport to see the facilities following complaints received through the media and various stakeholders regarding the deficiencies in the facilities and maintenance standards
 
During his visit, he went around all the locations at the airport, including the domestic departure and arrivals halls, the new international  depature hall, immigration and customs areas, city side and air side facilities, the air cargo complex and the fire station.
 
He was accompanied by Minister of State for Civil Aviation G.M. Siddeshwara, the chairman of AAI and other senior officials.
 
Mr Raju said that, though improvement was visible, there was need to look into infrastructural issues and to take steps to ease the congestion in the security hold areas. He made suggestions for improvement of passenger sitting areas by realigning certain concessionaire’s kiosks so that the passenger flow area in the passages can be wider for comfort of movement.
 
He adviced AAI to engage a horticultural consultant for development of greenerty on the air side of the terminal buildings.
 
During the inspection, the Minister interacted with passengers at random and obtained feedback regarding their experience
 
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O Panneerselvam to succeed jailed Jayalalithaa as Tamil Nadu CM

 
O Panneerselvam to be next Tamil Nadu CM
Mr O Panneerselvam, who too like Prime Minister Narendra Modi started out in life as a tea seller, will succeed J Jayalalithaa, who was sentenced to four years in prison by a special court in Bangalore in a corruption case yesterday, as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had served as Chief Minister from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
Like then, Ms Jayalalithaa, the supreme leader of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in the state, has turned to Mr Panneerselvam again to step in for her.
 
AIADMK legislators met formally in the afternoon and formally elected Mr Panneerselvam, who represents the Bodinayakanur constituency in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, as their new leader. He was Minister for Finance and Public Works in the Jayalalithaa cabinet.
 
Later this evening, Mr Panneerselvam drove to Raj Bhavan and met Governor K Rosaiah, who invited him to take over as the new Chief Minister. He is expected to be sworn in tomorrow.
 
A farmer from Periyakulam in Theni district, Mr Panneerselvam's brother's family now runs the tea stall that he still owns.
 
He was always maintained a low profile as a politician and is known to be a staunch Jayalalithaa loyalist.
 
Born on January 14, 1951, Mr Panneerslevam has a B.A. degree. He served as chairman of the Periyakulam Municipality from 1996-2001and as State Revenue Minister from May 19 to September 1, 2001, before taking over briefly as Chief Minister later that month.
 
After Ms Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister in March 2002, Mr Panneerselvam served as Minister in her Cabinet, handling portfolios such as Public Works, Prohibition and Excise, Revenue, Irrigation and so on. He has also served as the leader of the AIADMK legislative party and the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa was convicted by the special court in Bangalore yesterday in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and  asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
The sentence meant that she has been disqualified as a member of the legislative assembly and has been barred from contesting elections for six years after she completes her four-year sentence. As a consequence, she has also had to step down as Chief Minister.
 
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Jayalalithaa and three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The court sentenced the co-accused -- her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew Sudharakan, who is Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi -- to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
The prosecution lawyers told reporters yesterday that the court had held that the prosecution had been able to prove that she possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. 
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state.
 
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Jayalalithaa convicted, jailed for four years in 18-year-old corruption case

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was on Saturday convicted by a special court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison, asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore and barred from contesting elections for 10 years.

 
Jayalalithaa convicted in disproportionate assets case
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was today convicted by a special court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison, asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore and barred from contesting elections for 10 years.
 
The verdict also means that Jayalalithaa, 66, a film star-turned-politician, will be disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and cease to be Chief Minister of the state, and her party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIDMK), will have to choose a successor to her.
 
Jayalalithaa and three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
Prosecution lawyers told waiting newspersons outside the special court that the judge had sentenced the co-accused -- her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew Sudharakan, who is Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi -- were also sentenced to four years in prison and fined Rs 10 crore each.
 
The verdict left AIADMK supporters stunned and hundreds of them gathered outside her Poes Garden residence in Chennai, where emotional scenes were witnessed, even as there were reports of stray incidents of violence in the city and different parts of the state.
 
Trial court judge John Michael D'Cunha pronounced his verdict in the special court in the Central Jail at Parapanna Agrahara in south Bangalore. The court had reached its verdict earlier in the day and heard arguments from both sides on the quantum of sentence shortly afterwards. The entire process lasted till late in the evening, after which Jayalalithaa was taken into custody and sent for a medical check-up.
 
Her lawyers had pleaded for the minimum sentence of one year for her, in view of various ailments she is suffering from, while the prosecution wanted her to be given the maximum sentence of seven years.
 
The verdict also means that she stands disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and cease to be Chief Minister of the state with immediate effect and her party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIDMK), will have to choose a successor without any delay.
 
The fact that she was sentenced to more than three years of imprisonment meant that she could not appeal for bail to the special court and would have to now approach the Karnataka High Court in this regard.
 
Jayalalithaa will be kept in the Bangalore jail because the case was tried and the verdict pronounced here, the lawyers explained. She had spent a few days in prison after a first information report (FIR) had been filed in the case in 1996.
 
Bangalore Police had made elaborate security arrangements around the jail and imposed prohibitory orders banning the assembly of five or more people in a radius of one km around the complex.
 
Jayalalithaa flew in to Bangalore from Chennai this morning by a special aircraft along along with Sasikala. Several of her Cabinet colleagues and senior leaders of the AIADMK were present in and around the court when the verdict was dlivered.
 
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The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
In 2001, she had to step down as Chief Minister soon after being sworn in after the Supreme Court declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing her to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case.
 
One of her colleagues, O Paneerselvan, took her place. She was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
The prosecution lawyers said today that the court had held that the prosecution had been able to prove that she possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. They said the fine was imposed as per provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in such matters.
 
They said that the fine would be realised from the assets that had been seized earlier by the DVAC.
 
Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In 2011, Jayalalithaa had appeared in the Bangalore court for four days to answer more than 1390 questions posed by the judge.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state.
 
Yesterday, theSupreme Court had rejected a petition by a lawyer who wanted the verdict to be deferred on the grounds that it would lead to law and order problems.
 
Later in the evening, Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah called State Chief Secretary Mohan Verghese Chunkat, Director General of Police K Ramanujam and Chennai Police Commissioner S George and reviewed the law and order situation in the state.
 
The officers apprised Mr Rosaiah of the measures taken to prevent the spread of untoward incidents in the state.
 
The Governor instructed the officers to prevent any further incidents and ensure that law and order is maintained.
 
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Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa convicted in 18-year-old corruption case

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was on Saturday convicted by a spcial court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case in which she and three co-accused persons were alleged to have amassed assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income in 1991-96 during her first term in office.

Jayalalithaa convicted in disproportionate assets case
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was today convicted by a special court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case in which she and three co-accused persons were alleged to have amassed assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income in 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The verdict left AIADMK supporters stunned and hundreds of them gathered outside her Poes Garden residence in Chennai, where emotional scenes were witnessed, even as there were reports of stray incidents of violence in different parts of the city and other parts of the state.
 
The court is expected to pronounce the sentence, under the Prevention of Corruption Act, later today and Jayalalithaa, 66, a film-star turned politician, will have to quit office and choose a successor if she is sentenced to two years or more in prison. She is liable to be sentenced for a minimum of one year in prison and a maximum of seven years, sources said. She had spent a few days in prison after a first information report (FIR) had been filed in the case in 1996.
 
The verdict can be challenged in the Karnataka High Court.
 
Trial court judge John Michael D'Cunha pronunced his verdict in the special court in the Central Jail at Parapanna Agrahara in south Bangalore.
 
Bangalore Police had made elaborate security arrangements around the jail and imposed prohibitory orders banning the assembly of five or more people in a radius of one km around the complex.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa flew in to Bangalore from Chennai this morning by a special aircraft along along with her co-accused and close aide Sasikala Natarajan.
 
Sasikala's relative Ilavarasi and her nephew Sudhakaran, who is Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, are the other accused in the case.
 
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Several of Jayalalithaa's Cabinet colleagues and senior leaders of her All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) were present in and around the court when the verdict was dlivered.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Jayalalithaa's rival M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu with Jayalalithaa back as Chief Minister.
 
In 2001, she had to step down as Chief Minister soon after being sworn in after the Supreme Court declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing her to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case.
 
One of her colleagues, O Paneerselvan, took her place. She was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In 2011, Jayalalithaa had appeared in the Bangalore court for four days to answer more than 1300 questions posed by the judge.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state.
 
Yesterday, theSupreme Court had rejected a petition by a lawyer who wanted the verdict to be deferred on the grounds that it would lead to law and order problems.
 
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Renowned mandolin player U Shrinivas passes away at 45

U Shrinivas
U Shrinivas
Renowned mandolin player U Shrinivas, who started out as a child prodigy and went on to become synonymous with the instrument, passed away at the Apollo Hospital here this morning after a failed liver transplant.
 
He was 45.
 
Sources at the hospital told NetIndian that Mandolin Shrinivas, as he was popularly called, had undergone the liver transplant four days ago.
 
He was admitted to the hospital on September 3 with complaints of loose motions and other symptoms, and was found to have problems with his liver. "He underwent a transplant four days ago, but he did not make it," they said, adding that the end came around 10 am today.
 
Born on February 28, 1969 at Palakol in Andhra Pradesh, Uppalapu Shrinivas showed an uncanny interest in his father Sathyanarayana's mandolin at a very young age.
 
Realising the potential of the young boy, his father took him to his guru Rudraraju Subbaraju for lessons. The teacher did not know how to play the instrument but used to sing and Shrinivas would follow him on the mandolin.
 
He made a spectacular debut on the Carnatic music scene with his first public performance during the Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival at Gudivada in Andhra Pradesh in 1978 at the age of nine and never looked back.
 
At the age of 12, he was invited to play at the Indian Fine Arts Society in Chennai during the Music Season of 1981. Two years later, he was invited to perform at the JazzFest Berlin.
 
Shrinivas adapted the difficult western instrument to Carnatic music with great success, winning praise from lay audiences as well as critics.
 
The Government honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1998. He was also the recipient of numerous other awards, including the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
 
Shrinivasan also performed with global artistes like John McLaughlin, Michael Nyman, Nigel Kennedy, Trey Gunn, Nana Vasconcelos and Michael Brook. He also collaborated with top Indian artistes such as Zakir Hussain, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Sivamani, Vikku Vinayakram and Dominique Piazza.
 
He has toured to all parts of the world, including Australia, South East Asia, the United States and Canada. At 18, he was the first South Indian artiste to perform at the Cevantinho Festival in Mexico. He also played at the Olympics Arts Festival in Barcelona in 1992.
 
Shrinivas founded the Shrinivas Institute of World Music (SIOWM) in Chennai, which has trained a lot of young musicians.
 
His younger brother U. Rajesh is also a well-known mandolin player in his own right.
 
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Eros Music to release sound track of Murugadoss’ Kaththi starring Vijay

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Film entertainment major Eros International Media Limited today announced its music label Eros Music's foray into Tamil music with the release of its first Tamil album, Vijay starrer Kaththi, directed by A. R. Murugadoss with music by Anirudh Ravichander. 
 
Eros Music will release the sound track of this coming action thriller, one of the most anticipated Tamil films of 2014, on September 18, a press release from the company said.
 
According to it, the soundtrack of Kaththi consists of an eclectic mix of singers and six tracks – soulful melodies to folk songs with Vijay himself lending his voice to one of the tracks, "Selfie pulla”.
 
Ms Soundarya A Rajinikanth, Director - Creative & Head Eros Digital for south India said, “We are very excited to associate with the Kaththi team to release the music of this much awaited film. This move marks Eros’ debut in the Tamil music market and what can be more auspicious than joining hands with the stalwarts of Tamil cinema – Murugadoss, Vijay sir and youth icon Anirudh."
 
"With this move, we are looking forward to leveraging our strength in exclusively exploiting Tamil music content across all formats," she added.
 
The audio launch event of the movie is scheduled to take place on September 18 in Chennai.  After the success of Thuppakki, Murugadoss and Vijay are working together once again. Produced by Ayngaran International and Lyca Productions, Kaththi is scheduled to release on Diwali.
 
With this announcement, in addition to owning music rights of its Bollywood line up, Eros Music will retain, exploit and monetize the music rights of Kaththi across physical and digital formats, the release added.
 
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Naval offshore patrol vessel INS Sumitra commissioned in Chennai

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Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan commissioned into the Indian Navy its fourth indigenous naval offshore patrol vessel, INS Sumitra, at a ceremony in Chennai today.
 
Vice Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral A V Subhedar, Controller Warship Production and Acquisition (CWP&A), IHQ MoD(N), and Rear Admiral Shekhar Mittal (Retd), Chairman and Managing Director, Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
"The Indian Navy is a multi-dimensional force capable of meeting any challenge in the maritime domain in the Indian Ocean Region. The responsibilities of protecting our vast maritime interests fall squarely on the shoulders of men in white uniform as it is the responsibility of the Navy to ensure that India’s maritime interests - which have a vital relationship with the nation’s economic growth - are allowed to develop unhindered both in peace and war," Admiral Dhowan said.
 
He said INS Sumitra would have a major role to play in patrolling India’s eastern seaboard and be an important component under the NOIC (Tamil Nadu & Puducherry) and the Eastern Naval Command, which has the responsibility of countering the maritime challenges in the Bay of Bengal and the waters of the adjoining Eastern Indian Ocean Region.
 
Complimenting the efforts of the country's naval ship designers and defence sector shipyards, the Admiral stated that over the years India had progressively designed and constructed 120 warships and submarines of various categories in difference shipyards.
 
“The blue print for the future Indian Navy is firmly anchored on self-reliance and indigenisation and currently we have 41 ships and submarines under construction in various public and private shipyards within the country," he said.
 
"It is a matter of great pride that over the decades, we have transformed from a Buyer’s Navy to a Builders Navy," he said.
 
INS Sumitra is the first major ship being based at Chennai in recognition of the growing importance of the region and enhanced surveillance needs. The primary role of the ship is to undertake surveillance of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) besides other operational tasks such as anti-piracy patrols, fleet support operations, maritime security of off-shore assets and escort operations of high value naval platforms.
 
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Designed and built by Goa Shipyard Limited, INS Sumitra measures about 105 meters in length, 13 meters in breadth and displaces 2200 tons. It can achieve a speed of 25 knots with an endurance of 6000 nautical miles. 
 
The ship’s weapon and sensor outfit include a 76.2 mm gun (Super Rapid Gun Mount), Close in Weapon Systems, latest navigational and early warning radars, chaff launchers and an integrated Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system.
 
She is also equipped with two Rigid Inflatable Fast Motor Boats. In addition, the ship is capable of carrying a helicopter onboard.
 
The propulsion package of the ship includes two Pielstick make diesel engines, which are the largest engines of their type to be inducted in the Indian Navy, and enable the ship to achieve speed of up to 25 knots. Further,  the entire propulsion and power management of the ship is controlled electronically by means of a remote control system. The ship is equipped with a fully integrated LAN system along with a CCTV management system which enables optimal utilisation of onboard equipment and optimisation of manpower.
           
The ship is commanded by Commander Milind Mohan Mokashi, a communication specialist who is an alumnus of the 53rd Naval Academy Course and the prestigious 67th Defence Services Staff Course at Wellington.  The ship is manned by nine officers and 105 sailors. 
 
"The induction of the ship will add capacity and capability to be the Navy’s efforts to protect the nation’s maritime security needs," a press release from the Ministry of Defence added.
 
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Indian Air Force launches student interaction drive in south India

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) launched a student interaction drive in south India yesterday aimed at motivating young people to join the force and be a part of the IAF family.
 
The drive was flagged off in Chennai yesterday by Air Officer-in-Charge Personnel Air Marshal S Sukumar. 
 
It is one of the many activities undertaken by the IAF to connect to the youth and create an awareness about induction into the IAF officers cadre.
 
Young air force officers in IAF rally Gypsies, along with support staff and vehicles, were flagged off from Chennai and they will cover eight cities -- includingTiruchirappalli, Madurai, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode, Mangalore and Bangalore. The drive will be flagged-in in Bangalore on September 27.
 
The team will interact with the youth at 16 educational institutions in these cities and provide them with information about career opportunities in the IAF and address their queries.
 
The IAF adventure team, also a part of the contingent, will conduct para-sailing activities at the institute premises. Students will also get an opportunity to visit IAF bases at certain places and a chance to fly in powered hang gliders. 
 
This will provide a great opportunity to the students to experience glimpses of IAF’s adventurous life and also get to know avenues available to them as IAF officers, an official press release added.
 
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AIADMK's M Thambidurai elected Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha

 
AIADMK's M Thambidurai elected Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader Munisamy Thambidurai was today elected unopposed as the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha after all parties, including the main Opposition Congress, supported his candidature.
 
Dr Thambidurai, 67, was the only candidate whose nomination papers had been filed in the stipulated period.
 
His first nomination paper was proposed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and seconded by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, both of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
 
Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, and deputy leader Jyotiraditya Scindia filed another set of papers proposing Dr Thambidurai for the position.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, Kharge and leaders of other parties congratulated Dr Thambidurai on his election and assured him of their full cooperation in the smooth conduct of the House.
 
Born on March 15, 1947, Dr Thambidurai, who has a Ph.D. in Economics, represents the Karur constituency in Tamil Nadu. He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984 and had served as Deputy Speaker from 1985-89.
 
He served as Minister for Law, Justice and Company Affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government between March 1998 and April 1999. He also held additional charge of Surface Transport for some time.
 
In the last Lok Sabha, he was the leader of the AIADMK in the House. This is his sixth term in the Lok Sabha.
 
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Navy commissions VLF Transmitting Station at Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu

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Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan inaugurated a new state-of-the-art Very Low Frequency (VLF) Transmitting Station at INS Kattaboman at Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu today. 
 
This new facility would provide a boost to the Navy’s ability to communicate with deployed ships and submarines on an uninterrupted basis throughout the year, an official press release said.
 
India is among a handful of nations in the world that has such a capability, it said.
 
VLF radio waves are used for communicating with submarines that are underwater and the Indian Navy has been operating a similar facility for the last 24 years. 
 
"The new facility incorporates cutting edge technology and will provide the Navy significantly enhanced reach, redundancy and operational features. Being a Navy that deploys globally to represent and protect Indian national interests, the service has an elaborate communication infrastructure, including modern satellite communication facilities, to link and network its deployed units with their home bases and command and control centres. The new VLF station will strengthen this infrastructure and provide the Navy additional operational advantages," the release said.
 
The new facility equipment has been constructed by Larsen & Turbo (L&T) divisions in Chennai and Bangalore. Among other things, the facility boasts of the highest masts structures in India, as well as several other unique engineering feats, the release added.
 
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Civil Aviation Minister directs officials to improve maintenance at Chennai airport

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Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati today directed the officials concerned to take all possible measures to improve the conditions at the Chennai International Airport and bring them up to the international standards within a month.
 
This followed a review of the performance of the airport at a meeting he held with the Secretary, Civil Aviation, and the Chairman and senior officials of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), especially against the background of several complaints received regarding the poor upkeep and lack of facilities at the airport.
 
On the orders of the Minister, senior officers of the Ministry conducted a check on July 18 at the Chennai airport.
 
At today's meeting, the Minister expressed concern about the state of affairs and stressed the need to provide proper hygienic conditions and amenities to the passengers, as required in an international airport. 
 
Mr Raju said that he would visit the airport in the near future to personally take stock of the situation.
 
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Jayalalithaa writes to PM about apprehension of TN fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy personnel

File photo of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi bringing to his notice two more recent incidents of apprehension of fishermen from the state by Sri Lankan Navy personnel in their traditional waters in the Palk Bay.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa said that, in an incident on July 21, as many as 18 fishermen in five mechanised fishing boats who set out for fishing from Jegadapattinam and Kottaipattinam fishing bases in Pudukottai district were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in the late hours of that day and taken to  Kankesanthurai.
 
In the second incident, on the same day, the Sri Lankan Navy apprehended 20 fishermen who set out in four boats from Rameshwaram in Ramanathapuram district had been tken to Thalaimannar. 
 
According to her, in a previous incident on July 16, five fishermen from Pudukottai district were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy. They were reportedly drifting due to engine failure and were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy and have been remanded up to July 31 by the Kayts court.
 
"The instances of apprehension of our fishermen continue unabated 
and are creating a sense of fear, anxiety and unrest among the fishermen 
community in Tamil Nadu," she wrote in her letter.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa said that while the Union Government had taken prompt action from time to time to secure the release of 225 fishermen from Sri Lankan custody, it was disheartening to note that their 46 fishing boats continued to stay impounded.
 
"This deliberate strategy of the Sri Lankan Government to destroy the primary means of livelihood of our fishermen is condemnable. I request the Government of India to take up this matter with the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure the immediate release of the impounded fishing boats and gear before they are rendered useless," she said.
 
"The Government of Tamil Nadu reiterates its firm commitment to the restoration of traditional fishing rights of our fishermen in the Palk Bay and the retrieval of Katchatheevu which had been an integral part of India since time immemorial. The Government of India should also not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Sri Lanka as a settled question as the constitutionality of the 1974 and 1976 agreements have been challenged on extremely valid and legal grounds by me in my personal capacity and also by the Government of Tamil Nadu in the Supreme Court of India," she said.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa urged Mr Modi to initiate permanent measures to resolve this long festering issue.
 
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Mukherjee says knowledge, innovation are underpinning of progress, prosperity

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President Pranab Mukherjee has said that knowledge and innovation are the underpinning of progress and prosperity in the 21st century and India can derive competitive advantage in this age of globalisation only from an eco-system that is conducive to new learning and research.
 
"Using innovation as a bridge, we must muster enough technological prowess to be counted as an advanced nation," he said in his address at the golden jubilee celebrations of the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu on Saturday.
 
"Yet, given the present socio-economic condition of our country, the thrust of research must be to erase backwardness and wipe out deprivation. Innovations must improve the state of the underserved, who want a positive difference in their lives. Institutions like yours must support ingenuous ideas that promise betterment for those aspiring to rise up the socio-economic ladder – help a farmer till the soil better, an artisan perfect his craft or a small entrepreneur improve the productivity of his venture," he said.
 
In this context, he expressed happiness that the NIT had a Centre for Rural Technology aimed at developing modern and cost effective technologies for application in the rural areas.
 
NIT Tiruchirappalli is one of the top technical schools and one of the largest suppliers of engineers in the country. Formerly called Regional Engineering College, it was started in 1964.
 
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"Tracing the origins of the older NITs like yours, one can draw a parallel with the genesis of post-1947 modern industrial India, when steel plants, refineries, dams and heavy engineering industries were being set up. Most of these NITs were established in rural locations or in green-field industrial sites, with the aim to spur local development. Your institute, which was set up alongside BHEL, was one of them. Such vision brought about a pulsating eco-system of industry and technical institution that fostered close interaction. The NITs have made remarkable progress over the years. That their growth since inception is primarily the result of indigenous efforts, without help from foreign institutions, is truly praiseworthy," he told the gathering.
 
Mr Mukherjee said that another notable feature of the NIT system was its student mix, which by design has a national character, making each campus a microcosmic-Bharat. 
 
"The bright young minds – the would-be engineers and scientists - are an asset to the nation. Hopes and expectations from them are many. I am confident that the students, including those of this institute, will understand their responsibilities well. They will always, with a sense of obligation, perform their duty for the well-being of their fellow countrymen and development of the nation," he said.
 
The President called for efforts to improve the international rankings of Indian educational institutions and noted that India had recently become a permanent member of the Washington Accord, which is an international accreditation agreement amongst 17 countries for professional engineering degrees.
 
He also stressed the need to address faculty shortages, improve the industrial linkages of educational institutions and upgrade infrastructure.
 
"ICT networks must be utilized fully to enable knowledge sharing and intellectual collaboration beyond the campus. Academic cooperation is a must for healthy exchange of ideas and expansion of knowledge boundaries," he said.
 
He said e-classrooms must be made available for smarter dissemination of lectures and tutorials. 
 
"I am told that NIT Tiruchirappalli is working on the concept of virtual campus, which if executed will enable greater access to better quality education," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said NITs must work towards promoting scientific temper in their students. 
 
"We pin our hopes on IITs, NITs and other technical institutions to nurture world-class, professionally-competent engineers who will not only take India to new heights in technology but also improve the quality of life of our countrymen. We must, therefore, develop in our budding engineers an understanding of the society. I am pleased to know that students of this Institute are being exposed to the world outside through initiatives like Joy of Giving that provide service to orphanages and the needy," he added.
 
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11 people killed in wall collapse in Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu

 
11 die in wall collapse in Tamil Nadu
As many as 11 people were killed when the newly-built compound wall of a godown collapsed on to their adjacent huts near Uttarapalayam in Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu this morning.
 
One person was rescued from under the debris and admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment, superintendent of police A Saravanan told NetIndian over the telephone.
 
He said the owner of the godown, Bala, had been arrested in connection with the incident.
 
Mr Saravanan said the victims included six men, four women and a child. Their identity is yet to be established, but they were learnt to be construction workers from Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. Teams from Srikakulam were expected to reach Thiruvallur to help identify them.
 
The victims, who were working on the construction of another godown nearby, had built huts for themselves against the recently built wall. The collapse occurred around 2 am today after heavy rains lashed the area last night, sources said.
 
The incident has occurred just a week after a major tragedy at Porur on June 28, in which 61 persons died and several others suffered injuries when an eleven-storeyed building under construction collapsed, also after heavy rains.
 
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Jayalalithaa writes to PM about detention of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, bringing to his notice the detention of 17 fishermen from Rameshwaram by personnel of the Sri Lankan Navy on June 28 and seeking his intervention in securing their immediate release.
 
She said the fishermen had set out for fishing in three mechanized fishing boats from Rameshwaram fishing base and were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy in the early hours of yesterday and taken to Thalaimannar.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa said these detentions were in addition to the 11 fishermen who were apprehended on June 23 and are yet to be released by the Sri Lankan government. 
 
She said that the "effective intervention" by the Government of India, in response to her earlier letter of June 19, had led to the release of 46 fishermen apprehended on June 18.
 
Similarly, in response to her letter of June 24, seven fishermen and one mechanized boat detained by the Sri Lankan Navy on June 19 had also been released.
 
But she pointed out that the boats and fear of the fishermen released so far were yet to be returned to them, affecting their livelihood.
 
"These continued and repeated instances of apprehension and abduction of our fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy are adding to the very heightened sense of unrest and resentment among the Tamil Nadu fishermen who are struggling to eke out their livelihood from a very difficult and increasingly dangerous profession," she said in her letter.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa said the fishermen pursued their traditional avocation in their historic and traditional fishing waters of the Palk Bay. 
 
"I would like to reiterate that the Government of India should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Sri Lanka as a settled question as the very ownership of Katchatheevu islet and the unconstitutionality of the 1974 and 1976 agreements by which the islet was ceded to Sri Lanka are the subject matter of litigation in the 
Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. 
 
"Hence it is imperative that the traditional livelihood of our fishermen should not be allowed to be disrupted by the hostile actions of the Sri Lankan Navy. My Government looks to your immediate and emphatic response to this issue and to ensure that it is taken up at the highest levels of the Sri Lankan Government, so that our fishermen are not repeatedly 
arrested and abducted in the high seas of the Palk Bay," she said.
 
"I request you to kindly ensure an early and strong diplomatic action to secure the immediate release of all the 28 Indian fishermen along with their 41 fishing boats, including the 11 fishermen and 38 boats already in Sri Lankan custody. I look forward to an early and decisive response," she added.
 
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Chennai building collapse toll rises to 17, more than 30 still feared trapped

 
Builders knowingly committed violation: Jayalalithaa
The death toll in the collapse of an 11-storeyed under-construction building here on Saturday evening has risen to 17, official sources said, even as search and rescue teams continued round-the-clock efforts to find more survivors at the scene of the tragedy.
 
Officials of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said that 21 people had been brought out alive from the debris and admitted to nearby hospital for treatment of injuries.
 
Several more people are feared trapped under the rubble, with the authorities estimating that upto 72 people -- mainly workers -- were at the site when the structure came down.
 
The officials said that the efforts to extricate those trapped under the tons of concrete would continue without let.
 
The building was part of a two-building project launched at Moulivakkam near Porur on the outskirts of the city by a Madurai-based real estate developer, the sources said. It came down around 5.30 pm on Saturday during heavy rains that were lashing the area at that time. The cause of the collapse could not be immediately established.
 
Six people, including the property developer, his son and two engineers, have been detained by the police and are being questioned in connection with the incident, they said.
 
Hundreds of personnel of the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services, NDRF, police and other emergency services had reached the spot immediately and have been working without a break since then to bring out those believed caught under debris.
 
Scores of rescue workers could be seen using gas cutters to cut through the iron rods and hammers and cranes and other equipment to lift or break up the concrete slabs.
 
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa issued instructions to the police to initiate action against those responsible for the incident. She sent Animal Husbandry Minister T K M Chinniah to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa also visited the site of the mishap and held discussions with senior officials.
 
“There was nothing wrong with the plan that was submitted for approval but the builders knowingly committed many violations and did not adhere to the plan that was approved," she told journalists later.
 
She said it was too early to say what had caused the collapse. "But there appears to have been a big structural defect which is apparent in the adjoining building also which is being constructed by the same company. Tests have to be conducted whether the soil is capable of bearing such a huge weight," she said.
 
The Tamil Nadu government has announced a solatium of Rs 2 lakh for the families of each of those killed in the collapse and Rs 50,000 to those who have suffered injuries. Ms Jayalalithaa said the government had also made arrangements to provide temporary shelter, food and other facilities for the families of the victims.
 
She said the the rescue operations would continue non-stop. "We hope to save as many lives as possible," she added.
 
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Death toll in Chennai building collapse rises to eight, more feared trapped under debris

The death toll in the collapse of an 11-storeyed under-construction building in Chennai on Saturday evening has risen to eight, official sources said, even as search and rescue operations continued round-the-clock at the scene of the tragedy.

 
Death toll in Chennai building collapse rises to 8
The death toll in the collapse of an 11-storeyed under-construction building here yesterday evening has risen to eight, official sources said, even as search and rescue operations continued round-the-clock at the scene of the tragedy.
 
Chennai Commissioner of Police S George told NetIndian over the telephone that 18 others had been rescued from the debris and admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment of injuries.
 
Several more people are feared trapped under the rubble, with the authorities estimating that upto 72 people -- mainly workers -- were at the site when the structure came down.
 
Four of the deceased were women, he said, adding that efforts to extricate those trapped would continue without let.
 
The building was part of a two-building project launched at Moulivakkam near Porur on the outskirts of the city by a Madurai-based real estate developer, sources said. It came down around 5.30 pm during heavy rains that were lashing the area at that time. The cause of the collapse could not be immediately established.
 
Four people -- the property developer, his son and two engineers -- have been detained by the police and are being questioned in connection with the incident, sources said.
 
Personnel of the Fire and Rescue Services, police and other emergency services had reached the spot immediately and have been working without a break since then to bring out those believed caught under debris.
 
Scores of rescue workers could be seen using gas cutters to cut through the iron rods and hammers and cranes and other equipment to lift or break up the concrete slabs.
 
Teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had also joined the search and rescue efforts.
 
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa issued instructions to the police to initiate action against those responsible for the incident. She sent Animal Husbandry Minister T K M Chinniah to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
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1 killed, several trapped as 11-storeyed under-construction building collapses in Chennai

 
Chennai building collapse: One dead and several trapped
At least one person was killed and about 50 others were feared trapped when an 11-storeyed under-construction building collapsed at Moulivakkam near Porur here this evening, official sources said.
 
As many as 11 people had been rescued from the debris and rushed to nearby hospitals, where the condition of one of them was stated to be serious.
 
Personnel of the Fire and Rescue Services and other emergency services reached the spot immediately and began the task of extricating those trapped in the rubble. Scores of rescue workers could be seen using gas cutters to cut through the iron rods and trying to break up the concrete slabs.
 
The structure collapsed around 5.30 pm when rains were lashing the area. The cause of the collapse could not be established immediately. The building was part of a two-building project launched by a real estate developer.
 
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa issued instructions to the police to initiate action against those responsible for the incident. She sent Animal Husbandry Minister T K M Chinniah to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
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Rosaiah to hold additional charge of Karnataka Governor's post

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President Pranab Mukherjee today appointed Mr K Rosaiah, the Governor of Tamil Nadu, to discharge the functions of the Governor of Karnataka, in addition to his own duties.
 
The arrangement will continue until a successor is appointed to Karnataka Governor Hans Raj Bhardwaj, who will complete his tenure tomorrow.
 
Similar, the President has appointed Mr Vakkom Purushothaman, Governor of Mizoram, to discharge the functions of the Governor of Tripura, in addition to his own duties, until regular arrangements for the office of the Governor of Tripura are made vice Mr Devanand Konwar, who completes his tenure tomorrow.
 
A press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan also said that the President had accepted the resignation of Mr Ashwani Kumar as Governor of Nagaland.
 
Mr Krishant Kant Paul, Governor of Meghalaya, has been appointed to discharge the functions of the Governor of Nagaland, in addition to his own duties, until regular arrangements for the office of the Governor of Nagaland are made, it added.
 
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L&T Technology Services forms JV with Thales to strengthen Avionics Business

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L&T Technology Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T), today said it had purchased 74% of the equity capital of Thales Software India Pvt. Ltd., the Indian subsidiary of Thales, the global technology leader in aerospace, transportation and defence and security markets.
 
With this transaction, L&T Technology Services will now manage and oversee the management control, operations and delivery of services of the new joint venture, a press release from the company said.
 
"The joint venture brings together the strategic strengths of both the groups. By retaining 26% equity stake, Thales will help the company develop the latest trends in the avionics industry, one of its core businesses. This collaboration adds to L&T Technology Services’ growing competencies by enhancing its expertise in high-end avionic software," it said.
 
The release said the joint venture capitalises on the existing strong relationship between the two groups, L&T and Thales and ensures a long term partnership in the engineering services domain. 
 
"Furthermore, the transaction should enable Thales to select this new group as its Indian offset partner, resulting in inflow of offset related revenues in the joint venture," it said.
 
Dr Keshab Panda, Chief Executive, L&T Technology Services, said: “We as an organisation are at an interesting phase of our journey where we are streamlining our expertise and strengthening our knowledge. In such a phase joining hands with Thales adds to our proficiency in the market."
 
Mr Eric Lenseigne, Managing Director of Thales in India said: “This JV is a reflection of our commitment to India and our objective to strengthen our industrial footprint in the country. In addition, this collaboration with L&T Technology Services brings on-board a seamless integration of all elements and assures our customers quality service and the highest level of long-term, local product support. We are sure that together we would build on our expertise and provide our customers with world-class technology and services.”
 
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Central deputation of Shashi Shekhar extended by six months

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The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved extension of central deputation tenure in respect of Mr Shashi Shekhar, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Environment & Forests, for a period of six months beyond June 28.
 
Mr Shekhar is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1981 batch (Tamil Nadu cadre).
 
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After Karunanidhi, Jayalalithaa flays Centre's move on use of Hindi on social media

File photo of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that two office memoranda issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on the use of Hindi in official accounts of Government departments on social media were against the letter and spirit of the Official Languages Act, 1963, a day after her predecessor and DMK leader M Karunanidhi flayed the Centre for the move.
 
"Hence, I request you to kindly ensure that instructions are suitably modified to ensure that English is used on social media," she said in her letter.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa referred in the letter to the office memoranda issued by the Official Language Department of the Ministry on March 10, 2014 and by the Coordination Division of the Ministry on May 27, 2014, a day after the Narendra Modi government was sworn in.
 
She said these office memoranda directed that official accounts on social media like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Google and You Tube which at present use only English should compulsorily use Hindi, or both Hindi and English, with Hindi being written above or first. 
 
"This makes the use of Hindi mandatory and English optional. As you are aware, as per the Official Languages Rules, 1976, communications from a Central Government office to a State or Union Territory in Region 'C' or to any office (not being a Central Government office) or person in such State shall be in English. 
 
"This provision has been introduced following the introduction of a mandatory proviso to Section 3(1) of the Official Languages Act, 1963, by an amendment in 1968 which states as follows:- 
 
“'Provided that the English language shall be used for purposes of communication between the Union and a State which has not adopted Hindi as its official language,' "the letter said.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa said that, in this context, while the office memoranda had been primarily made applicable to Government of India officers and offices located in “Region A”, social media by their very nature are not only accessible to all persons on the internet but meant to be a means of communication to persons living in all parts of India including those in “Region C”. 
 
People located in “Region C” with whom the Government of India communication needs to be in English, will not have access to such public information if it is not in English. 
 
"This move would therefore be against the letter and spirit of the Official Languages Act, 1963. As you are aware, this is a highly sensitive issue and causes disquiet to the people of Tamil Nadu who are very proud of and passionate about their linguistic heritage," she added.
 
She also reiterated the long-standing demand of the people of Tamil Nadu for making Tamil an official language of India. She also recalled that she had earlier urged him that all the languages included in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution of India be declared as official languages of India.
 
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"If this request is fulfilled the use of all official languages on social media can be encouraged," she added.
 
Yesterday, Mr Karunanidhi had taken strong exception to the Home Ministry memoranda and described it as a “first step towards relegating non-Hindi speaking people to second-class citizen status.”
 
In a statement read out to the media, he said the attempt to accord priority to Hindi, instead of treating equally all languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, would amount to treating non-Hindi speaking people as secondary citizens.
 
Mr Karunanidhi said such moves would only divert the nation's attention from key issues.
 
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Jayalalithaa urges PM to set up Cauvery Management Board immediately

File photo of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
Clearly upset with the Centre for not setting up the Cauvery Management Board so far, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, exhorting him to form it immediately so that the"legitimate rights" of the farmers of her state are protected.
 
In her six-page letter, which also has a 25-page annexure, Ms Jayalalithaa has stressed that the constitution of the Board was not optional, but an integral part of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's (CWDT) final order itself, which has been notified.
 
"Therefore, as a natural corollary and as an extension of the notification, the Cauvery Management Board should have been formed by the erstwhile Congress-led UPA Central Government. However, the erstwhile Congress-led Central Government dragged its feet for political considerations and did not form the Cauvery Management Board until it demitted office," she said.
 
"In this context, I would like to bring to your notice that the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, in Chapters 7 and 8 of the Final Order, has mandated the formation of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC), with its composition and functions, particularly in Chapter 8 at pages 216 to 236. Therefore, the formation of the CMB and CWRC is an integral part of the Final Order of the Tribunal," the letter said.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had met Mr Modi here on June 3 when she had presented a memorandum to him detailing, among other things, the importance of constituting the CMB and the CWRC immediately.
 
"I was given to understand that steps are being taken by the Government of India and matters were proceeding satisfactorily for the present," she said.
 
She said that, since then, Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers Ananth Kumar, a prominent BJP leader from Karnataka, had been quoted in the media as saying that there was no proposal by the Union Government to form the CMB.
 
She said that, two days later, there was another statement by Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu who also said there was no such proposal before the Centre.
 
"However, I am now compelled to write this letter, which has been necessitated by the meeting you had with an all party delegation from Karnataka led by the Chief Minister of Karnataka, who submitted a memorandum to you. This memorandum which is replete with 
prevarications and misleading statements is aimed at making the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal itself nugatory. 
 
"This is something which I could not ignore and I am constrained to point out the trials and tribulations faced by Tamil Nadu to get its legitimate and due share of water from a recalcitrant, upper riparian State, which considers itself as having a natural superior right over all the waters of the inter-State river Cauvery," she said.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa dwelt at length on the background of the dispute and on the proceedings before the CWDT as well as in the Supreme Court.
 
The tribunal, after 16 years of proceedings, pronounced its Final Order on 5.2.2007 and allocated 270 TMC ft to Karnataka, 30 TMC ft to Kerala, 419 TMC ft to Tamil Nadu and 7 TMC ft to Puducherry. 
 
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The Tribunal has also prescribed an annual quantity of 192 TMC ft. of water to be ensured at the inter-State border, presently identified as Billigundulu, as per the prescribed monthly pattern from June of every year to May of next year. 
 
She recalled that, after she assumed office for the third time as Chief Minister in May 2011, she had made efforts to get the final order of the tribunal notified, and it was done on February 19, 2013 after a long legal battle in the apex court.
 
"However, the Central Government cannot rest with the mere notification of the final order but has the constitutional duty and responsibility to constitute a scheme under Section 6A of the Act, viz., the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee, immediately following the publication of the final order as mandated therein, so that the said final order is implemented in all respects," she stressed.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa urged Mr Modi to overrule the objections raised by the Government of Karnataka in this regard.
 
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Modi assures Jayalalithaa of all steps to secure release of Indian abducted in Afghanistan

Alexis Prem Kumar
Alexis Prem Kumar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa that his government would take all possible steps to secure the safe and early release of Father Alexis Prem Kumar, an Indian Jesuit priest who was kidnapped by suspected militants in the Herat province of Afghanistan earlier this month.
 
Fr Prem Kumar, 47, works for the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), an international NGO working for refugees throughout the world, and has been in Afghanistan for the past four years as the country head of the organisation.
 
Mr Modi's assurance came in his reply to a written to him by Ms Jayalalithaa on June 4, urging him to personally intervene and take up the matter at the highest level in Afghanistan
 
"I too am deeply concerned by the abduction of Father Alexis Prem Kumar in 
Herat province of Afghanistan. I have been assured that the Government of Afghanistan and the authorities in Herat are taking every possible step to ensure the early release of Father Prem Kumar," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the Indian Ambassador in Kabul had been in regular touch with the Afghan President's Office and the security agencies in Afghanistan.
 
"My National Security Adviser has also spoken to the Afghan National Security Adviser, who has assured full and sustained efforts by the Afghan Government to seek Father Prem Kumar’s release. 
 
"As you would fully appreciate, this is an extremely delicate situation and our primary concern at this stage is to ensure the integrity of the ongoing efforts for Father Prem Kumar’s release and to ensure that he does not come to 
harm. I can assure you that the Government will spare no effort for the safe and earliest possible release of Father Prem Kumar. I will continue to monitor the situation very closely," he added.
 
Fr. Prem Kumar, an Indian from Tamil Hadu, is was reportedly kidnapped while accompanying teachers on a visit to a JRS-supported school for returnee refugees in Sohadat township, 34 km from Herat.
 
Before moving to Afghanistan, Fr.Prem Kumar had worked for the JRS, serving Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu. 
 
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Kudankulam Unit-1 attains full power of 1000 MW

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The public sector Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NCPIL) today said that Unit-1 of the Kudankulam Atomic Power Project in Tamil Nadu, the largest nuclear power reactor in the country, attained its full power of 1000 MW at 1320 hours today.
 
The unit is operating smoothly and all the operating parametrers are normal, as per specification, a press release from NPCIL said.
 
The unit had been connected to the southern grid on October 22, 2013 and its power level was gradually raised in steps in accordance with the clearances accorded by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
 
At each step, various steps were conducted and, after review of the results, clearances for the next step were issued by the AERB, the release said.
 
At full power, specific tests will be conducted and the reports submitted to the AERB for review and final clearance for continued operation of the unit at full power.
 
Kudankulam 1 and 2 (2X1000 MW), set up in technical cooperation with Russia, have a combination of multi-layered safety features, the release said.
 
At 1000 MW, Kundankulam Unit-1 is the single largest power generating unit in the country. The unit has generated 1900 million units of power till today, since its connection to the grid, the release added.
 
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