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Tamil Nadu

Former TN Minister, two retired IAS officers sentenced to two years in prison

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The Special Judge for CBI Cases, Chennai, today convicted former Tamil Nadu Minister for Rural Development & Local Administration T M Selvaganapathy and two retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers and sentenced them to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years with a fine of Rs 25,000 each in a case of cheating.
 
The two retired IAS officers are Mr J.T.Acharulu, then Secretary, and Mr  M. Sathyamurthy, then Director, both of Rural Department, Tamil Nadu Government.
 
Two others, Mr Krishnamurthy, then Project Officer and Mr T.Bharathi, a private individual, were also convicted and sentenced to two years of imprisonment along with fine of Rs 25,000 in the case.
 
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a case in the matter on May 2, 1997 on the directions of the High Court of Madras against the accused, who allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy in 1995-96 and cheated the Central Government and the State Government in the mater of construction of cremation sheds under the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY).    
 
The construction of cremation sheds was not an identified item of work under the JRY scheme, but the accused used its funds for the work
 
It was further alleged that such work should not have been entrusted to co-operative societies and advance payment to the societies was prohibited by the Tamil Nadu Government. But the work was given for erection/construction of cremation sheds to Karungulam Co-operative Society in Nagapattinam district. Further, the payments were made to the society through demand drafts. 
 
According to the CBI, the Special Officer of the Society facilitated Mr Bharathi, who executed the work of erection/construction of cremation sheds though he was not the member of the society. He executed the said work in a substandard manner through sub-contractors and not in conformity with the specifications, to encash the demand drafts. A loss was caused to the tune of approximtely Rs. 23 lakhs to the Government, a press release from the agency said.
 
During trial, the Special Officer of the society expired and charges against him were abated. On completion of trial, all other accused persons were found guilty, the release added.
 
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GMR Highways commissions GMR Chennai Outer Ring Road Phase I

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GMR Highways, a part of infrastructure major GMR Group, today said it had completed and commissioned the Chennai Outer Ring Road Phase I Project. 
 
"Government of Tamil Nadu and all concerned agencies issued a provisional certificate for completion with effect from 15th June 2013 for Group’s Chennai Outer Ring Road project," a press release from the company said today.
 
According to it, this milestone will add to the cash-flow of GMR by Rs. 118 crore every year for the next 17 and half years. 
 
"It adds almost Rs.95 crore to the revenues of Road Project in the year just ended on 31st March 2014," it said.
 
Completed on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer basis, the Chennai Outer Ring Road project connects Vandalur on National Highway (NH)-45 to Nemillicheri on NH-205 via Nazaratpet  on NH-4. 
 
GMR won the 29.65 km project through international competitive bidding. The concession period of the project is 20 years including 30 months of construction. 
 
According to the release, commissioning of the project will significantly ease traffic congestion  along the western periphery of Chennai city 
 
The road connects the northern and southern suburbs of Chennai and will be a catalyst for expansion of the city and help growth of the industrial hubs in this region through better connectivity, it added.
 
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Karunanidhi expels Azhagiri from DMK for working against party

Karunanidhi expels Azhagiri from DMK permanently
The Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) today "permanently" expelled former Union Minister M K Azhagiri, the elder son of its president M Karunanidhi, for indulging in anti-party activities.
 
The move comes two months after the party had, on January 24, placed Mr Azhagiri, 62, under temporary suspension and stripped him of all posts in the party for alleged violation of party discipline.
 
The party had said at that time that it felt his continuation in the organization would be inappropriate and further disrupt its internal discipline.
 
Today, the party said that Mr Azhagiri had continued to defy the party's directions and offered his support to its electoral rivals against its official line.
 
Mr Azhagiri has been involved in a long-standing power struggle with his younger brother M K Stalin, former Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister, for control of the party. Mr Karunanidhi has indicated on more than one occasion that Mr Stalin is his chosen successor.
 
There has been speculation that Mr Azhagiri might extend his support to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. In recent days, MDMK general secretary Vaiko had met him and sought his support in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
 
The DMK said Mr Azhagiri had failed to respond to the notice sent to him seeking his explanation for alleged acts of indiscipline.
 
Mr Karunanidhi, 89, told newspersons, while seated in a car with Mr Stalin by his side, that he had discussed the matter with DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan and decided to expel Mr Azhagiri from the party. He said Mr Azhagiri had continued to criticise DMK leaders even after his suspension.
 
Mr Azhagiri has been saying that he would decide on his future course of action afer consulting his supporters.
 
Last week, the DMK had urged its workers to not have anything to do with Mr Azhagiri after he started holding meetings of his supporters.
 
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Since his suspension, Mr Azhagiri met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP president Rajnath Singh, adding to the speculation about his possible next moves.
 
Mr Azhagiri, former Union Minsitr for Chemicals & Fertilisers, ws the South Zone Organising Secretary of the DMK and had played a major role in building the party in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. In the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009, the DMK had won eight of the nine seats in the region, and Mr Azhagiri himself won by a huge margin in Madurai.
 
But this time he and those considered loyal to him have been denied nominations for the coming Lok Sabha elections by the party.
 
Things came to a head after Mr Karunanidhi suspended five workers of the DMK's Madurai unit for putting up posters supporting Mr Azhagiri, though the latter had said that he was not involved in the incident.
 
The Madurai unit of the party had also been disbanded and Mr Karunanidhi had issued a stern warning to all leaders of the party to not step out of line. He also warned of disciplinary action, including expulsion, to those who flouted party dicipline.
 
Mr Azhagiri has also told the media on more than one occasion that he would not accept anyone other than Mr Karunanidhi as his leader. 
 
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Congress fields Chidambaram's son Karti from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu

Karti P Chidambaram
Karti P Chidambaram
The Congress today named Mr Karti P Chidambaram, the son of Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, as its candidate in the coming Lok Sabha elections from his father's constituency of Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu.
 
Mr Chidambaram, a seven-time MP from the constituency, is learnt to have told the party leadership that he would like to opt out of the coming elections.
 
He has been talking in recent times about the need for the older generation to pass the baton on to youngsters. He has also been exhorting the party to field as many youth as possible in the elections.
 
Whether he contests the elections or not, the Harvard-educated lawyer is expected to be one of the main campaigners for his party in Tamil Nadu. He, in fact, told people at meetings in his constituency that he would remain the candidate whether he contested or his son did.
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Rajya Sabha member and former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar has been nominated from his old constituency of Mayiladuthurai in the state.
 
"I'm honoured Congress has bestowed this on me. It's a huge challenge. I would work very hard. Congress in Sivaganga is organised and is ready," Karti Chidambaram told a television channel after the party announced its fourth list of 50 candidates for the coming elections.
 
Other prominent candidates in the list include Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has been fielded from Udhampur in Jammu & Kashmir.
 
The 50 candidates announced today include 30 in Tamil Nadu, four in Gujarat, three each in Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh and two each in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.
 
In Delhi, the party named Mahabal Mishra from West Delhi and Ramesh Kumar from South Delhi.
 
In Gujarat, the Congress has nominated Mr Kirit Patel from Gandhinagar, the constituency held since 1991 by veteran BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani.
 
In Jammu, the party's candidate will be Madan Lal Sharma, while it will be Laxman Singh from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, from where BJP leader Sushma Swaraj is contesting.

The list can be seen here.
 
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Acclaimed film director Balu Mahendra passes away in Chennai

Veteran filmmaker Balu Mahendra passes away
 
Well-known film director and cinematographer Balu Mahendra, who made several successful films in Tamil, Malayalam and other languages, including "Sadma" in Hindi, passed away at a private hospital here today after suffering a heart attack, sources said.
 
They said that Mahendra, 74, was rushed to the Vijaya Hospital early this morning and breathed his last there around 11.45 am.
 
He is survived by his wife and a son.
 
Balanathan Benjamin Mahendran was born on May 20, 1939  at Batticalao to a Sri Lankan Tamil family and spent his early years there. After getting a chance to watch David Lean's making of The Bridge on the River Kwai during a school trip in Sri Lanka, he developed an interest in films. Thanks to a camera presented to him by his father, he also acquired a keen interest in photography.
 
After taking a degree in science from London University, he enrolled himself in the cinematrography course at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune.
 
He passed out of the prestigious institute with a gold medal and began his career in films in 1971 with Ramu Kariat's "Nellu" in Malayalam, which won him the Best Cinematographer award from the Kerala government. He went on to win many more awards for cinematography and was noticed, in particular, for his use of natural light in his films as far as possible. In all, he wielded the camera for 26 films, many of them in Malayalam.
 
He made his debut as a director with "Kokila" in Kannada and went on to make 21 more films in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi and win several awards.
 
He won the National Award for Best Cinematography (Black and White) for Kokila. He also won the Karnataka government award for Best Screenplay for the same film.
 
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In all, he won five National Awards, including two for Best Cinematography, two for Best Feature Film in Tamil (Veedu and Vanna Vanna Pookkal) and one for Best Film on Family Welfare (Sandhya Raagam in Tamil).
 
Moondram Pirai, for which he won the National Award for Cinematography, also won him the Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Director in 1982. He remade the film in Hindi the next year as Sadma with Kamla Hasan and Sridevi reprising their roles in the Tamil original. 
 
In 1982, he won the Filmfare Award for Best Malayalam Director for Olangal. Other Malayalam films he made were Oomakuyil (1983) and Yathra (1985). 
 
In 1996, he remade Kokila in Hindi as Aur Ek Prem Kahani.
 
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Modi calls for skill development, better education to reap demographic dividend

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi addressing the 9th convocation of the SRM University in Chennai on February 9, 2014.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi addressing the 9th convocation of the SRM University in Chennai on February 9, 2014.
Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today stressed the need to give a boost to skill development activities while ensuring that the pace of every development effort was quick and effective.
 
Speaking at the 9th convocation of SRM University here this morning, he said the scale of operations of each initiative mattered in its reach and impact.
 
Mr Modi urged the students to remember their motherland throughout their journey in lives and to do whatever they could do to make India innovative and competitive.
 
He exhorted them to aspire to rise to great heights in life and gave the example of Hyderabad-born Satya Nadella, who was recently appointed the CEO of Microsoft.
 
“Satya Nadella’s success is good news. I am sure you aspire to reach where he has. My advice – create a Microsoft and Apple here in India," he said.
 
Mr Modi told they should never forget the fact that they were amongst the privileged few who could study in institutions such as SRM and urged them to not forget their less fortunate brethren.
 
He said education was the best and most effective way of countering poverty and had an important role in the task of nation-building. Noting that India is home to the brightest minds, he called for the establishment of more such educational institutions.
 
He also highlighted the need to focus on improvement of sectors such as agriculture, forestry, mining, rivers and so on so that the coming generations could live well.
 
“The young generation of today is globally connected. They want to live in an equitable and efficient India. We have to be ready for this, and work for this,” he said.
 
He said that India's youth, if given a chance, could achieve in just 60 months what the country could not in the past 60 years.
 
Mr Modi, who arrived here yesterday on the first leg of a trip to the South, also addressed a rally last night at which he attacked the Congress for its alleged divisive politics and for its indifference to the needs of the common man.
 
“The troubles we have seen in the last 10 years have not been seen ever before after Independence,” he said.
 
He accused the Congress of destroying most institutions, including the position of the Governor. "Raj Bhavans have become Congress Bhavans. Elected governments pass laws but governors do not sign them. This is the institutional decline they are doing," he said.
 
He alleged the Centre was misusing departments such as the Income Tax department. He said that when investors came to Gujarat, they were issued notices and raids were conducted against them by Income tax officials.
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"There are so many commissions, which must be for people’s interests, but even they have been misused for political gains. CBI has been misused. To win trust votes CBI is misused. They are used to make and break governments,” he said.
 
“In doing corruption they respect the federal structure a lot. Their allies are also allowed to loot, and you have the beneficiaries in Tamil Nadu, too," he said.
 
The Gujarat Chief Minister said the people of his state had kept the Congress out of power for a quarter of a century and now the people of India would also follow suit.
 
He said the Congress-led UPA government's work culture had disrupted the functioning of the economy and brought India to the verge of disintegration.
 
"To save the nation, we need to bid them goodbye. Work culture must be of cooperation not confrontation. Centre vs State, State vs State, these things are going on due to the UPA. UPA is not bothered to solve them," he said.
 
He said there was a need to adhere to the federal structure, the way BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee had done while he was Prime Minister.
 
Reacting to criticism mounted against him by Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, he said, "“There is also a recounting Minister in Delhi. He is from Tamil Nadu only. He abuses me but I prefer to keep silent because I know that 'keechad jitna faikoge, kamal utna hi khilega.”
 
Mr Chidambaram had, among other things, said recently that Mr Modi's knowledge of economics could be put on the back of a postage stamp.
 
Mr Modi said the results of having an economist as Prime Minister and a knowledgeable Finance Minister were there for all to see. “You came from Harvard, we came by hard work," Mr Modi quipped. “This land of Chennai asks you, the Recounting Minister, why are the finances of the nation suffering."
 
He said the UPA government had failed to create new jobs and people were also losing their jobs. In contrast, he said, Gujarat had the lowest unemployment rate in the country.
 
“Dear Finance Minister, knowledge of economics does not come from books alone. Good governance is required," he said.
 
Mr Modi said India needed a strong government at the Centre because of the problems it is facing in the neighbourhood.
 
He said the Centre was indifferent to the problems faced by Tamil Nadu fishermen at the hands of the Sri Lankan Navy personnel.
 
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Jayalalithaa joins hands with CPI for 2014 Lok Sabha elections

Video: Jayalalithaa joins hands with CPI to fight 2014 polls
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today announced that her All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) had joined hands with the Communist Party of India (CPI) for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
"The AIADMK and the CPI have decided to enter into an alliance for the forthcoming Lok sabha elections," she said after a meeting with veteran CPI leader A B Bardhan at her residence here.
 
"We have decided to work together. Other details will be shared later," she said.
 
"I endorse everything that she has said. Our alliance will lead to victory," Mr Bardhan said.
 
Sources said CPI (Marxist) General Secretary Prakash Karat is expected to meet Ms Jayalalithaa on Monday. The Left parties had fought the last assembly elections in Tamil Nadu alongside the AIADMK. 
 
The AIADMK had helped Left candidates to be elected to the Rajya Sabha last year and this year.
 
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Jayalalithaa writes to PM about arrest of TN fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy

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 requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convey an unequivocal and strong disapproval of the belligerent actions of the Sri Lankan Navy and also urge the Sri Lankan Government  to direct its navy not to resort to further illegal arrest and detention of innocent fishermen from her state.
 
In a letter to Dr Singh, she said the environment of goodwill between the two countries had been totally vitiated by an incident on January 29 in which 38 Tamil Nadu fishermen were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy in a midnight raid while fishing in their traditional waters in the Palk Bay.
 
She recalled that she had, in a spirit of accommodation, facilitated the holding of direct talks between the fishermen communities of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka on January 27 in Chennai.
 
"Based on the overall environment of goodwill created by the holding of the talks, 295 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu and their 45 boats were released by Sri Lanka in the last two weeks," she said.
 
She said six mechanised fishing boats with 38 fishermen belonging to Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu had set out for fishing from Rameswaram fishing base on January 29.
 
"While they were engaged in fishing in their traditional fishing waters in Palk Bay, they were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy around midnight on 29.1.2014. 
 
"It appears to me that this incident of apprehension is an attempt by elements in the Sri Lankan Navy to deliberately spoil the conducive atmosphere created by the recent talks. Such arrests and apprehension also directly impact the livelihood of the Tamil Nadu fishermen living in the Palk Bay districts," she said.
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"In order to preserve the conducive atmosphere and to enable a pragmatic and workable solution to emerge for the day to day fishing activities of the fishermen to continue, I request you to decisively impress upon the Government of Sri Lanka to advise its Navy to abstain from such acts of illegal abduction of innocent Indian fishermen. I request you to convey an unequivocal and strong disapproval of the belligerent actions of the Sri Lankan Navy and also urge the Sri Lankan Government to direct its Navy not to resort to further illegal arrest and detention of our innocent fishermen. 
 
"May I urge your personal intervention and exhort you to use the diplomatic channels of the Government of India in a concrete and decisive manner to secure the release of the 38 fishermen arrested on 29.1.2014 including their 6 boats?” she added.
 
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Govt. to develop Sholinganallur-Kalpakkam stretch of South Buckingham Canal in TN

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The Union Government has decided to take up development of the 37 km Sholinganallur-Kalpakkam stretch of National Waterway (NW-4) in the South Buckingham Canal of Tamil Nadu.
 
Launching the project, Union Minister of Shipping G.K. Vasan said its main components include dredging and excavation to develop the navigational channel, construction of three terminals and navigational locks, replacement of one existing bridge at Kelambakkam, and installation of navigational aids. 
 
He said more than Rs.123 crore had been sanctioned by the Central Government for the purpose and the project is expected to be completed in two years. 
 
Mr Vasan said that other stretches of NW-4, which covers the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, would also be taken up for development subsequently. 
 
NW-4 covers a total length of 1078 km consisting of Kakinada-Puducherry canal systems integrated with Godavari and Krishna rivers. 
 
He said the project would ease the transportation problems in Chennai suburbs to a great extent besides promoting tourist movement to important tourist spots at Mahabalipuram and Puducherry. 
 
The development of South Buckingham Canal can also improve the drainage system during flood season in Chennai, he said.
 
The canal will be developed to make it suitable for safe navigation of cargo vessels up to 300 ton capacity for transportation of general cargo like food grain, fertilizers, building materials, and so on.
 
The canal shall also be suitable for movement of the passenger and tourist vessels of higher capacity from Chennai to Mahabalipuram and in future upto Puducherry. The terminals at Shollinganallur, Mutukkad and Mahabalipuram have been planned for construction and will be operated with necessary facilities for cargo, passenger and tourist vessels. 
 
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DMK suspends M K Azhagiri for alleged violation of party discipline

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Friday placed former Union Minister M K Azhagiri, the elder son of its president M Karunanidhi, under temporary suspension and stripped him of all posts in the party for alleged violation of party discipline.

MK Alagiri suspended from DMK by father
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) today placed former Union Minister M K Azhagiri, the elder son of its president M Karunanidhi, under temporary suspension and stripped him of all posts in the party for alleged violation of party discipline.
 
In a statement, DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan said the party had decided, in its interests, to temporarily suspend Mr Azhagiri, 62, from the membership of the party because it was felt that his continuation in the organisation would be inappropriate and would further disrupt its internal discipline.
 
Mr Azhagiri, former Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilisers, was the South Zone Organising Secretary of the DMK.
 
Mr Anbazhagan said Mr Azhagiri had caused confusion in the party by urging its members not to work for it and by criticising the disciplinary action taken by it against some members recently for anti-party activities.
 
Mr Anbazhagan said members of the party should accept the decision and work unitedly for strengthening the party.
 
Mr Azhagiri has been involved in a long-standing power struggle with his younger brother M K Stalin, former Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister, for control of the party.
 
Things came to a head after Mr Karunanidhi suspended five workers of the DMK's Madurai unit for putting up posters supporting Mr Azhagiri, though the latter had said that he was not involved in the incident.
 
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The Madurai unit of the party had also been disbanded and Mr Karunanidhi had issued a stern warning to all leaders of the party to not step out of line. He also warned of disciplinary action, including expulsion, to those who flouted party dicipline.
 
Mr Azhagiri has also told the media on more than one occasion that he would not accept anyone other than Mr Karunanidhi as his leader. 
 
Mr Karunanidhi, who has in the past indicated that Mr Stalin would succeed him as the DMK chief, has sealed that impression with today's decision.
 
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India-born wireless pioneer Arogyaswami Paulraj gets Marconi Society Prize

Prof Arogyaswami Paulraj
Prof Arogyaswami Paulraj
India-born scientist Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj, Emeritus Profssor at Stanford University, has been awarded the prestigious 2014 Marconi Society Prize for his invention and advancement of MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology.
 
The award, which carries a $ 100,000 (Rs 62 lakh) prize, is the top global accolade for pioneers of information technology.
 
MIMO technology is a key enabler of wireless broadband services that benefit billions of people worldwide and is at the heart of the current WiFi and 4G mobile systems.
 
“Paulraj’s contributions to wireless technology, and the resulting benefit to mankind, are indisputable. Every WiFi router and 4G phone today uses MIMO technology pioneered by him,” Prof Sir David Payne, Chairman of the Marconi Society, said.
 
"His idea for using multiple antennas at both the transmitting and receiving stations - which is at the heart of the current high speed WiFi and 4G mobile systems – has revolutionized high speed wireless delivery of multimedia services for billions of people," a press release from the society said.
 
“Paul (as he is commonly known) has made profound contributions to wireless technology, and the resulting benefit to mankind is indisputable. Every wifi router and 4G phone today uses MIMO technology pioneered by him,” Prof Payne said.
 
Coimbatore-born Prof Paulraj finished high school at 15 and joined the Indian Navy and opted for the electrical engineering branch, where his training focused on practical skills for maintaining weapons systems. He taught himself subjects like control theory, information theory and signal processing. 
 
Impressed by his talent, the Navy sent him in 1969 to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi for its M.Tech. programe. Prof P V Indiresan of the institute persuaded the Navy to allow him to enroll in the Ph.D. programme.
 
That opportunity changed Prof Paulraj's life. In 1970, Stanford Prof. Thomas Kailath, an influential systems theorist, visited IIT Delhi to lecture on non-linear estimation. 
 
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Inspired by Prof Kailath’s lectures, Prof Paulraj went on to make fundamental advances in non-linear estimation of signals using advanced tools from Ito calculus and stochastic diffusion theory. The Navy also got a big payoff, with Prof Paulraj leading a project to redesign the sonar adding many new signal processing concepts. Three years later, in the early 1970s, the new technology was widely deployed in the fleet.
 
After a brief fellowship at Loughborough University U.K., the Navy assigned him to lead a much more ambitious project to design an advanced technology sonar not available to India because of military export restrictions. His team developed a world-class sonar system (APSOH) that was inducted into fleet service in 1983, a stunning achievement in military electronics for India. APSOH to this day ranks among the best sonars in the world. 
 
Retired Admiral R. H. Tahiliani, former Chief of the Naval Staff, recalling APSOH says, “The Navy is enormously proud of Paul's many achievements and will remain always indebted for his landmark development of the APSOH sonar.”
 
Following APSOH work, Prof Paulraj was given a two-year sabbatical leave to explore new areas, and his scientific supervisor suggested he should try to work at Stanford University. He wrote to Prof. Kailath, who despite initial scepticism, finally agreed to allow him to join his research group. 
 
At Stanford, Prof Paulraj worked on a multiple signals Directions of Arrival (DOA) estimation problem that had a long history of improvements using a spectrum approach. He proposed a totally new method called ESPRIT (Estimation of Signal Parameters via Rotational Invariance Techniques).This led to a mini-revolution spawning more than 1000 papers and over 50 doctoral dissertations; its applications now go far beyond array signal processing to spectral estimation and to system identification.
 
Paul returned to India in 1986 and served as the founding director for three major labs in India - CAIR (Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics), CDAC (Center for Development of Advanced Computing) and CRL (Central Research Labs of Bharat Electronics). 
 
He returned to the US in 1991. At Stanford, while awaiting a faculty appointment, he worked on signal separation experiments for airborne reconnaissance. He noticed something surprising: in presence of scattering, co-channel wireless signals from closely spaced transmit sources were often separable by an adaptive receiver antenna array. A few days later, sitting in a barber shop, he had an idea for increasing throughput in wireless systems using multiple transmit and receive antennas (MIMO - Multiple Input, Multiple Output). 
 
Prof Paulraj applied for a U.S, patent titled “Distributed Transmit – Directional Receive DTDR” (with his then supervisor Prof. Kailath as co-inventor) in February 1992 and the patent was granted in September 1994. 
 
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Spatial Multiplexing, as this is now known, boosts spectral efficiency by creating “parallel spatial data streams” within the same frequency channel. 
 
However, his attempts to attract interest from the mobile technology companies and funding agencies were met with deep skepticism. His claim that a 1,000,000-QAM system could be built using MIMO when the state-of-art was then 4-QAM engendered disbelief. Now, 20 years later, the MIMO-based 802.11ac WiFi supports 16,000,000-QAM.
 
Undaunted by the skepticism about MIMO’s practical feasibility, he took leave from Stanford in 1998 to found Iospan Wireless Inc. (initially known as Gigabit Wireless) and built a MIMO based commercial system. Venture firms finally paid attention after he demonstrated a 3x3 MIMO radio he built with his personal funds. While CDMA access technology was still the mainstay of the wireless industry, Paul pushed for OFDMA as the best access technology for incorporating MIMO. Iospan developed a MIMO-OFDMA based fixed wireless system to offer 4096-QAM with 2 spatial streams. By 2001, Iospan had firmly established that MIMO offers good value in typical cellular applications. Intel Corp. acquired Iospan’s technology in 2003, and Paul worked with Intel to develop the WiMAX mobile standards.
 
In 2004, Paul co-founded Beceem Communications to develop semiconductor solutions and the company emerged as a world leader in WIMAX semiconductors with more than 65% market share. It was acquired by Broadcom Corp. In 2006 and the 3GPP standards group also adopted Iospan’s MIMO-OFDMA as the core technology for the 4G mobile standards.
 
Stanford colleague and Marconi Fellow Prof. John Cioffi, the inventor of DSL technology, calls Paul’s technical capability “almost unparalleled in the world. But what impresses me most is how Paul endured the tremendous, pressure, turmoil and stress of people saying his ideas weren’t going to work, and persevered until he found success. Such people are pretty rare.”
 
"The potential of MIMO to multiply the capacity of wireless spectrum is seemingly limitless. Use of milli-metric band frequencies can soon enable much larger numbers of MIMO antennas and the corresponding boost in wireless capacity, Prof Paulraj said.
 
The Marconi Prize comes just three years after Prof Paulraj was honoured with the other major telecom technology award – the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal for his work on theoretical foundations of MIMO.  
 
He is the only India-born scientist to receive both the Marconi Prize and the Bell Medal - the two top global IT technology awards.  After Sir J.C. Bose’s demonstration of the millimeter wave radio in 1895, Paulraj’s invention of MIMO in 1992 is the next major innovation in IT from an Indian born scientist.
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The Government of India had honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 2010
 
In winning the prestigious award, Prof Paulraj has joined a very select group of top information technology (IT) pioneers such as Tim Berners-Lee (World Wide Web), Vint Cerf (Internet), Larry Page (Google Search), Marty Hellman (Public Key Cryptography) and Martin Cooper (Cell Phone).
 
The Marconi Society was established in 1974 through an endowment set up by Gioia Marconi Braga, daughter of Guglielmo Marconi, the Nobel laureate who invented radio (wireless telegraphy). It is best known for the Marconi Prize.
 
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Ennore Port, Ford India in agreement to boost auto exports

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Ennore Port Limited (EPL), Chennai and Ford India Private Limited today signed an agreement for export of Ford cars though the Ennore port for a period of 10 years. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister for Shipping G.K. Vasan said that this was a part of a series of initiatives by the Government for attracting investments in the infrastructure sector, particularly in ports and automobile sectors. 
 
The agreement provides for various volume-based discounts on wharfage by EPL ranging from 5% to 30% to encourage more exports through EPL. 
 
Ford India Private Limited has set up a modern integrated manufacturing facility at Maraimalai Nagar, near Chennai, for export of their automobile products. 
 
In the last few years, Chennai has emerged as the hub of automobile manufacturing sector with all global auto majors having their manufacturing plants in the city. Besides, Chennai has also emerged as a major centre for export of automobiles. Ennore Port has played a key role in facilitating these exports. 
 
Between September 2010 and December 2013 about 4,49,720 automobile units have been exported from Ennore Port, including those of manufacturers like Nissan, Ford and Ashok Leyland from Chennai, Toyota from Bangalore and Honda from Delhi.
 
Ennore Port has developed a General Cargo-cum-Car Terminal at a cost of Rs.140 crore, which includes a car parking yard of 35 acres for parking of 10,000 cars at a time, the biggest amongst the major ports. 
 
Mr Vasan said Ennore Port has planned to set up an LNG storage and re-gasification terminal with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for import of LNG at an estimated investment of Rs. 4500 crore having capacity of 5 million metric tonnes per annum. IOC plans to commission the project by 2016-17. 
 
The port has also commenced pre-project activities for the construction of the third coal berth to handle additional 9 million tonnes of coal required by Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO).
 
In keeping with the global trend of containerised transportation of cargo, Ennore Port has also come up with a proposal to develop a container terminal at an estimated cost of Rs. 1,270 crore with a capacity of 1.4 million TEUs. This project is targeted for award during 2013-14 along with Multi Cargo Terminal. 
 
The Port is expected to handle 24 MMT during 2013-14 as against 17.89 MMT during 2012-13. During the 12th five year plan, Ennore port has plans to increase its capacity from the present 30 MTPA to 66.8 MTPA. 
 
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Centre approves ten water supply projects for Chennai

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The Central Government has approved a proposal for 10 new projects for providing comprehensive water supply to various areas of Chennai city.
 
An official press release said the projects were approved at the meeting of the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) of the Union Ministry of Urban Development here recently. 
 
They projects include water supply scheme for Pallikarani, Chinnasekkadu, Puzhal, Surapattu, Puthagaram, Kathirvedu, Vadaperumabakkam, Theeyambakkam, Edayanchavadi, Sadayankuppam, Kadapakkam, Palavakkam, Mugalivakkam, Manali, Kotivakkam, and Perungudi. 
 
These projects have been sanctioned at an approved cost of Rs. 271.14 crore. The Central Government will contribute 35 per cent towards the total cost, it said.
 
The release said the highest amount of Rs 69.60 crore had been sanctioned to Puzhal, Surapattu, Puthagaram, and Kathirvedu. 
 
According to it, borewells is the primary source of water in many of these areas. At other places, majority of the existing distribution systems in these areas are very old and not sufficient to carry the required water to the population. Water connections are also not metered. Also, there is prevalence of high water loss in the distribution network. 
 
The projects aim to improve the quality and quantity of service, water metering, reduction in leakages and energy consumption and enhancement in customer satisfaction and revenues to water supply organizations. 
 
The projects will also ensure that the distribution pipeline network reaches out to the maximum population. Also, since the population for these areas is increasing there is a demand for an increased supply of water, which is aimed to be provided through these new projects, the release added.
 
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BHEL wins Rs 1023 crore turbine generator package for Neyveli project

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had won a prestigious order worth Rs 1023 crore for the supply of turbine generator package (TG) pacage for the 2x500 MW thermal power station at Neyveli in Tamil Nadu.
 
The order was secured in the face of stiff international competition from the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) for their upcoming 1000 MW Neyveli New Thermal Power Project (NNTPP), a press release from the company said.
 
The release said BHEL’s scope of work includes manufacture, supply, erection, testing and commissioning of steam turbine generators & auxiliaries along with associated civil works.
 
BHEL had earlier bagged the order for supply and installation of the steam generator (SG) package for the same project. The steam generators will be the highest rating pulverised lignite lignite-fired steam generators in the country.
 
The company had earlier secured orders from NLC for their 2x500 MW Tuticorin, 2x250 MW Neyveli and 2x125 MW Barsingsar projects.
 
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Cabinet nod for entrusting upkeep of Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperumbudur to CPWD

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval to entrust to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) the arrangements for upkeep and maintenance and management of the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
 
This includes organizing functions on the birth and death anniversaries of the former Prime Minister at the memorial and day-to-day operations and for providing appropriate budget to the CPWD for this purpose. 
 
The memorial, built at public cost, attracts a large number of visitors every day. 
 
"Therefore, the memorial requires to be provided with the same level of upkeep/maintenance and management as has been provided for other edifices of the kind," an official press release said.
 
Mr Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber while attending an election meeting at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.
 
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Praveen Kumar wins President's Plaque for topping batch in Air Force Academy

Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne awarding the President's Plaque to Flying Officer Praveen Kumar for standing first in overall order of merit during Combined Graduation Parade, at Air Force Academy, Dindigul, on December 14, 2013. Read story.

Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne awarding the President's Plaque to Flying Officer Praveen Kumar for standing first in overall order of merit during Combined Graduation Parade, at Air Force Academy, Dindigul, on December 14, 2013.
Read story.Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne awarding the President's Plaque to Flying Officer Praveen Kumar for standing first in overall order of merit during Combined Graduation Parade, at Air Force Academy, Dindigul, on December 14, 2013.

Air chief N A K Browne reviews passing out parade at Air Force Academy

Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne awarding the President's Plaque to Flying Officer Praveen Kumar for standing first in overall order of merit during Combined Graduation Parade, at Air Force Academy, Dindigul, on December 14, 2013.
Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne awarding the President's Plaque to Flying Officer Praveen Kumar for standing first in overall order of merit during Combined Graduation Parade, at Air Force Academy, Dindigul, on December 14, 2013.
Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) Chairman and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne reviewed the passing out parade of 202 flight cadets at the Air Force Academy (AFA), Dindigul near here today.
 
The cadets participated in the Combined Graduation Parade of the flight cadets of No. 192 Pilot Course, No. 133 Ground Duty Course and No. 117 Navigation Course.
 
It was a special occasion for Air Chief Marshal Browne, who had passed out of the academy 41 years ago in 1972.
 
The President’s Plaque and the Chief of the Air Staff Sword of Honour for standing first in overall order of merit in Pilot’s Course was awarded to Flying Officer Praveen Kumar while Flying Officer Firdous Ahmed Dar and Flying Officer Vipin Kumar were awarded the President’s Plaque for standing first in overall order of merit in Ground Duties Branches and Navigation Branch, respectively. 
 
There was a thrilling display of manoeuvres by the newly inducted Pilatus PC 7 Mk II and ‘Sarang’ Aerobatics Team followed by the traditional fly past by Kiran, Hawk aircraft and Chetak helicopters.
 
A breathtaking performance by Akash Ganga Para Jump Team and Air Warrior Drill Team was also appreciated by those present, including retired and serving defence officers, civilian dignitaries, service personnel and families.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the air chief told the cadets that the graduation parade marked a landmark event in their fledgling military careers.
 
"From this day onwards you will become the custodians of a rich legacy of valour, sacrifice and dedication. We are indebted to our predecessors who endured immense hardships and built this great service on a rock solid foundation. It is now your sacred duty to carry forward this noble mandate and preserve the glorious traditions and strong value system that have become a hallmark of the IAF," he said.
 
Air Chief Marshal Browne said the AFA would witness an increased intake of trainees from the present 480 to 750 trainees in the coming years.
 
He said it was incumbent on them to maintain very high standards of professionalism as individuals while ensuring complete cohesion and synergy in their teams.
 
"You will command immediate compliance and eternal respect from the people under your charge when they see in you – a professionally sound and morally upright leader who has the ability to build and lead the team; even in the face of daunting odds and danger. 
 
"As you prepare to join your squadrons and units, the key guiding principles that you should imbibe from IAF’s mission statement of ‘People First – Mission Always’ is that while excellence in mission accomplishment is an absolute requirement; it is our people who will prove to be the key enablers for the success of your mission. 
 
"Therefore, I urge each one of you to devote your time and energy in nurturing and grooming the people under your watch while keeping their training and well-being as the foremost concern. The ‘force multiplier’ effect of a well trained and well equipped team will greatly enhance the effectiveness of any operational plan and will bring with it exponential benefits; even in adverse situations," he said.
 
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Coast Guard's Inshore Patrol Vessel Rajdhwaj commissioned in Chennai

 
The Indian Coast Guard Ship Rajdhwaj, a 50 metre long Inshore Patrol Vessel (IPV), was commissioned by Union Minister for Shipping G K Vasan here today.
 
Indian Coast Guard Director General Vice Admiral Anurag G Thapliyal, Inspector General S P Sharma, Commander Coast Guard Region (East) and other senior dignitaries of the Central and State Governments were present on this occasion. 
 
The ship is the last in the series of eight IPVs designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata.
 
The vessel is equipped with advanced and sophisticated navigational and communication sensors and equipment. It is propelled to a maximum speed of 31.5 knots by three MTU 4000 series diesel engines of 2720 KW capacity at 2100 rpm each, coupled with three 71S2 Rolls Royce Kamewa Jets.
 
At economical speed of 14 knots, it has an endurance of 1500 nautical miles, an official press release said.
 
The special features of the ship include an Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Integrated Machinery Control System (IMCS), and an indigenously built 30 mm Gun Mount with Fire Control System. The ship is designed to carry one Rigid Inflatable Boat and two Geminis for Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement and Maritime Patrol, the release added.
 
ICGS “Rajdhwaj”, which is manned by five officers and 30 men under the command of Commandant (JG) V K Parmar, will be based at Kakinada under the administrative and operational control of the Commander, Coast Guard District Headquarters No. 6, Visakhapatnam. 
 
The ship, on joining the Coast Guard fleet, will enhance the force's capability in furthering its mandate of maritime safety & security, environmental protection and coastal security on the eastern sea board, the release added.
 
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Cyclone Madi to weaken gradually, recurve west-southwestward

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The very severe cyclone Madi over southwest and adjoining westcentral 
Bay of Bengal is expected to weaken gradually and move northwards slowly for 24 hours and then recurve towards west-southwest, the India Meteorological Department said today.
 
In a bulletin issued at 0800 hours today, it said Madi had moved northwards and lay centred at 0530 hours of today near latitude 14.00 N and longitude 84.70 E, about 500 km east-northeast of Chennai and 710 km north-northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka). 
 
"It would weaken gradually and move northwards slowly for 24 hours and then recurve towards west-southwestward," it said.
 
The bulletin said that, under the influence of this system, rainfall would occur at a few places over coastal Andhra Pradesh and at isolated places over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands during the next 48 hours.
 
Fishermen along and off Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh coasts were advised to be cautious while venturing into sea and not to venture into deep sea.
 
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Cyclone Madi in Bay of Bengal to intensify, move north-northeastwards

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The very severe cyclone Madi over southwest Bay of Bengal is expected to intensify further and move slightly north-northeastwards and cause rainfall at a few places in Andhra Pradesh, Andaman & NIcobar Islands, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the next 48 hours.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued this afternoon said Madia had moved slightly north-northeastwards, intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and lay centred at 1130 hours IST of toay over southwest ad adjoning westcentral Bay of Bengal near latitude 12.3N and longitude 84.7E.
 
It was located about 490 km east-southeast of Chennai and 560 km northeast of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka.
 
"It would intensify further and move slightly north-northeastwards slowly," the bulletin said.
 
Under the influence of this system, rainfall would occur at a few places over coastal Andhra Pradesh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands and at isolated places over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puduchery during the next 48 hours, it said.
 
Fishermen along and off Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh coasts were advised to be cautious while venturing into sea and should not venture into deep sea, the bulletin added.
 
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Cyclone Madi to cause rains in TN, Puducherry, AP, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

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The cylone Madi over southwest Bay of Bengal is expected to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours, move northwards slowly and then recurve north-northeastwards, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
A bulletin issued by IMD said the cylonic storm remained practically stationary, intensified into a severe cyclonic storm, and lay centred at 1430 hours today over southwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 10.50 N and longitude 84.00 E, about 500 km southeast of Chennai and 370 km northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka).
 
"It would intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during next 24 hours. It would move nearly northwards very slowly during next 48 hours and then recurve north-northeastwards," it said.
 
Under the influence of this system, rainfall would occur during the next 48 hours over coastal Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, south coastal Andhra Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the bulletin said.
 
Fishermen along and off Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts were advised to be cautious while venturing into sea and should not venture into deep sea, the bulletin added.
 
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Yercaud bye-election: EC says Jayalalithaa violated code, advises her to be careful

 
The Election Commission has held that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by promising new schemes while campaigning on November 28 for the bye-election for the Yercaud seat in the State Legislative Assembly.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had, in her response to the notice sent in this regard to her by the Commission, vehemently denied that she had announced any new schemes in any of the speeches she made on that day in the constituency, which went to the polls on Decembe 4.
 
She said he 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 had said.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had 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 had said.
 
After going through her response, the Commission, in its order dated yesterday, said it was of the "considered view that the conjunctive reference to the specific new schemes required in this area on one hand followed by assurance to do whatever is required for the upliftment of the area on the other hand tantamounts to announcement of new schemes for the electorate of Yercaud Assembly Constituency."
 
The Commission said this constituted violation of sub para (vi) of para “VII-Party in Power”, of the Model Code of Conduct, which, inter alia, 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 order said the MCC endeavours “to ensure level playing field between the contesting parties and candidates in election and also in order to see that the purity of the election process does not get vitiated”.
 
"Therefore, all political parties, and more so its prominent leaders, are
expected to scrupulously follow the Model Code of Conduct, in letter and spirit, and not resort to any subterfuge to circumvent the provisions of Model Code of Conduct," it said.
 
"Now, therefore, the Commission rejects the contention made in the reply of Ms. J. Jayalalithaa and has decided to advise her to be careful in future and not make such announcements of new schemes for electorate with a view to alluring them," the order added.
 
The Commission had issued the notice to Ms Jayalalithaa after it received a complaint alleging that she had made announcements of various new schemes and facilities for the area while campaigning there on November 28.
 
The Commission had said in the notice that it had also seen the CD of the said speech and found that it was in the nature of alluding to different 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.
 
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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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