Saturday, December 31, 2005
An ambitious scheme aimed at generating employment opportunities in the rural landscape will be launched in the backward coastal district shortly, according to official sources.
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme will also be introduced in Villupuram, Nagapattinam, Tiruvannamalai, Sivaganga and Dindigul.
The government will allot over Rs 60 crore a year for the project. As per the scheme, the elected panchayat president and the local body will act as a nodal agency for implementing the scheme.
The local body will provide employment to members of a family, which requires a job, for 100 days a year.
The family members will have to enroll their names with the local body. Works such as desilting of lakes, irrigation channels, and strengthening of river bunds, canals and lakes will be undertaken as part of the project.
Work relating to tree plantation will also be taken up under the scheme. The government has banned the use of giant machines in the work.
The families, which have enrolled their names, but not received the employment in a year, are entitled to receive unemployment allowance.
The scheme had been introduced in Rajasthan and Maharashtra recently. The project would go a long way in eradicating poverty in the rural terrain, the sources said.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
By Aaron Bateman
PEOPLE living in Indian villages practically washed away by last year's devastating tsunami will soon be receiving treatment at a medical centre named after St Albans.
Building work is poised to start on the project which is the brainchild of a group of St Albans residents who raised almost £30,000 at a charity ball in March.
Paul and Nadine Gibbon of Battlefield Road, together with fellow organisers Jez and Kerry Day and Bob and Inez Rosen, have spent the intervening period narrowing down a series of charitable projects before deciding on the St Albans Medical Centre in the Cuddalore district of south-east India.
Paul said: "One of the people we met was a lady called Lorraine Page who was a Macmillan nurse on secondment in Cuddalore when the tsunami hit.
"She became so involved with the community and the relief effort there and her work took on a new direction.
"When she gave us her presentation about what's needed in the area we knew it was the right project for us becaue she was so down to earth and passionate.
"We had several really slick presentations from larger organisations but they already have some major backing.
"We were just really taken with Lorraine's grassroots' approach."
The money raised from the ball will cover the building costs and pay for a team of health workers and a doctor for at least three years.
Nadine explained that once the initial money runs out further events will be planned to ensure that the centre is a permanent one.
She added: "This is just phase one and we will do what it takes to keep the centre up and running.
"The ball may well become a bi-annual event so we can keep the fund topped up.
"We don't intend this to be a one-off and we're not going to just walk away after three years."
About 250 people were killed in Cuddalore while thousands more were injured or made homeless by the Boxing Day tsunami and relief efforts are still being hampered by ongoing flooding in the district.
Dozens of families in the area are still living in temporary accommodation.
The medical centre is expected to serve 28 villages when it opens.
In an effort to raise green belt along the coast and protect the people residing in the region, Isha Foundation has planted 5,000 saplings in six coastal hamlets in the district.
The programme was inaugurated by District Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi at Periyakuppam.
The fishing community people, including children, school students and women, participated in the programme and planted saplings along the 6-km long coastline. Volunteers of Isha Yoga Centre, Coimbatore, also took part in the event.
As many as 60 varieties of saplings were planted at Periyakuppam, Pettodai, Ayyampettai and Nanjalingampettai.
The programme was organised by Project Green Hands of Isha Foundation.
Monday, December 26, 2005
It was mangroves that saved thousands of lives in five hamlets of Pichavaram area in South India's Cuddalore district on Dec. 26 last year.
While the waters headed straight for a kill, the mangroves stood guard, and took the impact of the killer waves, shielding the villages from them. And today, with little fish at sea, fishermen are fishing in the same mangrove areas and making their livelihood.
According to Cuddalore District Collector Bedi, five of the 17 villages were saved by the mangroves.
These villages have a total of 1,228 families. When waves struck, the mangroves cut down the volume and speed of water, saving thousands of lives and property.
Liyakash Ali Khan, a village administrative officer in Pichavaram area, said that the damage could have been severe had mangroves not covered the villages. "The remaining 11 which had no mangroves suffered severe damages to life and property," he says.
In fact, the mangrove trees themselves did not suffer serious damage either. Only a few trees got uprooted, securing the inner areas. Also, many fishermen at sea rushed and took shelter in the mangroves.
what bliss have the mangroves been? Well, compare the five villages to the remaining unprotected Pichavaram villages and you can see the difference.
Hundreds of lives have been lost in the area. One of the villages, Pillumedu, alone lost 30 children and 13 adults, another neighboring village lost about 150 people. Other villages also lost dozens of lives. Their shelters were washed away and they lost their homes, livestock and livelihood.
Groundnut fields also suffered some damage in unprotected areas. Now, the Cuddalore administration and non-governmental organizations are busy reconstructing lives of affected Pichavaram areas while people from the protected ones look on and thank the mangroves for saving their lives.
Pichavaram, India's mangroves area, has 16 varieties of angiosperms and attracts tourists from all over the country.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Actor Vivek Oberoi is a real life hero for Devanampattinam, a fishing village in Tamil Nadu where he helped villagers find the rhythm of life after last year's disastrous tsunami.
Squatting on the cemented floor of his hut built by Vivek soon after the Dec 26, 2004, disaster, Velumurgan, 16, told IANS: "The actor helped us stand up when we were down. He promised to help us start walking again."
The teenager quickly added: "But Vivek never came back again."
Following the devastation in the village, 10 km away from Cuddalore town, Vivek built 100 huts at a location nearly two kilometres away from the coast under his project called "Hope".
The administration has also built 200 huts at the same location.
A total of some 2,500 people live in these huts, most of which have palm leaves for roofs. The others have cemented sheets as roofing and steel sheets as walls.
Muthuraman, the district coordinator for the NGO Mata Amritanandamayi Math, which has been associated with the rehabilitation work, said: "Vivek completed the first two stages of rehabilitation work quickly. First relief and rescue and, second, providing temporary shelter.
"He also wanted to be involved in the third stage - to provide livelihood support and permanent shelter.
"But he left his work half done because of his clash with the state government and interference of others engaged in rehabilitation work. Seeing him attracting attention, they wanted him away from the place as soon as possible."
The government had accused Vivek of drawing "maximum publicity" for doing "nothing tangible".
Following that, the Bollywood star moved his housing project to neighbouring Pondicherry, where he recently completed reconstruction of nearly 100 dwellings.
In Cuddalore district, where around 500 people perished in the tsunami waves, the administration has still not been able to complete the 642 brick-and-mortar houses it undertook for construction.
These are expected to be ready by the middle of January - in time for the Pongal festival.
Admitting that rains had seriously hampered the construction of permanent shelters, Cuddalore district collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi said: "We are racing against time to complete the houses."
Many villagers, while being grateful to Vivek, are not happy with the palm leaf roofs.
"This is not sufficient to prevent rain water from seeping into our huts. When it rains, we go to a nearby temple," said 45-year-old Umaya, who sent her daughter Bhubaneswari, 22, to stay with her brother in Chennai because of the difficult living conditions in the village.
Though the government-built huts seem better, the low ground level makes them unsuitable during monsoon.
Anpalagan, 70, said: "These huts look solid comparatively. But when it rains, water enters because of their low ground level. It creates water-logging because of the way they have been made."
Silent processions, tree planting, inauguration of memorials and inter-faith prayers will mark the first anniversary of the December 26 Black Sunday when the tsunami took more than 640 human lives and destroyed the livelihood of thousands in Cuddalore.
The district administration has made arrangements to set up six stalls on Silver Beach here to market products made by tsunami-affected women through self-help groups from December 23 to 26.
On December 26, saplings will be planted at MGR Thittu, Parangipettai and C Pudupettai in memory of the dead. Memorial pillars and gardens will be opened in Ayyampettai, MGR Thittu, C Pudukuppam, C Pudupettai, Kumarapettai, Samiarpettai and Devanampattinam. A silent procession will be taken out by villagers from affected hamlets. Authorities will hand over 20 FRP boats to 100 beneficiaries.
An inter-faith prayer meeting, photo exhibition, relay torch march from Pondicherry, yoga and karate demonstrations will also be held.
An enterprising man has decided to swim from Pondicherry to Cuddalore with his hands tied to express solidarity. A candle lighting ceremony will be held at Devanampattinam in the evening.
MGR Thittu was a beautiful little island on the Bay of Bengal till it was devastated by the tsunami.
Sixty-four people were killed and the island was reduced to rubble.
In the caste ridden district of Tamil Nadu where there are deep divides and recurring tension between communities, it was the poor dalit farmers in the neighbouring village who came to the rescue of the more prosperous fishing community.
They provided them with food, shelter and clothing and helped them begin a new life in temporary government shelters.
Time to reciprocate
The recent floods in Cuddalore provided tsunami survivors an opportunity to reciprocate.
When the villagers who helped them during the tsunami were marooned in the floodwaters, the fishing community swung into action.
They rescued over a thousand villagers with the help of boats and provided them with all the essential supplies till the waters receded.
"Even though people look at the caste first, they forgot all the differences and saved us and looked after us in a humane way," said a tsunami survivor.
Joy of giving
The district administration will soon convert this island in ruins into a tsunami museum and these remains will certainly tell a new story of the new bridges of friendship.
The tsunami rendered thousands of people homeless. While many of their basic requirements have not been met even after one year, it has had a different impact on the people who lived in picture perfect post card setting.
They have become more generous and have discovered the joy of giving, even while they themselves are at the receiving end.
Rows of new shining fiber boats sit on the beach. The hapless fishermen look agonizingly at the rough sea. Less than a year after the devastating tsunami, the worst monsoon rains and floods in 100 years have hit southern Tamil Nadu state, slowing recovery efforts and stamping on morale. "It's nature's second blow to us," says Natrajan, a fisherman in Cuddalore district, who uses only one name.
The heavy downpours began in October, ending five years of drought in Tamil Nadu, but the water seems to be chasing millions of people along the coastline, compounding their misery when they're already struggling to overcome the trauma of the Dec. 26 tsunami. The tsunami killed some 648 people in Cuddalore. The official death toll across India was 10,749. Another 5,640 people, mostly in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, are listed as missing, presumed dead.
The tsunami also sucked away the fishermen's boats and nets and destroyed their homes, leaving thousands with nowhere to live and no means of working. After sitting idle for four months, the Cuddalore fishermen received 1,500 new reinforced plastic and wooden boats from aid agencies. At first, their catches were good, even beyond the pre-tsunami yield, says Gagandeep Singh Bedi, the top district official. But for the past two and a half months, the catch has been extremely small because heavy rain and storms have kept the fishermen on land.
The fishermen are hoping that the January-March season, which often brings prawns, squid and expensive varieties of fish, will mean good profits from exports to Europe. For now, though, they're just waiting out the rain. The latest monsoon deluges have killed 430 people and left a half million homeless in Tamil Nadu alone. The wet season, which began in October, typically runs until the first week of January.
Twenty-two of the state's 30 districts have been hit by monsoon floods, including Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, the districts also worst-hit by the tsunami. Cuddalore has received 13.45 centimeters (5.30 inches) of rain since October, more than double the annual average, according to the Madras Meteorological Department.
The rains have also slowed efforts to move tsunami survivors into permanent housing, meaning that thousands of people are forced to continue living in water-logged temporary shelters with dirt floors and walls made of corrugated cardboard.
State authorities had planned to hand over 1,200 newly built homes to tsunami survivors in Cuddalore district to mark a year since the disaster next Monday, but the rains have delayed that plan by at least five weeks, Bedi said, reports the AP.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Arko Datta who won the World Press Photo Award 2004 for his photograph taken in Cuddalore during tsunami had won the award once earlier in 2002 for his photographs covering Gujarath riots.Here is the pic which got him the award earlier.
Monday, December 19, 2005
India's meteorological department issued a cyclone alert in South India's Cuddalore district Monday, and predicted heavy rains in Chennai and northern areas of Tamil Nadu over the next two days.
The deep depression over the Bay of Bengal is likely to cross Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and reach Andhra Pradesh by Tuesday morning.
Squalls are expected in coastal areas of Tamil Nadu. The administration is taking all measures to ensure that no untoward incident, like Sunday's stampede, happens, news channel Doordarshan reported here.
At least 43 people died on Sunday at a government school in a stampede that happened when people, who had gathered there to collect flood relief-materials, started running around to take shelter from rain.Heavy rains recently lashed and flooded Chennai and surrounding areas causing residents to suffer greatly.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Saturday, December 17, 2005
TSUNAMI A YEAR ON : THE WAVE TOOK TEH BABY. SHE WAS A MONTH OLD, WE HADN'T NAMED HER YET
By Brian Mciver In India
AMID the shards of broken boats and crooked branches on the beaches of Cuddalore, sits a small shack house which has been cut in half and now lies open to the mercy of the sea.
Young fisherman Kalaimaran stands outside the shack gathering wood for repairs, and points to the leaves of a coconut tree standing a good 30 feet high next to what remains of his family home.
"The wavewas taller than that tree," he says. Nearby, a tired and sad looking man called Garandhar and his friend Neelam are standing ontwowooden slats they are shoving out to sea, an elderly woman further down the road is carrying large bowls of cementup a ladder while a young girl is fretting around a shiny piece of sari cloth.
This is how life is moving on for the survivors of the Boxing Day tsunami which devastated parts of Asia last year - the people here work hard so they don't have time to stop and dwell on what, and who, they have lost.
In the area of Cuddalore in south-east India, hundreds of farming and fishing community families saw relatives disappear when the water washed over the beach, smashing homes and destroying fields and fishing nets.
More than 600 people in this small community died on December 26 last year as the knock-on effect from the Sumatran earthquake displaced 10,000 square kilometres of sea bed and created the deadliest tidal wave in living memory.
It washed over every coastline on the Indian Ocean perimeter with tremendous speed - killing thousands of people in Indonesia,Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.
And as the first anniversary of the terrible tragedy approaches, the Daily Record joined Scots overseas aid agency SCIAF to visit the worst affected areas in India, where a total of 8010 people were killed on the mainland.
The parts of India worst affected were in the regions of Kerela, Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where areas like Cuddalore saw entire ways of life and generations of families washed away.
And that is never more evident than on the beach town of Devanampattinam when you look at the home of 27-year-old fisherman Kalaimaran.
He was working when the tsunami hit. Luckily, he managed to escape, but saw the impact of the wave when it hit the beach and saw his house destroyed, killing his mother Lakshmi.
He said: "I saw everyone running away when the wave hit.
"Now, this is all that is left of my house but my mother was inside it when the tsunami came. I never saw her again.
"I have been living in what is left of the house because I have nowhere else to go.
"I hope to get a new house because I cannot sleep living this close to the sea any more."
Kalaimaran is just one of the people hoping to benefit from a new housing project he helped build which is to be opened by Boxing Day this year.
Here, local people mix with labourers, and men and women work together to try to rebuild their town.
Just along the road from Kalaimaran's home, fishermen Garandhar and Neelam are launching their catamaran fishing boat, which is basically two large logs of wood stuck together, which they sail out to sea to throw their nets and hope for a catch.
Since the tsunami, they have been spending more and more time on the water because they say the fish stock has dwindled following the disaster.
But it's not the fishing problems that bothers these men.Neelam lost his sister, while Garandhar can't even offer prayers for the name of his lost relative. He said: "My wife was holding our one month old granddaughter when the tsunami hit land.
"The wave washed the baby away out to sea.We had not even given her a name yet.
"Nothing has been the same since that day. We are all terrified of the sea now."
Although there could be no community on earth which could cope with a 30 foot wall of fast moving water, the parts of India which have been affected were already among the poorest and most vulnerable areas in the region.
The heat is almost unbearable in this part of the world, and stray dogs and goats roam through the small mud dried streets and lanes of the smallest towns.
Every building or home here shows the scars of the tsunami, as do the people of the coastlines who are all still mourning their lost friends and relatives.
Families live in small wooden houses and survive by fishing and selling their catch at market, or by farming the land and growing vegetables and herbs.
Any spare money goes towards educating the children and there are very rarely any insurance policies, contingency plans or pots of rupees in case of an emergency.
So when the wave destroyed homes and people's way of life, people were left homeless with nothing but whatever they could grab at a second's notice and no means of making any kind of living.
But farmer Salthyvani, 48, is now back working on her farm after some charitable intervention, and she said she is very grateful to Scots for their help and donations.
She said: "We had nothing left after the tsunami, but we received a lot of help from around the world andwe are all very grateful to the people of Scotland for helping us when we needed it most.
"I was on my farm when the tsunami came, it was higher than the trees in the fields, and I broke my leg trying to run away with my children.
"Our fields were destroyed because the salt water killed the crops, but with help, we are now fertilising the land again and have crops of jasmine and onions to sell at market."
Local farm girl Suleka was one of the lucky children who had left the town to get an education in the nearest city Chennai, and was studying for her final exams last December when she got news of her family.
The wave had washed inland to her family farm and killed her grandfather Kathguarayon while her father Ramonatha was also caught in the wave. He was impaled on an onrushing branch and was hospitalised for weeks.
The family's tragedy, along with their salinated crops, meant the 18-year-old girl had to return home.
Although she later sat - and passed - her exams, she had to give up her place in further education to look after her family.
And Suleka is one of the people who has benefited directly from some of the millions of pounds raised by Scots to help with the relief and recovery effort.
Scottish aid agency SCIAF directed £2.2m of funds to the tsunami hit countries, and their sister network Caritas India used some of that to open up training and counselling centres in this area.
Suleka is one of the success stories of the rehabilitation programme. She was traumatised by what happened to her family, but she enrolled in local textile classes to learn tailoring and is now hoping to start her own business.
Suleka said: "The tsunami was one of the worst things you could ever imagine happening to your family.
"I lost my grandfather and thought my own father would die too.
"I found it very hard to cope with what had happened, but I now join the other women of the village for textile classes.
"Everyone here lost someone in the tsunami so we talk to each other about it, and share our stories. It has been like therapy for all of us, and it has really helped me to come to terms with what happened.
"And I am now learning to be a tailor so I can support my family and start my own business.
"My family tried to get me into an arranged marriage to help, but I want to do this myself."
#To help support the work of SCIAF, you can find out more or donate by calling 0141 354 5555 or visiting www.sciaf.org.ukCourtesy:DailyRecord UK
Friday, December 16, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Things should not stop with this.They have occupied the land and brought agony to public.They must be made to hold the liability.I dont think any such law provision exists in India to make encroachers liable for their illegal activity.Even if there exists one none of the governments or administrations makes use of it.Like Polluter Pays Principle there must be Encroacher Pays Principle.If governments or judicial system has soft corner towards them its equivalent to encouraging them.
In India it is common sight to see encroachers reoccuping land within few days or even hours after the enviction.This reflects the ineffectiveness of the entire system.
Even interesting is the case if the public land is occupied for religious needs.Some argue that demolishing such occupied structures hits the religious sentiments of the people.Certain group of organisations always to ready to back such arguers.Even distressing were the verdicts of the courts in such cases.
In Cuddalore the situation is much the same.There are several instances where encroachers have transfered government property into their own.Particularly in Nellikuppam Road most shops and work-shops between Hospital Road and Semandalam are on such occupied land.Most of these shops were inundated a few weeks back.
There is a proposal to rise and strengthen the bunds on Gedilam river and to construct a new road over that.So the present situation can be well utilised by the district administration to remove those encroachments and kick start the proposed project.Let us see how the Collector Mr.GanadeepSingh Bedi handles this.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
- At room temperature, vinyl chloride is a colorless, highly flammable, potentially explosive gas.
- The primary target of vinyl chloride acute exposure is the CNS. Signs and symptoms include dizziness, ataxia, inebriation, fatigue, numbness and tingling of the extremities, visual disturbances, coma, and death.
- Chronic exposure can cause permanent liver injury and liver cancer, neurologic or behavioral symptoms, and changes to the skin and bones of the hand.
Inhalation is the primary route of exposure, and vinyl chloride is readily absorbed from the lungs. Its odor threshold is too high to provide an adequate warning of hazardous concentrations. The odor of vinyl chloride becomes detectable at around 3,000 ppm and the OSHA PEL is 1 ppm (8-hour TWA). Therefore, workers can be overexposed to vinyl chloride without being aware of its presence. A 5-minute exposure to airborne concentrations of 8,000 ppm can cause dizziness. As airborne levels increase to 20,000 ppm, effects can include drowsiness, loss of coordination, visual and auditory abnormalities, disorientation, nausea, headache, and burning or tingling of the extremities. Exposure to higher concentrations of vinyl chloride for longer durations can cause death, presumably due to central nervous system (CNS) and respiratory depression. The gas is heavier than air and can cause asphyxiation in poorly ventilated or enclosed spaces.
Children exposed to the same levels of vinyl chloride as adults may receive a larger dose because they have greater lung surface area:body weight ratios and increased minute volumes:weight ratios. In addition, they may be exposed to higher levels than adults in the same location because of their short stature and the higher levels of vinyl chloride found nearer to the ground.
Vinyl chloride gas inhalation can cause mild respiratory tract irritation, wheezing, and chemical bronchitis. These effects are transient and resolve quickly following removal from exposure. Death may result from respiratory depression.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have classified vinyl chloride as a known human carcinogen. Vinyl chloride has caused angiosarcoma of the liver in heavily exposed.
Reproductive and Developmental Effects
Vinyl chloride is included in Reproductive and Developmental Toxicants, a 1991 report published by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) that lists 30 chemicals of concern because of widely acknowledged reproductive and developmental consequences. However, there is no conclusive evidence of reproductive or developmental effects in humans. A few case reports describe decreased libido or fertility in men with chronic occupational exposure, and some animal studies also support this finding. Some studies in experimental animals have reported developmental toxicity associated with high-dose exposures, but vinyl chloride is not considered a developmental toxicant.
Special consideration regarding the exposure of pregnant women is warranted, since vinyl chloride has been shown to be a genotoxin; thus, medical counseling is recommended for the acutely exposed pregnant women.
For more information log on to http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/MHMI/mmg20.html
In the following posts I will bring in more details from a report by Dr.Mark Chernaik
Chemplast Sanmar Limited has clarified that the proposed new PVC Project at Cuddalore SIPCOT would not affect health or cause pollution hazards as claimed by community groups and environmentalists.
Following the news report that appeared on News Today dated 9 December, the company claimed the project clearance had been given by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests only after taking into consideration the observation made in the public hearing and the apprehensions raised by some of the environmental groups.
The company maintains that there is no violation of the EIA notification 1994, as the setting up of the de-salination plant and captive power plant in the plan as per the direction of the Technical Committees had been approved only after assessing their impact.
The company also denied Vinly Chloride Monomer is not an explosive or carcinogenic. Chemplast further said it was not correct to state that International Finance Corporation (IFC) abandoned the project on the basis of the opposition to the project at the public hearing in Cuddalore.
It added that due to delay in getting the approvals, the company requested IFC to put the project on hold.The last public hearing conducted in Cuddalore was on 7 June, 2002. After that the company relocated its proposal to setup its new PVC plant to Krishnapatnam in Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh. In 1999, the Sernmankuppam Panchayat, within the jurisdiction of which SIPCOT Phase II lies, passed a resolution prohibiting the setting up of polluting or water-intensive industries in that complex.
People Condemn Govt. Nod to Chemplast's Poison Plastic Factory
Environmental and community groups have condemned the clearance granted by the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests to Chemplast Sanmar's controversial proposal to set up a PVC factory in SIPCOT Cuddalore. Cuddalore residents and environmental groups have said they will fight the proposal in the courts and in public fora. PVC is a poison plastic whose production, usage and disposal are associated with the release of a variety of life-threatening poisons including dioxins and furans.
The project clearance is illegal for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the decision was taken based on an outdated Environmental Impact Assessment prepared using 1999 data. The EIA is fundamentally flawed, and the project has several new components whose environmental impacts have neither been assessed nor understood. A desalination plant and a captive power plant have been added to the project. Both have significant environmental impacts, but neither have been assessed for their impacts, in violation of the EIA Notification, 1994. Additionally, the factory will use explosive and carcinogenic Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) as raw material and will be located adjacent to a rocket fuel manufacturing facility. A mishap in one factory could snowball into a major disaster owing to the proximity of the two factories storing large quantities of explosive chemicals to residential areas.
The proposal was initially mooted in 2002. But the company relocated its proposal to Krishnapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, after Cuddalore residents expressed their opposition to the factory at a Government-held public hearing and forced one of the project financiers, the International Finance Corporation, to abandon the project. Krishnapatnam villagers too rejected Chemplast after a delegation visited Mettur to see first-hand the company's track record. Until late 2004, the company was unable to secure permission from the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board. In April 2005, the project proposal was revived in Tamilnadu, and the Government granted it a "No Objection Certificate" without consulting with public despite the project's history of rejections by communities.
Chemplast is a major polluter with a poor track record of environmental compliance. In July 2005, the Indian People's Tribunal chaired by Justice (Retd) Akbar B. Kadri of the Madras High Court found the company's Mettur facilities guilty of discharging toxic effluents into the Kaveri, degrading several thousand acres of farmland, contaminating groundwater and affecting the health of villagers and workers.
The decisions by the State Government and the Ministry of Environment & Forests shows how all political parties are united when it comes to supporting corporations and ignoring the sentiments of local communities. Pollution-impacted villagers in Cuddalore have pleaded for a ban on the setting up of polluting factories in SIPCOT owing to the over-polluted nature of the industrial estate and its location within residential areas. Indeed, the State Human Rights Commission, the Indian People's Tribunal, leaders of various political parties including the PMK, MDMK, and the local DMK MLA Mr. Pugazhenthi have conveyed their opposition to the setting up of polluting units in SIPCOT. The factory has been approved despite resolutions against such units by the Panchayat and the Panchayat Union. However, rather than clean up the region and make it safe for residents, the Government has announced plans to relocate several more polluting units including dyeing and tanning units to SIPCOT Cuddalore.
(In Chennai) Shweta Narayan 9444024315/ Nityanand Jayaraman 9444082401
M. Nizamudeen in Cuddalore 9443231978
Just as life is limping back to normal in the flood-hit areas of Cuddalore and Chennai, yet another "severe depression" -- named Fanoos -- is poised in the Bay of Bengal southeast of Chennai, threatening to make landfall somewhere between Nagapattinam and Chennai, i.e. Cuddalore. In Cuddalore, AID-India and Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation are liaising with the SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors to distribute relief material to those hardest hit by the floods.
In the vicinity of the SIPCOT Chemical industrial area, Sonnanchavadi and Semmankuppam villages were worst hit. Some houses in Sangolikuppam and Eachangadu were marginally affected. Our relief efforts, therefore, focused on these villages.
Sonnanchavadi registered 100 percent damage. All 90 households were severely damaged or had several feet of standing water inside. Sonnanchavadi is a fishing village, and among the poorest in the region. Many of the huts could not withstand the onslaught of nature's fury. The families were staying in temporary shelters, in temples, the local school and houses outside that were not severely damaged. Over the last few days, people repaired some of the houses to allow them to return home. However, if Fanoos hits again, the villagers are likely to be out in the water once again. The school, where SACEM workshops are usually held, is totally washed out. This village is likely to require concerted near-term assistance, because most of the families are below-poverty line, and are unlikely to recover anytime soon given that fishing has not returned to normal yet. According to SACEM member and fisherman S. Pugazhenthi, Uppanar river is heavily silted up. As a result, fish catch has dwindled. Those who venture out to fish barely make Rs. 20 for a day's fishing. "It will take a few weeks after the rains stop for the tide to flush out the silt, and only then will fishing return to normal," says Pugazhenthi. Less than a year ago, Sonnanchavadi fishermen lost gear and craft to the Tsunami.
In Semmankuppam, a far better-off farming village, many houses had at least 2 feet of water. Farmers have suffered extensive crop damage, and some have lost entire year's stock of provisions in the water. Nearly 4000 acres of standing crops belonging to Semmankuppam farmers have been destroyed. According to SACEM member S. Ramanathan, the Government has surveyed the crop loss, and there is talk of distribution of compensation of Rs. 8000/acre by the State Government. Also, it is rumoured that on 10 December, interim relief of Rs. 1000 will be distributed.
Thanks to contributions from AID-India, AID-Austin, AID-Bay Area and Denny Larson of Global Community Monitor, 1385 packs containing 10 kg rice, 1240 packs of 1-litre cooking oil, and 800 blankets were distributed on a priority basis to those hardest hit.
All 90 families in Sonnanchavadi, including 3 that did not have a ration card, received complete packs containing rice, oil and blankets. In Semmankuppam, 690 kits containing rice, oil and blankets were reached to affected residents from Thachan Colony, Mettu Semmankupam and Semmankuppam village.
In Sangolikuppam, a multi-community village, only 30 huts were affected, and only marginally. However, given that many of the residents here too are at or below poverty level, it was decided to distribute smaller packs -- containing 5 kg rice and 1 litre oil -- to all 465 households.
In Eachangadu, only rice packets were distributed to 145 households.
Besides those living in the villages, we had identified stray families ostracised by the villages and living in the peripheries. About 10 such families were also given blankets. Rice and other provisions will be delivered in a couple of days.
Eachangadu -- 145 families. Only rice.
10 blankets -- People outside villages. Monday or Tuesday.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
The Cyclonic storm (FANOOS) over Southwest Bay of Bengal moved slightly westwards and lies centred at 1430hrs IST of 09th December at about 300 Kilometres East of Nagapattinam. It is likely to intensify further and move in a west northwesterly direction and cross North Tamilnadu coast between Chennai and Nagapattinam by tomorrow noon the 10th December
Photo source: https://afweather.afwa.af.mil/images/satellite/IGMSIR01_L.GIF
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the MoEF said that they were satified with the precautions taken by the promoters.
There were lots of protest againt the project by various environmental groups and local people.Scientists have spoted out various flaws in the proposed design.They have also pointed out various shortcomings in 'Environmental Impact Assesment (EIA) for the PVC plant'.
The feedstock for the PVC plant will be vinyl chloride monomer(VCM).VCM is carcinogenic compound. The initial production will be for 1.40 lakh tonnes.The production will be stepped up to 1.70 lakh tonnes on a later stage.
Chemplast puts that the unit will be a "zero discharge unit"(certainly not going to be the case).It adds that it will not use ground water but setup a desalination plant to process seawater. An 8 MW power plant will be part of the Cuddalore complex, to come up in the SIPCOT industrial
Saturday, December 03, 2005
All these chairs are washed away. There were similar chair arrangements before the tsunami. But shore looked bare after it. Collector Mr.GagandeepSingh Bedi must have taken much effort to get the chairs from donors. But everything is lost for the second time.
Anyway beach without these chairs will be even more beautiful. To me beaches should be a place untouched by any sort of human interference. In recent years there has been many (so called) developments in the Silver Beach Area. Sandscape of the beaches should left without any sort of construction work. Beaches are beautiful by itself one cannot make it more beautiful.
The following news item was originally from NDTV on 29th of November
President A P J Abdul Kalam assured Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa of the Centre's support to the state in coping with the flood situation.
He also said he will undertake an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas of Cuddalore district on December 1.
Welcoming his visit and the assurance of support from the President, the Chief Minister told Kalam that she would make a detailed presentation to him on the flood situation.
She also promised to make available details of the extent of damage caused to property and crops and the relief operations undertaken by her government. (PTI)
© NDTV 2005
For a district that literally means 'town by the sea', Cuddalore is completely at sea battling the merciless rain god.
Take for example, the 5,000 villagers in Perampet, for whom water is now associated with death, destruction, disease and misery.
Three thousand hectares of cultivable land, where farmers grew paddy, drumsticks, flowers and bananas, have been under water since 25 October.
Three spells of heavy rainfall have meant that the water had no chance to dry up. "People are just managing to save their lives. We have lost crops, cattle and fishing nets," says a villager.
Three villages ahead of Perampet have been cut off for several days now and boats are the only lifeline left. And the situation is pretty much the same even closer to the district headquarters.
"We have lost all our household goods. We have just managed to come out alive," explains a villager who belongs to the Alapakkam panchayat.
Relief supplies are being brought in to the affected areas but with thousands of people rendered homeless, it is an uphill task for the district administration.
"During tsunami we had to attend to only 50 villages but in these floods, the administration's focus is on a large area of 420 villages of which 383 are affected in a big way,'' said Gagandeep Singh, Collector, Cuddalore.
Cuddalore suffers every time there is heavy rainfall in Tamil Nadu's catchment areas because five major rivers pass through the district before flowing into the sea. But geography alone cannot be a crime to push Cuddalore on to the road.
© NDTV 2005
Over 100,000 people have been made homeless in southern Tamil Nadu after the heaviest rains in 50 years lashed the area.
The worst devastation occurred in Cuddalore district where 500 villages have been left under water and most parts are without power. News channel NDTV reported that six lakes in the area are overflowing.
Authorities have reportedly evacuated around 100,000 people and distributed food packets to survivors. If the weather improves, authorities say it will take at least 10 days for the water to recede. The army is expected to help with rescue and relief work.
World Vision Emergency Response and Disaster Mitigation Director Franklin Joseph reported that, "Apart from the Cuddalore and Nagapattinam tsunami locations, four other ADPs [World Vision Area Development Programs] in Tamil Nadu are affected by the floods." These include Mannargudi, Karikudi , Usilampatty and Perambalur ADPs.
World Vision staff whose homes were also affected by flooding are struggling to provide relief in the target areas. "We are using the self-help groups and village development committees to carry out the relief," reported Christabel Albert, Associate Director, Chennai. "Accessibility is the main problem now. Even our staff are stranded and they are not able to reach the communities for a situation assessment."
Community development coordinators who live in the communities arranged the initial supply of food packets and biscuits. "External aid is needed to respond to a situation of this magnitude," said Christabel.
Reporting from the flood affected villages of Perambalur where World Vision works through the Perambalur ADP, Program Manager Vani Victor said that the team had helped close to 6,000 families with food over the last two days. "We are concentrating on the most affected villages, and are looking at providing dry food by tomorrow," she said.
While the situation is not so grim in Usilampatty ADP, located in Madurai district, eight target villages are under water. All community members (nearly 300 families) from these villages are now sheltered in community halls and schools.
Assistance has been provided in coordination with the government. Over 200 bed sheets along with medicines have been provided to evacuated families.
In the tsunami-affected areas, World Vision India Tsunami Response Team are responding to the needs of the villages affected by the floods.
"We are looking at a coordinated effort in consultation with the government in each of these locations," said Franklin Joseph.© 2004 ReliefWeb