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Tamil Nadu

Yercaud bye-election: Jayalalithaa denies violation of Model Code of Conduct

File photo of J Jayalalithaa
File photo of J Jayalalithaa
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today vehemently denied that she had announced any new schemes in any of the speeches she made on November 28 while campaigning for the bye-election for the Yercaud seat in the State Legislative Assembly.
 
In a response sent to a notice issued to her by the Election Commission for alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct, she said she had referred to the various development schemes already implemented and under implementation in the state after she assumed charge as Chief Minister.
 
"I also referred to various developmental schemes already implemented and under implementation in Yercaud Constituency. I emphatically deny that my speech was in the nature of alluding to different social and infrastructure requirements such as opening 
of new Health Centres etc. I mentioned in my speech that the requirements for the development of Yercaud Constituency have been brought to my notice. I made a general statement that whatever is required for the upliftment of the people in the area would be provided," she said.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa said it would not be correct to link the unrelated general statement with the 
requirements which were brought to her notice.
 
"I did not promise that any specific schemes would be implemented. I emphatically deny that I made any specific promise of providing any one of the requirements which were brought to my notice. I repeat that in my speech I only made a general statement that whatever is required for the progress of the people living in Yercaud Constituency would be provided by the 
Government. Hence there was no violation of the Model Code of Conduct," she said.
 
She also said she had not announced any financial grant in any form, or promise thereof, and did not make promise of construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities and so on so as to attract the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct. 
 
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The Commission, in its notice of yesterday, said that it had received a complaint alleging that the Chief Minister had, while campaigning for her party AIADMK's candidate in the constituency on November 28 made announcements of various new schemes and facilities for the area.
 
The Commission said it had also seen the CD of the said speech and found that it was in the nature of alluding to differnet social and infrastructural requirements, such as opening of
new health centres, opening of new primary school and college, augmenting further drinking water facility, opening of new veterinary centre and so on for the area.
 
She said these requirements had been brought to her notice and she had concluded her speech with a promise to provide whatever was required for the development of the area by the Government.
 
"The conjunctive reference to the requirements of the area as brought to your notice on one hand and assurance of meeting developmental requirements of the area by the Govt. on the other is, prima facie, found to be in the nature of making of promise to the electorate of poll bound constituency," the notice said.
 
It said the announcements so made were violative of the Model Code of Conduct which states that: "From the time elections are announced by the Commission, Ministers and other authorities shall not- ( a ) announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof;...... or ( c) make any promise of construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities etc; which may have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power."
 
The Commission asked Ms Jayalalithaa to explain why action should not be taken against her for the alleged violation of the code. She was given until 5 pm of today to send her reply.
 
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World Bank to provide $236m for TN-Puducherry Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction Project

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India and the World Bank signed the financing and project agreements for World Bank assistance of $ 236 million for the Tamil Nadu-Puducherry Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction Project (CDRRP) here today.
 
The Financing Agreement was signed by Mr Nilaya Mitash, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of Government of India and Mr. Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank on behalf of the World Bank.
 
The Project Agreement was signed by Mr Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Secretary, Revenue Department, Government of Tamil Nadu and Mr Deepak Kumar, Project Director, Project Implementing Agency, Government of Puducherry.
 
Ms. Aparna Bhatia, Director (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs anchored the function held at North Block, New Delhi. 
 
An official press release said the objective of the project is to increase the resilience of coastal communities in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to a range of hydro-meteorological and geophysical hazards along with improving project implementation entities’ capacity to respond promptly and effectively to a crisis or emergency. 
 
The project will have five components: (i) Vulnerability Reduction; (ii) Sustainable Fisheries; (iii) Capacity building in Disaster Risk Management; (iv) Implementation Support; and (v) Contingency Emergency Response. 
 
The release said the key expected results are:
 
I. The Project is expected to result in (i) increased community resilience and preparedness in coastal areas; (ii) improved multi-hazard resilient coastal infrastructure; (iii) enhanced performance of and livelihood opportunities from fisheries with increased safety at sea; (iv) increased institutional capacity for risk mitigation and response at the state level. 
 
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II. The primary beneficiaries of the project would be approximately 150 coastal villages that would benefit from the risk mitigation infrastructures. Further, the project would enable a local reform process, which will ensure an improved performance in the marine fisheries sector, characterized by a sustainable flow of social and economic benefits to coastal fisheries communities and a healthy marine environment. Over 17,000 families is expected to benefit from the construction of in-situ permanent multi-hazard resilient houses. Through a disaster management curriculum development for schools and training institutions, the project has the potential to benefit a large community of school children and trainees. 
 
III. It is Specific Investment Loan for a period of 5 years. The implementing agencies are Government of Tamil Nadu and Government of Puducherry. 
 
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Jayalalithaa writes to PM about fishermen held 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 today wrote to Prime Minister about the fate of fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu who allegedly suffer attacks and abduction at the hands of Sri Lankan Navy personnel in their traditional fishing waters in the Palk Bay.
 
"The Government of India cannot continue to remain a passive spectator in the face of the highhanded belligerence of the Sri Lankan Navy," she said.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa said she was writing the letter with a deep sense of anguish and pain.
 
"In spite of my repeated representations to you on this critical livelihood issue of the fishermen of Tamil Nadu, the harassment and arrest of these fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy continues unquestioned and unabated. The Sri Lankan Navy appears emboldened to act in a highhanded and repressive manner largely because of the Government of India’s meek and passive approach to this serious issue," she said.
 
The Chief Minister said that in yet another incident, three mechanised fishing boats, with 13 fishermen belonging to Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, which set out for fishing from Rameswaram fishing base on November 4. The fishermen were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on November 5, she said.
 
In another incident, four fishing boats of Jagathapattinam of Pudukottai district with 17 fishermen were also apprehended by Sri Lankan Navy personnel on November 5, she said.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa said that, in all, 30 fishermen and seven boats from Tamil Nadu had been "unlawfully abducted" by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel on November 5.
 
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"You may recall that 56 fishermen who were apprehended and remanded on earlier occasions are still languishing in Sri Lankan jails," she said.
 
According to her, 35 fishing boats belonging to these poor fishermen from Tamil Nadu are still in the custody of the Sri Lankan authorities. 
 
"Such harsh, punitive and repressive action, which amounts to depriving poor fishermen families of their livelihood, deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms. 
 
"May I once again urge your personal intervention in the matter and exhort you to take up the matter through the highest diplomatic channels and secure the immediate release of the 86 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and 42 fishing boats in Sri Lankan custody, at the earliest? I seek your personal intervention in the matter," the letter added.
 
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Nine killed, four injured in explosion in firecrackers unit in Kumbakonam

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Nine persons were killed and four others suffered injuries in an explosion that occurred at a private firecrackers manufacturing unit near Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district ofTamil Nadu this afternoon, police said.
 
Police officials said those killed included six men and three women. The incident occurred around 2.45 pm today at Olugacheri village, about 20 km from Kumbakonam, they said.
 
The injured - two men and two women - were taken to the government hospital in Kumbakonam, where the condition of two of them was stated to be serious, sources said.
 
The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, the sources said. Fire tenders which rushed to the spot had put out the flames, they added.
 
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CPWD signs MoU with IIM Trichy to construct its permanent campus

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The government's Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has entered into an agreement with Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Tiruchirapalli for  undertaking the project management consultancy for the construction of its permanent campus.
 
This will include the planning, designing and construction of the new campus, an official press release said here. 
 
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed today in Delhi in the presence of Mr V.K. Gupta, Director General, CPWD and Dr. Prafulla Agnihotri, Director, IIM Trichy. 
 
CPWD will meet the expectations in building the permanent campus of this management institute, Mr Gupta said. 
 
The permanent campus will come up on a 68 hectares site which has been allotted by the government of Tamil Nadu. The campus, which will accommodate 1500 students and 300 faculty and staff members, will be fully self-sufficient for its residents and shall comprise academic facilities, hostels for the students, residences for the faculty and staff, recreational facilities and a well-equipped Management Development Centre.
 
The master planning and designing of the campus has been entrusted to a firm of leading architects. The construction of this Rs. 450 crore project will begin during March-April 2014 and is expected to be completed by March 2016. IIM Trichy aims to have a green campus and would be self-sufficient in terms of its water requirements in 5-7 years of its operations, the release said.
 
IIM Tiruchirappalli is the eleventh IIM in the country and began its activities in 2011. 
 
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First unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project synchronized to grid

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The first unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu was synchronized in the early hours today and is now generating 160 MW electricity. 
 
This information was given here by Mr V.Narayansamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), who applauded the scientists and KKNPP administration for their fruitful efforts. 
 
Mr. Narayansamy said power generation from the unit would be raised to 500 MWe, 750 MWe and 100o MWe in stages. 
 
For this, at every stage various tests have been conducted and the technical parameters have also been verified. 
 
Based on the results of the tests at each of the stages and with the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) clearances, subsequent stages are reached, an official press release said.
 
With the addition of KKNPP Unit-1 of 1000 MWe capacity, the nuclear power contribution in the country will increase from 4780 MWe to 5780 MWe, it said.
 
KKNPP Unit-1 is the 20th nuclear power station of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) connected to power grid in the country, the release added.
 
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N Ravi is new Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, Siddharth Varadarajan quits

N Ravi
N Ravi
Siddharth Varadarajan
Siddharth Varadarajan
Mr N Ravi has taken over as Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu and Ms Malini Parthasarathy as its Editor, the Chennai-based newspaper announced on its website.
 
Well-known journalist Siddharth Varadarajan, who was the Editor-in-Chief, said he had resigned from the newspaper.
 
"With The Hindu's owners deciding to revert to being a family run and edited newspaper, I am resigning from The Hindu with immediate effect," Mr Varadarajan said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
In an announcement titled "Changes at the Helm: Editorial and Business", The Hindu said that Mr Arun Anant is no longer the Chief Executive Officer of Kasturi & Sons Limited (KSL), the company that owns and publishes The Hindu Group of publications.
 
It said Mr N Ram, a former Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper and brother of Mr Ravi, had become Chairman of KSL and Publisher of The Hindu and Group publications.
 
Mr N Murali, the eldest of three brothers, has become Co-Chairman of the company.
 
"These decisions were taken by the Board of Directors of the company at its meeting on Monday," it said.
 
"In consequence, Siddharth Varadarajan, who was made Contributing Editor and Senior Columnist, The Hindu, has submitted his resignation.
 
"The Board also decided to allocate specific responsibilities to other Directors.
 
"The decision to make deep-going changes was made chiefly on the ground that there were recurrent violations and defiance of the framework of the institution’s longstanding values on the business side, and recurrent violations and defiance of ‘Living Our Values’, the mandatory Code of Editorial Values applicable to The Hindu. The whole effort is to restore employee morale, good industrial relations, and the trust of this newspaper’s more than two million readers.
 
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"The existing editorial arrangements for Business Line, Frontline, Sportstar, and The Hindu (Tamil) will continue unchanged and the process of professionalisation, now involving a mix of shareholder-Directors and other professionals, will continue.
 
"The 135-year-old institution reaffirms its commitment to its core editorial and business values, and excellence in journalism," the announcement, signed by Mr Ram, added.
 
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Infosys Vice-Chairman S Gopalakrishnan joins IIT Madras Board of Directors

S Gopalakrishnan
S Gopalakrishnan
 
Infosys co-founder and executive vice-chairman S Gopalakrishnan has joined the Board of Directors of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras.
 
"We are extremely proud to welcome Kris Gopalakrishnan to our board," IIT Madras director Bhaskar Ramamurthi said.
 
"Kris Gopalakrishnan represents a generation of engineer-scientists who have made India a global player in the software industry. His experience will be a valuable asset to IIT Madras," Prof Ramamurthi said.
 
"As an alumnus of IIT Madras, I consider it a great honor to be invited to join the Board of Directors of this esteemed institute. This is an opportunity for me to support the Institute's operations as a Member of the Board. It is important to raise the stature and standard of our education and research institutions and I look forward to contributing towards this," Mr Gopalakrishnan said.
 
Mr Gopalakrishnan joined IIT Madras in 1975, and graduated four years later with an M Sc in Physics and M Tech in Computer Science. 
 
In 1979, he started his career as a Software Engineer with the Patni Computer Systems and soon rose to be its Assistant Project Manager. He was responsible for developing the distributed process control system for the LD converter at the Rourkela Steel Plant.
 
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In 1981, along with his friends, he launched Infosys Technologies Ltd. Kris, as he is called by his friends, assumed the responsibility in vital areas of design, development, implementation and support of information systems for clients in the consumer products industry in the United States. He was also instrumental in forming a joint venture, called KSA / Infosys with the KSA group of Atlanta, heading its operations division as Executive Vice Chairman.
 
In 1994, Mr Gopalakrishnan returned to India as the Deputy Managing Director of his company to head its software services and technology divisions. 
 
He is currently the President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) National Council. He is also a member of the ACM, IEEE and IEEE Computer Society.
 
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19.76 lakh tonnes of rice procured by Govt agencies during 1013-14 Kharif marketing season

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A total of 19,76,806 tonnes of rice have been procured by Government agencies during Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2013-14 till October 15, an official statement said here today.
 
The statement by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution said the highest procurement was made in Haryana at 10,83,426 tonnes, followed by Punjab with 8,74,761 tonnes and Tamil Nadu with 14,934 tonnes.
 
Chandigarh also made significant procurement by procuring 3,685 tonnes, it added, quoting data received from different states.
 
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Yuvraj makes comeback into Indian squad for first three ODIs against Australia

File photo of Yuvraj Singh
File photo of Yuvraj Singh
 
Flamboyant all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has made a comeback into the Indian team for the one-off T20 international and the first three one-day internationals (ODIs) against Australia.
 
The team was picked by the All-India Senior Selection Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), headed by Sandeep Patil, here today.
 
The squad, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, also includes Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma.
 
The others in the side include Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Amit Mishra, Ambati Rayudu, Mohammed Shami, and Jaydev Unadkat.
 
Those who have failed to make it back to the side include Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan. 
 
Yuvraj had scored 123, 40 and 61 against West Indies A and 84 against India Red recently.
 
India are due to play one T20 international and seven ODIs against Australia. The squad for the remaining matches will be announced later.
 
The following is the team:
 
Mahendra Singh Dhoni  (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar,  Amit Mishra, Ambati Rayudu, Mohammed Shami and Jaydev Unadkat.
 
The T20 international will be played at Rajkot on October 10, while the first three ODIs will be played at Pune on October 13, Jaipur on October 16 and Mohali on October 19.
 
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Six judges appointed in Madaras High Court

The President has appointed six additional judges of the Madras High Court as judges of that High Court with effect from the date they assume charge of their office.
 
The judges are: Mr Justice T. Mathivanan, Mr Justice Ardhanariswamy Arumughaswamy, Miss Justice K. B. K. Vasuki, Mr Justice Kandasami Ravichandra Baabu, Mr Justice P. Devadass, and Mr Justice R. Karuppiah, an official press release added.
 
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Mukherjee to visit Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry from Sep 23-26

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President Pranab Mukherjee will visit Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry from September 23 t0 26, an official press release said here today.
 
In Karnataka, he will inaugurate the JSS Hospital of JSS Mahavidyapeetha on September 23 in Mysore. He will also inaugurate the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Sainik School Bijapur on September 24.
 
In Tamil Nadu, the President will grace the Centenary Celebrations of Indian Cinema organized by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce in Chennai on September 24.
 
In Puducherry, the President will attend the 23rd Convocation of Pondicherry University on September 25. On the same day he will visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram and address the students of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, the release added.
 
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Justice Satish Kumar Agnihotri transferred to Madras High Court

 
The President has, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, transferred Mr Justice Satish Kumar Agnihotri, Judge of the High Court of Chhattisgarh, to the Madras High Court.
 
An official press release said Mr Justice Agnihotri had been directed to assume charge of his office in the Madras High Court on or before October 3.
 
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350 cadets pass out of Officers' Training Academy, Chennai

Senior Under Officer Kuldeep Singh Baduriya receiving the ‘Sword of Honour’ from Lt Gen Ashok Singh,  Army Commander, Southern Command, for standing first in over all order of merit at the passing out parade of the Officers' Training Academy, Chennai on September 14, 2013.
Senior Under Officer Kuldeep Singh Baduriya receiving the ‘Sword of Honour’ from Lt Gen Ashok Singh, Army Commander, Southern Command, for standing first in over all order of merit at the passing out parade of the Officers' Training Academy, Chennai on September 14, 2013.
 
As many as 350 cadets, including 70 lady cadets and 20 foreign cadets from Afghanistan, passed out of the Officers Training Academy (OTA) of the Indian Army in a glorious military parade here today.
 
The cadets had attended and passed the 49-week Short Service Commission (SSC) 96 and SSW (Women) 10 courses.
 
The parade was reviewed by Lt Gen Ashok Singh,  Army Commander, Southern Command along with Lt Gen S S Jog, Commandant, OTA, Chennai.  
 
The parade was witnessed by the proud parents of the passing out course, civilian dignitaries, cadets of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and selected school students of Chennai alongwith the officers and families of OTA and Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala (ATNK&K) area.
 
Lt Gen Singh reminded the cadets the responsibilities they are going to shoulder while commanding the troops.  He urged the cadets to dedicate themselves with utmost sincerity and devotion to uphold the honour and safety of the country.
 
The coveted Chief of Army Staff Banner was awarded to Basantar Company. 
 
Senior Under Officer Kuldeep Singh Baduriya received the ‘Sword of Honour’ for standing first in over all order of merit.  
 
The Gold Medal and Silver Medal for standing second and third  were awarded to Academy Cadet Adjutant Yengal Dasu Rajesh  and Junior Under Officer Nitin Singh Bisht  respectively.  
 
The cadets were pipped by their parents in front of the Parameshwaran Parade Ground.  The event was followed by an oath taking ceremony and National Anthem. 
 
Apart from the President’s Commission to join the world’s third largest army, each of the newly commissioned Lieutenants would be awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Defence Management and Strategic Studies  by the University of Madras. 
 
“We are really excited to join our units and want to experience the real life a soldier is undergoing… most of us will be going to borders where our units are deployed.” said a visibly elated JUO Kanishk Sethi who is a fourth generation officer and is commissioned into Mechanised Infantry.
 
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Jayalalithaa urges PM not to supply any military hardware to Sri Lanka

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 Manmohan Singh saying that she is shocked by media reports quoting Union Minister V Narayanasamy as saying that India is in the process of supplying two naval warships to Sri Lanka.
 
In the letter, dated September 11, Ms Jayalalithaa noted that Mr Narayanasamy appeared to have indicated that he would communicate to the Prime Minister the strength of the emotions and feelings amongst the people and political parties in Tamil Nadu against any such move.
 
"What amazes me is that the Government of India could even contemplate such a move. Even if there is a commitment under an old agreement for such supply of naval warships, in the present circumstances, the Government of India ought to have cancelled such an agreement," she said.

New ESIC Hospital inaugurated at Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu

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A new hospital and a sub-regional office of the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) were inaugurated in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu by Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Kodikunnil Suresh yesterday.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Suresh said the Centre would provide all possible support to Tamil Nadu for implementing the ESI scheme in the state successfully.
 
The new 50-bed hospital, built at a cost of Rs 55 crore, will be expanded to a 100-bed facility in due course, he said.
 
The hospital will serve 1.44 lakh insured persons and 5.5 lakh beneficiaries in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu such as Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari.
 
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Five from Kerala killed in road accident near Dindigul in Tamil Nadu

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Five members of a family from Kerala, including a child, were killed when their car crashed into a stationary bus at Singarakottai, about 25 km from Dindigul, in Tamil Nadu late last night, reports reaching here said.
 
The family was on its way to Kuruvilangadu in Kottayam district of Kerala to celebrate Onam when their car rammed into the bus, which had stopped on the road to enable a passenger to get off, the reports said.
 
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy expressed his grief over the accident and said all possible assistance would be provided to the relatives of the victims to bring the bodies to Kerala at the earliest.
 
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PM calls for expansion of manufacturing to generate productive employment

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday that the country needed to expand manufacturing substantially, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of its gross domestic product to generate productive employment for its large and growing labour force.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaking at the dedication ceremony of BHEL’s Power Plant Piping Unit & Unit-II High Pressure Boiler Plant, in Thirumayam, Tamil Nadu on July 2, 2013.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaking at the dedication ceremony of BHEL’s Power Plant Piping Unit & Unit-II High Pressure Boiler Plant, in Thirumayam, Tamil Nadu on July 2, 2013.
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the country needed to expand manufacturing substantially, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of its gross domestic product (GDP) to generate productive employment for its large and growing labour force.
 
Speaking after dedicating to the nation the public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited's (BHEL) Power Plant Piping Unit at Thirumayam and the second unit of its High Pressure Boiler Plant at Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, Dr Singh also called for a large scale capacity addition programme to address the current power deficit and to meet the needs of the country's expanding economy.
 
"The Government is targeting a capacity addition of more than 100,000 MW, including renewables, in the 12th Five Year Plan.
 
"In the 11th Five Year Plan, the country added around 55,000 MW of generation capacity which is more than twice the addition achieved in the 10th Five Year Plan. 
 
"Out of this Bharat Heavy Electricals alone accounted for almost half. This shows the critical role that the company plays in one of the key sectors of our economy," he said.
 
Dr Singh said the projects exemplified the Government's commitment for the development of the backward regions of the country.
 
"There are numerous benefits that such new manufacturing units bring to an area. They bring new employment opportunities for the youth. In addition to direct jobs, they also generate indirect employment through small businesses and service providers. There is a boost to skill development as such manufacturing units induct apprentices for training. There is also an increase in trade and commerce in the area, contributing to an overall rise in prosperity. I am sure that some of these benefits are already accruing to the people of Thirumayam and its surrounding areas," he said.
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Dr Singh said climate change had become an urgent concern across the globe. 
 
"India is among the countries that would be the most seriously impacted by the consequences of climate change. We need to develop ways and means to reduce our carbon footprint through technological innovation. In our country, more than 50% of power comes from coal-based generation, which is a major emitter of greenhouse gases," he said.
 
In this context, he expressed happiness that BHEL had taken initiatives for the development of ultra super critical technology in line with the Government's mission for deployment of clean coal technologies. 
 
He said the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission seeks to develop 20,000 MW of solar power generating capacity by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan. 
 
"Its success has the potential of enhancing India’s energy security, and contributing handsomely to our efforts to combat climate change," he said.
 
He hoped that BHEL would not only take the lead in solar energy in terms of power generation but also in the development of solar power technology in India. 
 
"This is a difficult commercial decision, but well worth taking in the long term interest of our country," he added.
 
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Jayalalithaa urges PM to drop move to reintroduce NEET

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 Manmohan Singh, urging him to immediately drop the reported move by the Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry to file a review petition before the Supreme Court against its recent verdict quashing the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduate and post-graduate medical and dental courses.
 
"The Government of India should accept the decision of the honourable Supreme Court without seeking a review," she said in her letter.
 
The Supreme Court had, in its verdict of July 18, held that the notification of the Medical Council of India and Dental Council of India introducing a NEET for these courses as ultra vires of the Constitution and quashed it.

First unit of Kudankulam nuclear power project attains criticality

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The first of the twin VVER nuclear power reactor units of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP Unit-1) in Tamil Nadu, being implemented in technical collaboration with Russia, attained its first criticality (start of controlled self-sustaining fission chain reaction for the first time) at 2305 hours last night.
 
A statement from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) said the approach to the first criticality started at 2349 hours on July 11 after completing all the stipulated statutory and regulatory requirements and obtaining the final clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).
 
The entire process was supervised by experts from AERB, NPCIL and Russian specialists.
 
Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) Secretary R K Sinha and NPCIL Chairman and Managing Director K C Purohit were amongst those present on the occasion at Kudankulam, located in Tirunelveli district, about 650 km from Chennai.
 
VVERs (Vodo-Vodyanoi Energetichesky Reactors or Water-Water Power Reactors) are a series of pressurised water reactor designs originally developed in the Soviet Union, and now Russia, by OKB Gidropress.
 
Boron, a neutron absorber, is used in the form of boric acid solution in the primary coolant to keep the nuclear reactor in a sub-critical state before attaining criticality.
 
The process of approach to criticality involves gradual dilution of boron, which allows neutrons in the nuclear fuel matrix to multiply till a controlled self-sustaining nuclear fission is attained in the reactor.
 
The next step following the criticality will be to increase the reactor power in stages to generate 1000 MW electricity as per the laid-down procedures and regulatory clearances.
 
Initially, the plant will be synchronized to the southern grid with abot 400 MW power within an expected period of 30 to 45 days from criticality.
 
Subsequently, power will be increased in a stepwise manner to 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% Full Power after obtaining necessary regulatory clearances.
 
"The combination of multi-layered safetyfeatures in KKNPP provides enhanced safety, making these reactors one of the safest in the world," the statement said.
 
KKNPP-1 is the first pressurised water reactor (PWR) belonging to light water reactor (LWR) category and harbinger of the large-size LWR technology in India. At 1000 MW, KKNPP-1 also has the distinction of being the largest "single" power generation unit in the country.
 
KKNPP-1 is the 21st nuclear power reactor in the country. India currently stands sixth in the world based on the number of nuclear power reactor units in operation, the statement added.
 
The Rs 1700 crore project had generated massive protests from several local groups and others on the question of safety and related issues.
 
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On May 6 this year, the Supreme Court had disposed of a public suit seeking to halt the operationalisation of the first unit of the KKNPP but directed the Government to submit to it a report on compliance with all safety measures before the plant is commissioned.
 
A bench comprising Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra issued detailed directions to the Government on safety and monitoring of the plant's operations.
 
Justice Radhakrishnan said much hue and cry had been raised by some sections of the people about the possible impact of radiation from KKNPP units 1 and 2, which had been addressed by the AERB, NPCIL, the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) and all the Expert Committees set up to go into the impact and effect of radiation from the units not only on humans but also on ecology.
 
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Financial assistance to former athlete Shanthi Sondarajan

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Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports Jitendra Singh has approved financial assistance of Rs. 60,500 from the National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons to former athlete Shanthi Sondarajan.
 
The athlete had won a silver medal in Asian Games 2006 at Doha, which was later withdrawn, as she was not found eligible to compete in female category because of female hyperandrogenism. 
 
An official press release said that, recently, reports had appeared in a section of the media saying that she is living in indigent circumstances and was working as a daily wager at a brick kiln in Tamil Nadu.
 
Shanthi had applied for pursuing a regular National Institute of Sports (NIS) Diploma in coaching at the Bangalore Centre of the Sports Authority of India (SAI). 
 
The release said that assistance had been sanctioned, taking into account her poor financial condition, to enable her to meet expenditure towards fee, lodging & boarding, sports kit and so on for undergoing NIS Diploma Course at SAI Centre, Bangalore.
 
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Ashok Leyland bags order for 2610 buses for Tamil Nadu

 
Commercial vehicles manufacturer Ashok Leyland, the flagship of the Hinduja Group, today said it had bagged an order for 2,610 buses from the Institute of Road Transport, Tamil Nadu, the nodal organization that procures buses for all transport corporations in the state.  
 
“Ashok Leyland is proud to receive this order and is thankful to Government of Tamil Nadu for this timely order,” said Mr Vinod K Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland.
 
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Antony dedicates new Air Force Station at Thanjavur to nation

Defence Minister A. K. Antony unveiling the plaque to dedicate the Air Force Station Thanjavur to the nation on May 27, 2013. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne and the AOC-in-C Southern Air Command, Air Marshal RK Jolly are also seen.
Defence Minister A. K. Antony unveiling the plaque to dedicate the Air Force Station Thanjavur to the nation on May 27, 2013. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne and the AOC-in-C Southern Air Command, Air Marshal RK Jolly are also seen.
Defence Minister A K Antony today dedicated to the nation the new Air Force Station at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu and said the facility would help India protect its island territories and sea lines of communication in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
 
"Even though we are a peace-loving nation, we have to protect our national interests from threats such as piracy and terrorism," he told reporters on the sidelines of the function.
 
Mr Antony said the IOR was increasingly becoming more and more active and, in the emerging security scenario, the presence of fighter planes in Thanjavur would not only guard the country's interests but also give a feeling of safety to its neighbours.
 
He said the operationalisation of the Air Force Station would strengthen the air defence capabilities of the Indian Air Force, in general, and the Southern Command, in particular.
 
He said various sensitive, strategic, industrial, aerospace and economic assets were coming up in the Southern Peninsula and the station would play a vital role in providing protection to those assets.
 
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N A K Brown and the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Air Command, Air Marshal R K Jolly , were among those present on the occasion.
 
The airbase at Thanjavur was first constructed in 1940 by the Royal Air Force (RAF). During the period 1942-45, 36 Sqn, 353 Sqn and 60 Sqn of RAF operated from this airfield with Hudson, Wellington 1C, Hurricane and Thunderbolt aircraft.  These aircraft were used in various roles which included fighter operations, air transport, anti- shipping and anti-submarine patrol.  After independence, the airfield was handed over to the Airports Authority of India and Vayudoot operations were undertaken from the base.
 
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Accordin to an official press release, by the mid-1980s, a need was felt to build up the country’s  air power capabilities in the Southern peninsula to provide air defence protection to high value national assets as well as island territories. 
 
In addition, there was a growing need felt to protect the country's maritime trade and the large exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the coming years.  The government, therefore, decided to create Southern Air Command at Trivandrum in 1984 and also gave approval for the formation of 47 Wing at Thanjavur.  The IAF took over the airfield in March 1990.
 
"With the modernization and induction of new technology into the IAF, it was but natural to upgrade the infrastructure at Thanjavur to utilise the sophisticated weapon systems in times of need and the works towards it started in real earnest.  This included construction of runway, parallel taxi track and other operational, maintenance and administrative infrastructure to support air operations," the release said.
 
The air base is now ready to undertake fighter, transport and helicopter operations and detachments of these aircraft will be planned every year. The  Air Force Station is also slated to house an array of IAF platforms in the future including Su-30 ‘Air Dominance’ Fighter Aircraft, Medium Transport Aircraft, Remotely Piloted Aircraft and a Medium Power Radar on build-up of further infrastructure. 
 
Speaking on the occasion,  Air Chief Marshal Browne said, in the years ahead, the strategic importance of the Thanjavur Air Base will grow in stature. He thanked the Defence Minister for settling issues relating to the relocation of some villagers for the expansion of the station.
 
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Former Indian Bank CMD M Gopalakrishnan convicted in cheating case

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The Special Judge for CBI Cases, Chennai(Tamil Nadu) has convicted former Indian Bank Chairman and Managing Director M Gopalakrishnan and the bank's former Zonal Manager A V Shanmugasundaram in a case of cheating and sentenced them to one year of rigorous imprisonment.
 
A press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said the court also convicted S Dhanasingh, then Managing Director of Akilam Constructions Pvt Ltd, Chennai, in the case and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for two years.
 
The court also imposed a total fine of Rs. 4.50 lakh on them, the release said.

Cabinet okays leasing of land for LNG terminal at Ennore Port

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for leasing of land measuring 520,000 square metres of Ennore Port Limited (EPL) to the joint venture led by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for 30 years for setting up of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and re-gasification terminal project of 5 MMTPA capacity.

Ennore Port is located near the North Chennai Industrial Hub which houses industrial units such as Madras Fertilizers Limited (MFL) and Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) who would also be the users of LNG. 
 
An official press release said the project would help EPL to utilize gainfully the land and waterfront available with them. Further, it will attract major petroleum and other companies to contribute towards the development of the region. It will lead to the socio-economic development of the backward areas in and around Ennore Port, it said.
 
"LNG is an environment friendly clean fuel and its use as a substitute for other petroleum products will bring down the pollution levels. It is also cost effective and availability of LNG in the area will lead to sustainable industrial development," the release added.
 
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