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Tamil Nadu

Nine dead in police firing in Thoothukudi as Sterlite protests turn violent

Nine people, including a girl, died on Tuesday in police firing after the ongoing anti-Sterlite protests turned violent with thousands of people from nearby areas allegedly attacking the District Collectorate demanding closure of the Vedanta Group-run company.
 
Anti-Sterlite protest turns violent
 
 
Nine people, including a girl, died on Tuesday in police firing after the ongoing anti-Sterlite protests turned violent with thousands of people from nearby areas allegedly attacking the District Collectorate demanding closure of the Vedanta Group-run company.
 
In the first major incident of police firing in Tamil Nadu on protesters and resultant deaths, they first fired teargas shells and carried out baton charges to bring the protesters under control but passions were high. 
 
Police then resorted to firing as thousands of people gathered in defiance of prohibitory orders on the 100th day of their agitation ever since the company announced the expansion plans of the four lakh tonne per annum Sterlite Copper project and attacked the Collectorate.
 
The area around the Collectorate resembled a battle-zone with the protesters setting vehicles afire and attacking policemen with stones. Plumes of black smoke emanated from the protest site. Police retaliated in a bid to bring the situation under control. 
 
Among those who died were identified as Antony Selvaraj, Kandiah, Gladson, Jayaram, Maniraj, Tamilarasan, Shanmugham and Venista. At least 60 people, including policemen and journalists covering the protests, were injured in the clashes. Many of them were admitted to hospitals for treatment as their condition was serious. 
 
Among the injured was a 16-year-old schoolgirl who was waiting for her bus when she was hit by a bullet. 
 
Opposition parties squarely blamed the State government for the deaths with one of them even demanding the resignation of Chief Minister E. Palaniswamy, who appealed to the people for calm. 
 
The Chief Minister, who held a meeting with his ministerial colleagues and top police officials including DGP T.K. Rajendran, said action would be taken against the company. 
 
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In a statement, the state government said it would respect the wishes of the people and necessary action in the matter. It said around 20,000 people took out a rally against the company and became violent by attacking police and burning police vehicles while storming the Collector's office. As police could not control the crowd, they resorted to a few actions, it said.
 
The statement said the government will take all legal steps in the matter and asked the people to maintain peace. Police from neighbouring districts of Madurai and Virudhunagar was rushed to Thoothukudi to bring the situation under control. 
 
According to a police officer on the spot, police swung into action when the protesters torched some vehicles in the area. When tear gas shells and the baton charge failed to disperse the mob, police opened fire to control the situation.
 
The protesters alleged that police had used force without provocation on the peaceful gathering. 
 
People in Toothukudi are demanding the closure of Sterlite copper smelting plant alleging that it was polluting the area, and leading to severe health problems among the residents of the locality, besides depleting the water table.
 
Social activists have also joined the protests against the company. Heavy police deployment could be seen in Toothukudi and surrounding areas of the coastal city. 
 
Condemning the state government for the police firing that claimed many lives, DMK Working President M.K. Stalin said that police was committing atrocities. Other political leaders have also slammed police and the state government.
 
Actors Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, who recently announced their entry into politics, have also expressed solidarity with the protesters. The TN government must take action over the concerns expressed by the protesters, they said.
 
"The expansion (of Sterlite Copper) should not at all be allowed. If possible, it will be good to close down the (existing) unit," Makkal Neethi Mayyam chief Kamal Haasan said. He said there was no point in putting up a plant near residential and agricultural zone.
 
Rajinikanth, who had some time ago tweeted on the Sterlite protests, said: "One can't understand why the government, which gave the nod for the plant, is not taking any action and is just watching."
 
Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar told reporters in Chennai that the loss of lives was unfortunate in a state known for peace. 
 
The Tamil Nadu government also issued a statement in which stated that Sterlite plant was functioning in the state for over 20 years and in 2013 the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had ordered the closure of factory after people complained of irritation in their eyes after emissions from the project. 
 
It said in March this year, the company had applied for renewal of consent to operate (CTO) for its existing smelter plant. The application has been rejected for want of more clarifications after the state pollution control board found that the factory has not fulfilled some of the major factors including non-submission of a detailed ground water analysis, action not taken to dispose waste and not building a compound wall to arrest water mixing in the nearby river.
 
IANS
 
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Body of Chennai tourist flown home, widespread condemnation continues

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The body of a 22-year old tourist from Chennai killed by stone pelters here was flown home on Tuesday as Kashmiris cutting across the political spectrum continued to condemn the cowardly act.
 
The grieving parents and sister of the slain R. Thirumani, whose vehicle was among many attacked on the Srinagar-Gulmarg road on Monday, accompanied the body on an Indigo flight, an official of the tourism department told IANS.
 
Thirumani was hit on the forehead and nose when the stone pelters targeted several vehicles with rocks during protests called against the Sunday killings of five militants and six civilians in Shopian district.
 
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti reiterated her condemnation of the tourist's killing.
 
"I have no words strong enough to condemn this tragic incident or even condole with the family," she said in a statement.
 
She described the incident as a blot on the cultural value system of Kashmir and an attempt to bulldoze its economy.
 
The Chief Minister, who went to meet the tourist's family at the hospital immediately after the killing, had said on Monday: "My head hangs in shame."
 
Her predecessor and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said: "We have killed a tourist by throwing stones at the vehicle he was travelling in. Let's try and wrap our heads around the fact that we stoned a tourist, a guest, to death while we glorify these stone pelters and their methods."
 
Senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said: "Deeply saddened by the news of the death of a tourist due to stone pelting. I condemn such hooliganism and rowdiness.
 
"It is totally against our ethos of treating tourists as respected guests and brings a bad name to the people's movement."
 
The common man in the valley is no less shocked. Those who earn from tourism are particularly shocked.
 
"What have we proved by doing this? We claim to be the most hospitable society and here we have a guest killed in stone pelting," said Zahoor Ahmad, 33, a taxi operator.
 
"What crime had the tourist committed? His only crime was that he trusted his life with us," Ahmad added.
 
"What message are we sending out? Those who targeted the tourists cannot be fighting for the rights of Kashmiris. The incident has deeply shocked us all," said Nazir Ahmad, a hotel owner in north Kashmir's Sonamarg tourist resort.
 
"How can anyone claim to be fighting for human rights by violating the rights of others? The guilty need to be exposed," said Bashir Ahmad, a university employee here.
 
Some locals who too condemned the attack added that all innocent killings, including those of Kashmiris, also needed to be denounced.
 
"Nobody will support an attack on an innocent tourist. At the same time, there must be unequivocal condemnation of killings of innocent Kashmiris as well", said Mehrajuddin, a fruit seller in Srinagar.
 
Stone pelting has become a part of street protests in the Kashmir Valley, particularly in Srinagar, the urban hub of a separatist movement that has claimed thousands of lives since 1989.
 
As security personnel advance to disperse mobs, bands of young men attack them with stones and then disappear into narrow lanes.
 
Last week, a school bus came under attack in Shopian, badly injuring a young boy.
 
IANS
 
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You are in contempt, CJI tells Centre in Cauvery issue

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Telling the Centre that it was in "sheer contempt", the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Secretary, Water Resources Ministry, to be personally present in the court on May 14 along with the scheme for the implementation of the Cauvery Tribunal Award.
 
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y.Chandrachud directed the presence of the top Water Resources official as Attorney General K.K.Venugopal sought six days' time for the Karnataka election to be over before the government takes a decision.
 
"You (Centre) are in sheer contempt of the court," the CJI told Venugopal.
 
The AG said the draft scheme for the implementation of the Cauvery award was before the Cabinet and the meeting has not taken place as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers were busy campaigning in Karnataka, where assembly elections are slated to be held on May 12.
 
He sought six days' time for filing the scheme but senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, asked why it cannot be filed on Thursday and Friday.
 
As Venugopal said the officers who instruct (on the matter) are not working on Saturdays and Sundays, Naphade took a jibe, saying: "We are servants for 24 hours, 365 days", an obvious reference to the statement by a top functionary of the government. 
 
When the AG asked "Who said that", Naphade replied: "You want me to quote?" and added, the top functionary said it last week.
 
The AG justified the Centre seeking more time saying that it was a sensitive matter having a bearing on the law and order situation. 
 
Naphade said that they will not implement the order of the court on the grounds of law and order.
 
On another occasion, when the AG said that the release of water was not within the authority of the Cauvery Management Board, Naphade was quick to point out that the people of Tamil Nadu will not get water, no matter what happens.
 
Noting that Central government has not framed for scheme for implementing its February 16 judgment, the top court, in the last hearing on May 3, had observed that "... Karnataka will release water as per Tribunal award. You will release 4 TMC of water. Please see how much water can be released by end of May."
 
Karnataka has told the top court that it has already released the Cauvery water that Tamil Nadu was entitled to under the "distress formula" due to deficient rainfall and needed remaining water for drinking purposes in Bengaluru and the areas falling under its part of the Cauvery basin.
 
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However, Tamil Nadu in its response has contended that Karnataka had enough water to release 4TMC of water to cover the shortfall of 1.4 TMC for April and the allocation of 2.4 TMC for May this year
 
Tamil Nadu has told the apex court that "Karnataka has 19.834 TMC ft. of water as on May 4 in its four reservoirs" and the storage in "Mettur Dam is 9.502 TMC ft. (the utilizable storage being only 4.502 TMC ft)".
 
Thus, Karnataka "is in a better position and can easily spare the 4 TMC ft" even after meeting the requirement of drinking water supply for May, that is 1.6 TMC ft, Tamil Nadu submitted.
 
The top court by its February 16 judgment had asked the Centre to frame a scheme for the implementation of the tribunal award and its judgment. It had given the Centre six weeks time, that came to end on March 30, for this purpose.
 
Tamil Nadu had on March 31 moved the top court seeking contempt action against the Centre for "willful disobedience" in carrying out the mandate of the apex court on constituting the Cauvery Management Board for which the six-week deadline expired on Friday.
 
IANS
 
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Father dies of heart attack as son writes medical entrance exam in Kochi

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The father of a Tamil Nadu youth who was writing the medical entrance examination in Kerala's Ernakulam district died of a heart attack on Sunday, said an employee of the hotel where the two had checked in a day earlier.
 
Hailing from Tiruvarur district in Tamil Nadu, around 340 km from here, Krishnaswamy and his son Kasturi Mahalingam checked into the Airlines Hotel on Saturday morning.
 
"Our staff got an auto-rickshaw for the boy to reach the exam centre in the morning. Later, the father called the reception complaining of ill health and was taken to a hospital," a hotel staffer told IANS over phone from Ernakulam.
 
An official of City Hospital told IANS: "Krishnaswamy came to the hospital around 8.20 a.m. and his sugar levels were high. He was conscious and oriented. Unfortunately, he collapsed soon after that. We could not revive him."
 
The official said police were informed and later the body was handed over to the relatives.
 
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said a solatium of Rs 300,000 would be paid to the family of Krishnaswamy.
 
In Kochi, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said police will make arrangements to send back the body.
 
Calling it a sad incident, he said the Kerala authorities will accompany the body till the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.
 
MDMK leader Vaiko said around 5,600 students were made to write the medical entrance exam in states like Kerala and Rajasthan.
 
IANS
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Kovind calls for more undergraduate seats to address gaps in medical education

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Stressing the urgent need for filling the gap in the number of healthcare professionals in India, President Ram Nath Kovind has called for reforms in medical education so as to create room for more colleges and more medical graduates.
 
Delivering his address after inaugurating the centenary celebrations of the Christian Medical College (CMC) here yesterday, Mr Kovind said that, in comparison to 1.47 million undergraduate engineering seats, the number of undergraduate medical seats was only 67,352.
 
“About 20% of those seats were added in the past four years. As a country and a system, we need to address this gap quickly,” he added.
 
“Public health is a global public good and a basic human right. Despite the strides we have taken as a country, there remain regional, rural-urban and gender and community imbalances in terms of health provision. Without adequately addressing these, we cannot rest.
 
“As societies evolve, economies develop and population patterns change, countries go through epidemiological transitions. India too is experiencing such a transition. It is marked by three challenges in disease control. And we have to manage all three simultaneously,” the President said.
 
“First, India has to reduce maternal and infant mortality as well as communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, vector-borne diseases such as malaria, water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoeal diseases, and vaccine-preventable like measles and tetanus.
 
“Second, India has to find an answer to the rise in non-communicable or lifestyle diseases – like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and many cancers. And finally, we need to develop systems to detect and cope with new and re-emerging infectious diseases like HIV, avian flu and H1N1 influenza.
 
“In a globalised world, with people travelling in and out of our country in larger and larger numbers, a few small cases can very quickly scale up into a large outbreak,” he added.
 
The President said this three-pronged challenge calls for interventions across the continuum of care. It calls for prevention of disease, promotion of good health practices and treatment and cure in case of an illness.
 
The impact of a health problem is cross-cutting – it affects a variety of sectors. The meeting of this challenge should also follow a multi-stakeholder approach. The Government and civil society, private and public health care providers, charitable and economic institutions all have a role and a stake, he added.
 
Referring to the centenary celebrations, he said completing 100 years was an occasion to both look back and take fresh guard.
 
“In this, CMC must take inspiration from the values and the idealism of its founder. In the early 20th century, shortly after graduating from Cornell University in the United States, Ida Sophia Scudder returned to India. This was the country where several generations of her family had lived and served. This was the country where medicine became her mission.
 
“India was under colonial rule then and most people lived in tough conditions. Health indices were very poor. Average life expectancy was just about 24 years. One person died every minute of tuberculosis,” he said.
 
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“One in four babies died in the first year. Cholera, smallpox and polio – several epidemics and diseases were rampant. Independence was still a dream. It was in such an India that Ida Sophia Scudder devoted her life to healthcare. In 1918, she set up a medical school that was initially open only to women. From 1947, both girls and boys began to study here.
 
Mr Kovind said, “India has come a long way since then. Revolutions in our economy, in agriculture and in technology have changed how we act, think and live. Inevitably, our health outcomes have also improved.
 
“Average life expectancy is now above 68 years. Diseases such as polio and smallpox, which once claimed so many lives, have been defeated. Our immunisation programme is gaining strength. The government has launched Mission Indradhanush primarily to target hard-to-access areas and ensure all children benefit from immunisation,” he added.
 
Primary and secondary healthcare facilities have undergone a change for the better. In this context, it must be said the state of Tamil Nadu has exceptional health indicators and remains a model for our country. Institutions such as CMC Vellore have contributed to this deserved reputation, he said.
 
“CMC Vellore has a justifiable reputation for excellence. India’s first reconstructive surgery on leprosy patients was carried out here, and so was the first successful open heart surgery and the first kidney transplant. These are only some of your many achievements,” he added.
 
“A range of research takes place at CMC. Recent research on the rotavirus vaccine, hepatitis, malnutrition, bio-engineering and stem cells underlines your commitment to research that is relevant to India’s health needs.
 
“I have been told that the medical education programme here combines professional expertise with social relevance and ethical practice. I understand clinical training in your hospital is complemented by placements in villages and underserved areas. This is commendable. Please keep it up. Doctors need a sharp mind – but much more than that, they need a warm heart. And CMC Vellore must continue to train doctors and nurses with warm hearts,” the President said.
 
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Centre fails to submit draft scheme on Cauvery in SC

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as "brazen partisanship".
 
Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: "A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China)."
 
The Centre's submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: "Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don't want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism."
 
The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six weeks in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly. 
 
On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnataka for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.
 
The court on Thursday sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
 
In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday, since, even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu. 
 
Addressing the concern of Tamil Nadu, the bench said, "We have given time (for framing the scheme). If you (the Centre) have not been able to put in place (the scheme), if that does not happen, Karnataka will release water as per Tribunal award. You will release 4 TMC of water. Please see how much water can be released by end of May."
 
The court said that Attorney General "shall obtain instructions as to what steps have been taken to frame the scheme, and the same shall be put forth by way of an affidavit by the next date of hearing" (on May 8).
 
Telling the court that the onus for framing the scheme was on the Centre and States had no role to play, Naphade lamented that Tamil Nadu was being given "step-motherly treatment" by the Centre.
 
He told the court that they needed water for drinking purposes and were faced with a serious situation.
 
"Not only summer temperature was increasing, other temperatures are also increasing. What will we tell the people of Tamil Nadu," he said, describing the Centre's stand as a "dilly-dallying" .
 
"They will have every excuse not to have a scheme", Naphade told the court.
 
The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday.
 
IANS
 
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CCEA okays expansion, upgrading of integrated terminals at Chennai, Guwahati, Lucknow airports

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval for the expansion and upgrading of integrated terminals at Chennai, Guwahati and Lucknow Airports, at a cost of Rs 2467 crore, Rs 1383 crore and Rs 1232 crore, respectively.
 
An official press release said the new integrated terminal at Lucknow airport will have an area of 88,000 sq.m, along with the existing terminal building with 16292 sq.m, with an annual capacity to handle 2.6 million international and 11 million domestic passengers.
 
The new terminal building will cater to passenger growth up to the year 2030-31, the release said.
 
Total built-up area of the proposed terminal building at Chennai airport, including the present proposal measuring 197000 sq.m, will be 336000 sq.m with an annual capacity to handle 35 million passengers per annum (MPPA). The new terminal building incorporates green building features with an aim to achieve GRIHA-4 Star rating. The building will cater to the requirement of passenger growth up to the year 2026-27, it said.
 
The new terminal building at Guwahati airport will have an area of 102500 sqm to handle combined annual capacity (old and new terminals) of 9 MPPA. The building would cater to the requirement of passenger growth up to the year 2026-27. This will encourage investment and tourism in North East Region with thrust on ‘Act East’ Policy, it said.
 
According to the release, India has witnessed phenomenal growth rate in the range of 18 to 20% in the last three years in the aviation sector. According to IATA Traffic Study, India, at 7th position as of now, is likely to take the 3rd position by 2023-24 by overtaking the UK, Japan, Spain and Germany. The current rate of the growth in the domestic aviation sector of India is the highest globally.
 
To meet the growing demand, the Government has launched a new initiative of NABH Nirman (NextGen Airports for Bharat), wherein systems and processes are geared to provide enhanced airport capacity to handle 1 billion trips in the next 10 to 15 years.
 
Airport capacity upgrading and expansion require both the development of new greenfield airports and expansion of existing brownfield airports and same will be funded by the Indian private sector and Airports Authority of India by leveraging its balance sheet.
 
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Airports Authority of India is in the process of implementing plans for development of infrastructure to meet growing aviation demand by creating additional capacity at AAI Airports including Chennai, Guwahati, Lucknow, Agartala, Patna, Srinagar, Pune, Trichy, Vijayawada, Port Blair, Jaipur, Mangalore, Dehradun, Jabalpur, Kolhapur, Goa, Rupsi, Leh, Calicut, Imphal, Varanasi and Bhubaneswar with a capex of Rs 20,178 crore in the next 4 to 5 years.
 
AAI has already awarded the works at Agartala, Calicut and Port Blair towards construction of new state-of-the-art integrated terminals and is in the process of awarding the works for upgrading and expansion of capacity at Chennai, Lucknow and Guwahati Airports.
 
Similarly, upgrading of airside capacity by way of strengthening and extension of runways, construction of new apron bays has been taken up to cater to the demand from airline operators who have placed confirmed orders for almost 900 aircraft in the coming 10 years.
 
Under New Greenfield Airport Policy, many major cities are expected to have multiple airports. The government has granted approval for Noida International Airport (Jewar), Mopa (Goa), Purandar Airport (Pune), Bhogapuram Airport (Visakhapatnam), Dholera Airport (Ahmedabad) and Hirasar Airport (Rajkot).
 
Capex outlay of Rs 50,000 crore is expected in the development of New Greenfield Airports, wherein approval of Government of India has been given. In the private sector also, upgrading and expansion are in the offing for Delhi and Bengaluru, Hyderabad Airports at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore in the next five years, the release added.
 
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Telangana CM to meet DMK leaders on Sunday

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Stepping up his efforts to form a Federal Front, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao will meet DMK leaders M. Karunanidhi and M.K. Stalin in Chennai on Sunday.
 
This was announced by the chief minister's office in a statement on Saturday night.
 
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief along with some other leaders of the party will leave for Chennai by a special aircraft. He will call on former Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunnanidhi and his son Stalin, who is also the working president of DMK.
 
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, will discuss with DMK leaders the formation of the Federal Front proposed by him as an alternative to both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress to bring a qualitative change in national politics.
 
At the TRS plenary here on Friday, a resolution was passed to this effect. The TRS chief declared that he will intensify the efforts to form the front and as part of this will meet Stalin and Samajwadi Party President Akhlesh Yadav in coming days.
 
Stating that both BJP and Congress miserably failed to address people's problems during the last 70 years, KCR said the front would trigger a tremor in the national politics with its agenda for speedy development and for addressing the real issues of people.
 
On April 13, the TRS chief had met Janata Dal (S) President and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and his son H.D. Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru to discuss the proposed front.
 
KCR had last month flown to Kolkata to meet West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee.
 
Former Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Hemant Soren and well-known actor Prakash Raj had also called on KCR to discuss the formation of the front.
 
IANS
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Three Chennai students drown in Pune dam

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Three teenagers of a Chennai school, who were here for a summer camp, have drowned in a village dam, a police officer said on Thursday.
 
They were part of a team of around 20 boys from ECS Matriculation School, Chennai, who arrived here for the summer camp in Mulshi taluka, along with four teachers. 
 
Though the details of the incident were being investigated, police said the body of one victim was recovered, while search continues for the remaining two missing boys.
 
According to Pune Rural Control, the drowning incident occurred on Wednesday in a small village dam of Katarbhadak.
 
The group from Chennai with children aged between 13-16 was attending a week-long vacation camp at the Jackukine School of Thought, here.
 
It was after completing the first day's activities that the children went to the dam and stepped in for a swim, when the tragedy struck.
 
The Pune Police have identified the victims as: Danish Raja, Santosh K., and Sarvanna, all aged 13.
 
Late on Wednesday the search teams recovered the body of Danish Raja and the hunt was resumed on Thursday to trace out the other two.
 
Parents of the deceased students has been informed and were expected to reach here later.
 
A police team, village divers and others are engaged in the search operation.
 
IANS
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DRI busts diesel smuggling racket, arrests four persons, seizes 14 containers

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The Directorate Revenue of Intelligence (DRI) has busted a major racket involving the smuggling of diesel into the country in the guise of mineral spirit and arrested four persons, including the alleged mastermind and a hawala operator, and seized 14 containers of diesel valued at more than Rs. 1 crore.
 
An official press release said that, on the basis of inputs provided by the Andhra Pradesh (AP) State intelligence Department, the DRI, Hyderabad developed intelligence indicating that diesel is being smuggled into India in guise of mineral spirit by certain operators based in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh and Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
 
The diesel was being brought from Dubai in huge quantities on regular basis through containers at Chennai Port for further illegal sale in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it said.
 
Simultaneous search operations were carried out by the officers of the DRI, Hyderabad and Chennai with the active support of Andhra Pradesh State intelligence at various places across Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu  from April 17 onwards, it said.
 
The release said the searches conducted at two Container Freight Stations (CFS) in Chennai revealed that 14 containers imported at Chennai Port in the names of SAF Petroleum and Aditya Marine landed at Sanco CFS, Chennai and Gateway CFS, Chennai, where the goods were declared as mineral spirit. 
 
These containers were found to be actually carrying 263.78 MT (3 lakh litres approximately) of diesel. On being questioned, this was admitted by the operators and also confirmed during chemical examination. 
 
Simultaneous searches were conducted across Kakinada and Chennai covering 12 places belonging to operators, importers clearing agents, transportation broker, supervisor, hawala operators and so on, the release said.
 
Diesel is a restricted commodity for import as per the Foreign Trade Policy and allowed to be imported only by the public sector Indian Oil Corproation (IOC) and other oil marketing companies which meet the requirement of Ministry of Petroleum Resolution No. P-23015/1/2001-Mkt and not allowed to be imported by others. 
 
To circumvent this restriction, the operators of diesel smuggling based at Kakinada hatched a plan and started smuggling the fuel in the guise of mineral spirt.
 
They not only imported the restricted item but also declared a much lower value, around 40% of the actual value, thereby evading customs duty on the consignments, it said.
 
The operators had offices in Kakinada, storage yard at Maraimalai Nagar, Chennai and an office front at Guindy, Chennai to facilitate the smuggling and distribution. A relative of one of the operators from Kakinada was looking after the logistics, moving the diesel into the grey markets in Chennai, Kakinada, Ongole and parts of Telangana. 
 
Dummy companies were opened in Dubai to purchase diesel and import it Chennai by creating false documents and invoices. The price difference was being adjusted by payments through hawala channels. 
 
"It is found that in the past these operators have smuggled around 5366 MT (63 lakh litres approx) of diesel valued at around Rs. 17.7 crores, which comes to around 285 containers," it said.
 
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After pat on cheek sparks outrage, TN Governor apologizes

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Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday apologized to a woman journalist whose cheeks he patted after a press conference, triggering widespread criticism.
 
In a letter to the journalist, Lakshmi Subramanian, which was circulated to the media, Purohit said: "I wish to express my regret and my apologies to assuage your sentiments that have been hurt."
 
Purohit said: "You had asked a question when we had got up and were proceeding to leave after the close of the press conference (on Tuesday)."
 
"I considered that question to be a good one. Therefore, as an act of appreciation for the question that you had posed, I gave a pat on your cheek considering you to be like my granddaughter," he said.
 
Purohit said he himself has been a journalist for about 40 years.
 
"I do understand from your mail that you are feeling hurt about the incident. I wish to express my regret and my apologiess to assuage your sentiments that have been hurt."
 
Reacting to Purohit's letter, Subramanian tweeted: "Your Excellency, I have with me your letter expressing regret at what happened at the press conference in Chennai... I accept your apology even though I am not convinced about your contention that you did it to appreciate a question I asked."
 
Earlier, Tamil Nadu journalists had demanded an unconditioned apology from Purohit for patting the cheek of Subramanian.
 
Subramanian tweeted a picture in which the Governor is seen patting her cheek at the Raj Bhavan and expressed her shock over his conduct.
 
The Governor met the media to deny as untrue allegations of a so-called sex scandal at a leading university in the state.
 
Journalists promptly drafted a letter informing the Governor that his conduct amounted to a non-bailable criminal offence.
 
"As the Constitutional head of our state of Tamil Nadu, you have crossed the lines of not just basic courtesy but also those of law," read the letter to the Governor.
 
They pointed out that whatever his intention, he had violated the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998.
 
DMK Rajya Sabha MP K. Kanimozhi tweeted: "Even if the intention is above suspicion, violating a woman journalist's personal space does not reflect the dignity or the respect which should be shown to any human being."
 
The journalists had sought an unconditional apology from the Governor and an assurance that he will desist from behaving in this manner in future.
 
IANS
 
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TN journalists denounce Governor for 'patting' lady reporter

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Tamil Nadu journalists have demanded an unconditioned apology from Governor Banwarilal Purohit for patting the cheek of a senior lady journalist at the end of a press conference.
 
The journalist, Lakshmi Subramaniam, has tweeted a picture in which the Governor is seen patting her cheek at the Raj Bhavan on Tuesday and expressed her shock over his conduct.
 
The Governor met the media to deny as untrue allegations of a so-called sex scandal at a leading university in the state. 
 
As the press conference ended, the Governor patted the cheek of Subramaniam, triggering outrage. She denounced Purohit's conduct.
 
Journalists promptly drafted a letter informing the Governor that his conduct amounted to a non-bailable criminal offence. 
 
"As the Constitutional head of our state of Tamil Nadu, you have crossed the lines of not just basic courtesy but also those of law," read the letter to the Governor.
 
They pointed out that whatever his intention, he had violated the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998.
 
DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi tweeted: "Even if the intention is above suspicion, violating a woman journalist's personal space does not reflect the dignity or the respect which should be shown to any human being."
 
The journalists had sought an unconditional apology from the Governor and an assurance that he will desist from behaving in this manner in future.
 
IANS
 
 
 
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CBCID to probe case against college teacher luring students to sex trade

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With political parties demanding a CBI probe into the alleged attempt at sexual trafficking of college students by a professor, the Tamil Nadu Police chief ordered the transfer of the case to the Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CBCID).
 
Considering the importance of the case, the Tamil Nadu Director General of Police (DGP) ordered to transfer the case from Arupukkottai Police Station in Virudhunagar district to the CBCID, a government statement said.
 
On a complaint lodged by R. Ramasamy, Secretary, Devanga Arts College in Arupukkottai, a case has been registered against Assistant Professor Nirmala Devi over attempt to lure some students into sex trade, according to the statement.
 
On the other hand, the Madurai Kamaraj University said it had decided to scrap its proposal to set up a five-member committee to probe the alleged sexual trafficking complaint.
 
In a statement, Vice Chancellor P.P. Chellathurai said: "The university is keen that all details with regard to the incident be inquired into without any bias. Hence the proposal to form an internal committee in the university has been withdrawn."
 
"The high powered inquiry by R. Santhanam, IAS (retd), ordered by the Chancellor will commence forthwith for which the university will be rendering all necessary assistance," he said.
 
Based on the report from the university, Governor Banwarilal Purohit, in his capacity as the Chancellor, had ordered for inquiry by a high powered committee, the statement said.
 
Leaders of political parties, however, came down heavily on the committees set up by the Governor and the Vice Chancellor and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
 
PMK leader S. Ramadoss said committees appointed by Purohit and Chellathurai to probe an alleged sexual trafficking complaint were not legally valid.
 
Supporting the arrest of the female professor who allegedly tried to lure her students to extend sexual favours to top officials of the university in Tamil Nadu, he said only a CBI probe was only justified.
 
It was on Monday that Governor Purohit and Chellathurai had ordered a high-level inquiry into the matter by the retired IAS officer, Santhanam.
 
But Chellathurai told reporters in New Delhi on Monday that a five-member committee had been constituted to investigate the case.
 
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"Governor Purohit is only a Chancellor of the university. He does not have the power to govern or probe malpractices in the colleges," Ramadoss said, adding only the college management had the power to take action against a professor found to be misguiding the students to take a wrong path.
 
"A shadow of suspicion is on all the top officials of the university and hence Chellathurai can face an inquiry committee but can't set up one," the PMK leader said.
 
Ramadoss said the accused professor's mobile phone call records should be checked to determine others involved.
 
Nirmala Devi, who taught at the Devanga Arts College in Aruppukottai, was at the centre of a storm after audio clips of her talks with some students suggested that they yield themselves to keep the "higher-ups" in the Madurai Kamaraj University happy, so that the college keeps getting facilities. The clips went viral in the social media.
 
Police in Virudhunagar district has questioned her so far.
 
DMK leader M.K. Stalin told reporters that only a Vice Chancellor of a university could set up an inquiry committee and not the Governor in the capacity of the Chancellor.
 
"It is not known why the Governor as the Chancellor acted in this manner. There seems to be some confusion. Only a high court-monitored CBI probe will bring out the truth," he said.
 
IANS
 
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Controversial woman professor of TN university arrested

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A woman professor who allegedly tried to lure her students to extend sexual favours to top officials of a leading university in Tamil Nadu was on Monday arrested after the issue triggered a furore in the state.
 
Nirmala Devi, who was suspended after the episode came to light recently, was arrested by a police team which broke open into her house. She was taken into custody after a five-hour operation. Police summoned her relatives and a woman revenue official before the arrest.
 
The woman professor, who taught at a college in nearby Aruppukottai, was at the centre of a storm after audio clips of her talk with some students suggesting that they yield themselves to keep the 'higher-ups' in the Madurai Kamaraj University happy so that the college gets facilities went viral on the social media.
 
While Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister Anbazhagan promised stringent action in the matter, Governor Banwarilal Purohit, the Chancellor of the University, ordered a high-level inquiry into the matter by a retired IAS officer, R. Santhanam. 
 
Nobody involved in the crime would be spared, a Raj Bhavan release quoting the Governor as saying.
 
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of the University P.P. Chellathurai told reporters in New Delhi that a five-member committee, including three women, had been constituted to go into the issue. 
 
He said the University came to know about the whole episode not from the college. "Nobody who is involved in the matter will be spared and all of them will be brought before law."
 
The issue caused a political storm with leaders of various parties calling for stringent action against the woman professor and others involved in it.
 
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DMK leader M.K. Stalin demanded a High Court-monitored CBI probe. "There seems to be some nexus with the higher ups," he told reporters.
 
PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss also demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the episode.
 
The former Union Health Minister Ramadoss said a shocking audio clip of a professor in Virudhunagar district trying to lure her students as a "sexual feed" for some higher officials in the university had come out.
 
Ramadoss said that in the audio clip the professor was allegedly heard saying that those who can provide facilities for the university have to be kept happy and they are expecting favours from the college students.
 
In the audio clip, the professor does not explicitly say the students have to extend sexual favours but leaves enough hints as to what she was trying to convey.
 
"The shocked poor students were heard saying in a broken voice that they are not interested in the proposal. Undeterred the professor tells the students that if they agree to the proposal then the students can achieve anything relating to their course," Ramadoss said.
 
Earlier, the college authorities had suspended the professor for 15 days which he insisted was not sufficient.
 
IANS
 
 
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Massive protests held against Modi's visit to Chennai

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Massive protests greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he paid a whirlwind visit to Chennai with a helicopter as the chosen mode of his transport within the city amid a state-wide agitation demanding a Cauvery Management Board (CMB).
 
Black flags and balloons and activists in black shirts and trousers with "Go Back Modi" placards marked the day while protests were also held throughout Tamil Nadu against the Prime Minister's brief visit to the state against the Centre's failure to set up the CMB despite a Supreme Court order. 
 
Black flags were hoisted on homes and business establishments across the state. A political activist said it appeared to be the biggest anti-Modi protest in any state since he became the Prime Minister in May 2014.
 
In a bid to avoid protesters, Modi, who arrived here by a special aircraft in the morning, flew by helicopter to reach Tiruvidanthai in neighbouring Kanchipuram district where he opened the 10th DefExpo organised by the Defence Ministry. From there he took another chopper to come to IIT Madras, in the heart of the city.
 
From there, he took a one-kilometre ride by car to the neighbouring Adyar Cancer Institute for an event. 
 
The Prime Minister walked a few steps from the helicopter to the car that ferried him to the Cancer Institute. As he did so, he encountered some 30 students from IIT Madras who stood silently but held posters demanding a Cauvery Management Board -- an issue which has whipped up emotions in Tamil Nadu.
 
Modi then left by helicopter to the airport before returning to Delhi. 
 
#Go back Modi trended on top as netizens took to the cyberspace to register their protest against the Central government's failure to set up the CMB as directed by the Supreme Court to ensure proper sharing of Cauvery waters between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and other states. 
 
DMK leader M.K. Stalin, on a padayatra of the Cauvery delta areas, wore black shirt and trousers as he protested along with state Congress President Thirunavukkarasar and CPI-M state unit chief Mutharasan.
 
"The Prime Minister may be flying in the air today but he has to come down when the elections come," Stalin said.
 
A black flag was hoisted at DMK chief M. Karunanidhi's residence. The ailing leader wore a black shirt. Black flags were also unfurled at the residences of DK leader Veeramani and MDMK chief Vaiko.
 
DMK MP Tiruchi Siva and leaders of DMK allies wore black dress and marched on the road near the Chennai airport.
 
In the morning outside the Chennai airport, activists of the Federation for protection of Tamil Art and Culture, led by noted film director Bharatiraja and other film personalities like Amir, Gautaman and Vetrimaran protested against Modi's visit. They were arrested.
 
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Vaiko held a black flag protest in Saidapet, Naam Thamizhar Katch convenor Seeman, a film director, was in Pallavaram. Vaiko called Modi a "coward" for choosing to fly. Political leaders Velmurugan and P. Nedumaran were arrested from Alandur metro station in Chennai for holding black flag protests. 
 
Tamil Nadu has been in turmoil since the six-week period for setting up the Board expired, with opposition parties and a host of fringe Tamil groups attacking the Centre, saying the BJP was interested only in winning the Assembly elections in Karnataka. 
 
Even the hugely-popular IPL cricket matches have been shifted out of Chennai to Pune in view of the disturbances on Tuesday.
 
In his speeches at the two functions, Modi avoided any reference to the hot button issue.
 
Modi, who inaugurated the 10th DefExpo organised by the Defence Ministry and later spoke at the Adyar Cancer Insitute in Chennai, did not refer to the demand for setting up of the CMB. 
 
However, at the defence trade fair, he sought to woo Tamils by wishing them a happy new year on Saturday. He also referred to a couplet of Tamil savant Thiruvalluvar in which he had said that knowledge grows with reading just like water springs forth as sandy fount is dug deeper. 
 
Amidst the protests, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami urged Modi to immediately set up the Cauvery Management Board.
 
In a memorandum to Modi, Palaniswami recalled the February 16 Supreme Court verdict that said that a scheme be formulated by the Central government within six weeks to "implement the notified final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal as modified by its judgment".
 
On April 9, the apex court clearly stated that the final order of the CWDT had "merged with the judgment of the Supreme Court", he said.
 
IANS
 
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SpiceJet to add Hubli as its fifth UDAN destination

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet has said that it would commence operations with effect from May 14 from Hubli in Karnataka, its fifth destination under UDAN, the government's regional connectivity scheme.
 
SpiceJet was awarded Hubli under the second round of UDAN, a press release from the airline said.
 
With the addition of Hubli-Chennai and Hubli-Hyderabad routes, SpiceJet will operate six daily UDAN flights.
 
The airline had launched services on the Mumbai-Porbandar, Mumbai-Kandla, Jaipur-Jaisalmer and Hyderabad-Puducherry routes under the UDAN scheme last year.
 
SpiceJet will be the first airline to connect Hubli-Chennai and Hubli-Hyderabad with direct flights. The airline will also connect Hubli with key metro cities of Bengaluru and Mumbai, both of which are non-RCS sectors, the release said.
 
Hubli, the second largest city in Karnataka, houses the largest number of government offices in the state. Earmarked for the smart city project, it is also a major trading centre for commodities like cotton and iron.
 
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Modi to inaugurate DefExpo 2018 in Chennai on Thursday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 10th edition of Defence Expo at Tiruvidanthal in Kancheepuram district, near Chennai, tomorrow.
 
The tagline of DefExpo 2018 is “‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub” to showcase the country’s capability in the export of defence systems and components. 
 
More than 670 exhibitors including over 150 international exhibitors will take part in the DefExpo. MSME sector will have a fair representation this time of around 15%.
 
Indian participation includes majors like Tata, L&T, Kalyani, Bharat Forge, Mahindra, MKU, DRDO, HAL, BEL, BDL, BEML, MDL, GRSE, GSL, HSL, MIDHANI, Ordnance Factories, and many others. 
 
Major international companies including Lockheed Martin, Boeing (USA), Saab (Sweden), Airbus, Rafael (France), Rosonboron Exports, United Shipbuilding (Russia), BAE Systems (UK), Sibat (Israel), Wartsila (Finland), Rhode and Schwarz (Germany) are among many others participating at DefExpo 2018.
 
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L&T-built Offshore Patrol Vessel commissioned for Indian Coast Guard

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The Offshore Patrol Vessel ICGS Vikram, indigenously designed and built by infrastructure and construction major Larsen and Toubro (L&T), was commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard in the presence  of Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre at L&T’s Defence shipyard at Kattupalli near here today.
 
The vessel is the ‘First of Class’ of seven new generation Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) contracted by Ministry of Defence (MoD) to L&T in March 2015, under government’s initiative of ‘Make in India’.
 
Indian Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh, Inspector General Rajan Bargotra, Commander Coast Guard Region (East), Mr. S.N. Subrahmanyan, CEO & MD, L&T, Mr. J.D. Patil, Whole-time Director (Defence) and Member of L&T Board, Vice Admiral (Retd) B. Kannan, MD & CEO L&T Shipbuilding, and other dignitaries were present on the  occasion.
 
After its keel was laid in March 2016, ICGS Vikram has been commissioned in a record period of 25 months, including build time, harbor trials and sea trials, a press release from L&T said.
 
“It is a momentous occasion for L&T to become the first private Indian shipyard to deliver an in-house designed Offshore Patrol Vessel to MoD. L&T Shipyards have achieved unmatched stellar delivery performance in prestigious MoD contracts for 54 Interceptor Boats for Coast Guard, Floating Dock project for Navy and now the OPV for Coast Guard,"  Mr. Subrahmanyan, CEO & MD, Larsen & Toubro, said.
 
"This bears testimony to our capabilities and commitment towards Make in India. Over the past decade, we have invested heavily in building state-of-the-art facilities and talent pool for defence manufacturing and are fully geared up with sufficient capacity and financial strength to grow multifold in this sector in coming years.
 
“Given the opportunity and a level playing field, L&T can provide the much-needed impetus to the augmentation of Indian Naval and Coast Guard fleets through in-house design and timely delivery of vessels,” he added.
 
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ICGS Vikram class OPVs are long-range surface ships, equipped to handle helicopter operations and capable of operating in Indian maritime zones including island territories. The role of the OPV is to conduct coastal and offshore patrolling, policing maritime zones, control & surveillance, anti-smuggling & anti-piracy operations with limited wartime roles.
 
Mr. Patil said: “L&T defence shipbuilding capabilities have come of age with over two decades of rich experience in design, engineering and construction of complex defence platforms and three decades of track record in platform specific equipment and systems. On-time commissioning of first of the class OPV ICGS Vikram underlines excellent design and execution capabilities of L&T. In the past one year, 11 new build platforms were launched / delivered by L&T, all ahead or on schedule. Today, L&T is uniquely placed to address complete value chain of Defence Shipbuilding from design to manufacturing of critical ship equipment, modular construction and through life support.”
 
The vessel, which is approximately 97m long, 15m wide, has 3.6m draught, 2,140 T displacement and a range of 5,000 NM. It can attain a sustained speed of up to 26 knots.
 
The OPVs are built with Integrated Platform Management System to enable special control capabilities generally integrated in larger warships like frigates and destroyers. The vessels are fitted with front propulsion pods for providing an ability of high manoeuvrability. The entire design and construction process has been certified by American Bureau of Shipping as well as Indian Registrar of Shipping and overseen by the Indian Coast Guard’s resident team at Kattupalli. Further the harbour and sea trials have been undertaken by the crew of ICGS Vikram, the release said.
 
Vice Admiral (Retd.)  Kannan said: “Achieving ahead of time delivery for a first of cass defence ship called for adoption of modular construction, meticulous planning and deployment of efficiency enabling digital technologies. The experienced workforce of L&T along with its vibrant project management skills achieved a high concurrency between design and production, which enabled realization of an unmatched build period of 25 months from keel laying to delivery; which is expected to be further reduced in the subsequent follow on OPVs.”
 
Commissioning of ICGS Vikram has come in quick succession to handing over of another major vessel Floating Dock (FDN-2) in March 2018 to the Indian Navy for deployment at Port Blair. Out of 54 Interceptor Boats ordered by Indian Coast Guard, L&T has already delivered 38 boats up to two years ahead of schedule and has completed the construction of remaining 16 boats. All these vessels were indigenously designed, developed and manufactured, the release said.
 
Construction of follow-on OPVs is progressing ahead of schedule at Kattupalli shipyard. OPV-2 has been launched and is being readied for harbour and sea trials. L&T is also undertaking various refits and repairs of Naval and Coast Guard vessels, the release added.
 
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Chennai gripped by protests ahead of IPL clash

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Protests flared in Chennai on Tuesday as people demanding a Cauvery Management Board took to the streets against an IPL match to be played between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at night.
 
Even as the rival teams made it to the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium - popularly known as Chepauk Stadium - through the back gate, the complex turned into a fortress with the deployment of hundreds of police personnel, many in riot gear. 
 
All roads leading to the stadium also came under a blanket of security to prevent anti-IPL activists from spoiling the show. Groups of protesters kept moving towards the cricket stadium from various lanes shouting slogans.
 
A helicopter circled the sky over the stadium.
 
Police took into custody members of various Tamil groups. Many raised slogans against the Modi government for not constituting the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and the Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee (CWRC) as mandated by the Supreme Court.
 
Protests on the arterial Anna Salai threw traffic out of gear. 
 
With the match set to start at 8 p.m., some demonstrators released black balloons into the sky in a sign of protest. Also taken into custody were some protesters who tried to lay siege to the cricket stadium.
 
Tamil movie celebrities like director Bharathirajaa also hit the streets demanding justice for Tamil Nadu vis-a-vis Karnataka, the two states which are locked in a dragging row over the river water.
 
Police have said all spectators will be frisked thoroughly before being let into the stadium.
 
On Monday, authorities announced unprecedented security arrangements for the Indian Premier League (IPL) match.
 
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The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has banned spectators from bringing mobile phones, remote control car-key or any electronic devices, bags, briefcases, pagers, radios, digital diaries, laptops, computers, tape-recorders and even binoculars.
 
The banned list also includes musical instrument, video cameras, digital cameras, crackers, inflammable materials, firearms and ammunition, edibles, thermos flasks, water jugs, bottles, cigarettes, beedis, match boxes, lighters, razors, scissors, mirrors and glass, knifes and batteries.
 
The use of mobile phones, transistors, computers, cameras or any other audio visual recording equipment for recording and for communication the match details, statistics and images has also been prohibited.
 
Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said it was for the organisers to decide whether to cancel the match or not and it was for the people to decide whether to boycott the match or not.
 
On Tuesday, however, the IPL organisers decided to allow spectators to carry mobile phones into the stadium - when it became clear that a ban on mobile phone would keep people away from the complex.
 
IANS
 
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Security for Chennai IPL match in top gear

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The city police has laid down multi-layered security to prevent any untoward incident during the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) here on Tuesday evening.
 
According to officials, around 4,000 police personnel have been deployed for security.
 
Several fringe elements have threatened to agitate against the IPL match in protest against the central government not constituting the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee (CWRC) as mandated by the Supreme Court.
 
Protests are being planned near the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk. The situation around the stadium now is calm.
 
A group in the Tamil movie industry, led by Director Bharathirajaa, R.K. Selvamani and V. Sekar, floated an association called Tamil Panpaattu Peravai on Monday here.
 
They told reporters that holding an IPL match when the state was fighting for Cauvery river water was an attempt to divide the youth.
 
Bharathirajaa said they will hold a protest against the match. Some political parties too have called for axing the match.
 
Earlier, DMK leader M.K. Stalin said the organisers of the IPL matches should understand the people's problems. But he said the DMK was not against holding the IPL matches.
 
Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) chief Thol Thirumavalavan had also sought a ban on IPL matches in Tamil Nadu.
 
Spectators have also been told not to dishonour the Indian flag. No food or drink from outside will be permitted.
 
The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has banned spectators from bringing mobile phones, remote control car keys or any electronic devices, bags, briefcases, pagers, radios, digital diaries, laptops, computers, tape-recorders and even binoculars.
 
The banned list also includes musical instruments, video cameras, digital cameras, crackers, inflammable materials, firearms and ammunition, edibles, thermos flasks, water jugs, bottles, cigarettes, beedis, match boxes, lighters, razors, scissors, mirrors and glass, knives and batteries.
 
The use of mobile phones, transistors, computers, cameras or any other audio visual recording equipment for recording and for communication the match details, statistics and images has also been prohibited.
 
IANS
 
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Centre obliged to implement Cauvery award: SC

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The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Central government for not framing a scheme to implement its verdict on the sharing of Cauvery river water as it declined its plea for deferring the issue by three months.
 
Asking the government to draft the scheme by May 3, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: "You must show your bonafide that you will frame a scheme to respect the top court order for the distribution of water."
 
"You must file it... they are bound to do it and obliged to it," Chief Justice Misra told Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal.
 
As Venugopal said there was some difficulty and they were examining whether the scheme should be headed by an administrative or a technical member, the court said it was not concerned with all that.
 
After senior counsel for Karnataka said that both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have accepted the top court verdict, the bench said "then tell the people of both the states to maintain calm and peace and co-operate".
 
Citing the upcoming election to the Karnataka Assembly and seeking clarifications, the Central government had sought three months' time to frame the scheme.
 
Appearing for Tamil Nadu, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade said: "Your order was so clear that even a person having even elementary knowledge of English could understand it. But for reasons better known to the Union of India, they can't understand it."
 
Tamil Nadu moved the top court seeking contempt proceedings against the Central government for its "wilful disobedience" in carrying out its direction to set up a Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) as directed by the top court.
 
The Supreme Court by its February 16 verdict had slightly modified the 2007 Cauvery award and directed the Central government to frame a scheme for its implementation by March 29.
 
Tamil Nadu had moved the top court on March 31. At the same time, the Central government too had moved the top court by filing the clarification petition.
 
The top court had reduced Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery water from 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC), which was less than 192 TMC allocated by a tribunal in 2007. Karnataka's share of water was increased by 14.75 TMC.
 
IANS
 
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IPL: Chennai beat Mumbai by one wicket in thriller

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A heroic effort from Kedar Jadhav at the end helped Chennai Super Kings edged past three-time champions Mumbai Indians by one wicket in the opening match of the 11th Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament here on Saturday.
 
Needing seven runs in three balls, Jadhav (24 not out) who got retired hurt, scooped a six over short fine leg and then slammed a boundary at covers off Mustafizur Rahman to clinch a thriller for his team.
 
Mumbai's middle-order batsman Dwayne Bravo (68 off 30), also played a brilliant innings towards the end but could not took his team to the finishing line as he was dismissed in the second last over by Jasprit Bumrah.
 
Chasing a decent score of 166, Chennai openers started the proceedings on a positive note.
 
Shane Watson (16) played his shots while Ambati Rayudu (22) rotated the strike. But after adding 27 runs in four overs, medium pacer Hardik Pandya dismissed Watson.
 
Incoming batsmen Suresh Raina (4) also struggled in the middle but Rayudu kept on scoring runs at the other end. Soon Raina was also sent packing in the sixth over by Pandya. 
 
In the very next over, Rayudu was sent back to the pavilion by spinner Mayank Markande.
 
Now with scoreboard reading 42/3, middle-order got exposed and batsmen like Kedar Jadhav (14 retired hurt), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5) and Ravindra Jadeja (12) failed to rise to the occasion and were dismissed cheaply.
 
Towards the end, Bravo smashed the Mumbai bowlers all around the park and also narrowed the gap of runs but lack of support from the other end cost hugely but in the end Jadhav made it easy as he took his team to the finish line.
 
For Mumbai, Markander scalped three wickets while Pandya took two.
 
Earlier, Mumbai Indians posted 165/4 in 20 overs. Suryakumar Yadav (43 off 29 deliveries), Krunal Pandya (41 not out off 22), Ishan Kishan (40 off 29) and Hardik Pandya (22 not out off 20) were the main contributors for the hosts.
 
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After CSK captain Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first, these four Mumbai batsmen helped the hosts recover from a poor start which resulted from the dismissals of openers Ervin Lewis (0) and Rohit Sharma (15) inside 20 runs.
 
While seamer Deepak Chahar got an LBW verdict against Lewis, Sharma was dismissed after a top-edge off veteran medium pacer Shane Watson was caught by Ambati Rayudu at backward point.
 
Ishan and Suryakumar shared 78 runs for the third wicket to pull the hosts out of trouble. But the stand was ended by Australian Watson, who got rid of the latter by having him caught by Harbhajan Singh at deep square leg in the 13th over.
 
Ishan then fell to South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, leaving his side at 113/4 in 14.4 overs.
 
Thereafter, the Pandya brothers began their partnership. Though the national team star Hardik struggled to get big hits, his elder sibling Krunal dealt some lusty blows.
 
Left-hander Krunal hit two fours and five sixes as his blitz lifted Mumbai to a challenging total at the Wankhede Stadium.
 
Brief scores: Mumbai: 165/4 (Suryakumar Yadav 43, Krunal Pandya 41 not out, Ishan Kishan 40, and Hardik Pandya 22 not out; Shane Watson (2/29), Deepak Chahar (1/13) vs Chennai 169/9 (Dwayne Bravo 68, Kedar Jadhav 24; Mayank Markande 3/23)
 
IANS
 
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Shutdown strike affects normal life in TN

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Normal life was affected in Tamil Nadu on Thursday due to a DMK-led shutdown strike over the Centre's failure to set up a Cauvery Management Board (CMB).
 
In Chennai, skeletal government buses were plying on the roads while autorickshaws stayed off. But radio taxis were available.
 
Suburban and long distance train services were also being operated as usual, a Southern Railway official told IANS.
 
There were brief protests on the rail tracks in Salem and Tirunelvelli.
 
Members of the DMK including leader M.K. Stalin along with its allies gathered on the arterial Anna Salai here and protested against the setting up the CMB.
 
In Tirunelvelli, DMK cadres protested in front of a passenger train and but the police managed to disperse them.
 
In the hosiery town Tiruppur, units were shutdown in support of the strike.
 
However petrol bunks stayed open and milk supply was not affected.
 
As per reports reaching here, shops in Erode, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram downed their shutters.
 
In neighbouring Puducherry, transport services were affected while three buses belonging to Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation were damaged.
 
The Supreme Court on February 16 reduced Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery water from 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC), which was less than the 192 TMC allocated by a tribunal in 2007. Karnataka's share of water was increased by 14.75 TMC.
 
The Centre failed to set up the CMB within six weeks of the apex court's February 16 order. The deadline ended on March 29.
 
IANS
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Hunger strike, train blockage, shops closed in TN over Cauvery issue

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Tamil Nadu on Tuesday saw hunger strikes, blocking of trains, and traders downing their shutters in protest against the Central government's failure to set up the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) despite a Supreme Court order.
 
The ruling AIADMK held a day-long hunger strike across the state with Chief Minister K.Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam sitting on fast here while in districts, the protest was led by other ministers and party leaders.
 
The protest, that began at 8 a.m., concluded 5 p.m.
 
Speaking at the venue, Palaniswami blamed rival DMK for the state not getting Cauvery waters. He said the DMK government in the state did not renew the water sharing agreement with Karnataka in 1974 which in turn resulted in the current situation.
 
Meanwhile DMK leader M.K. Stalin termed AIADMK's hunger strike as a drama.
 
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Stalin said instead of condemning the BJP-led Central government for not constituting the CMB, the AIADMK has practiced low-level politics by blaming his party and the Congress for the Cauvery issue. He said the AIADMK fast is a drama just to show that they too protested for Cauvery water.
 
The DMK and its allies, who have also called for a shut down strike on Thursday, continued their protests by blocking suburban trains. Some of the protesters were taken into custody, the police said.
 
Abiding to a call by the traders association, several shops across the state were closed.
 
The top court in its February 16 verdict had reduced the Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery water from 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC), which was less than 192 TMC allocated by a tribunal in 2007.
 
On the other hand, Karnataka's share of water was increased by 14.75 TMC.
 
The Centre has failed to set up the CMB within six weeks of the apex court's February 16 order. The deadline ended on March 29.
 
Tamil Nadu political leaders say the Bharatiya Janata Party was acting in favour of Karnataka, which is opposed to the CMB and where Assembly elections are due.
 
IANS
 
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AIADMK begins hunger strike over Cauvery issue

 
TN CM, Deputy CM begin hunger strike on Cauvery issue
 
 
Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK began their statewide hunger strike on Tuesday in protest against the Central government's failure to set up a Cauvery Management Board (CMB) despite a Supreme Court order.
 
Chief Minister K.Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam participated in the strike here, while in districts, the protest was led by other ministers and party leaders.
 
The protest that began at 8 a.m., will conclude at 5 p.m.
 
The top court by its February 16 verdict had reduced the Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery water from 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC), which was less than 192 TMC allocated by a tribunal in 2007. 
 
On the other hand, Karnataka's share of water was increased by 14.75 TMC.
 
The Centre has failed to set up the CMB within six weeks of the apex court's February 16 order. The deadline ended on March 29.
 
Tamil Nadu political leaders say the BJP is acting in favour of Karnataka, which is opposed to the CMB and where Assembly elections are due.
 
IANS
 
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