Sunday, March 26, 2006
Among the two bridges the one on the north was badly damaged and so people did not use it for more than five years.
The bridge on the south which is en route to Silver Beach, Periyar College of Arts and Science (and other historical monuments like Fort St.David, White House, Marine House,Parry House, Director's Bungalow, New Life Centre) is also ageing week.But the government was unwilling to spend it.
Thanks to tsunami and to the thoughtful district adminis- trator.A portion tsunami relief fund is being utilised to construct a new bridge near the existing one.
Constituency funds of MPs from West Bengal is being utilised for the project .The entire project is estimated at a cost just less than one crore rupees.
Water is being drained to allow construction process and to keep the water off from entering the work zone a large heap of red soil is dumped across the backwater on either side of the worksite.
Above are some of the photographs of bridge and the makeshift barrier,taken when the work started.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
This sport is no more alien for the rural population.It is intresting to come to know that a division level roller skating competition was held in Kovilpatti (must be somewhere in interior TamilNadu).This shows a brighter future for the sport in this country.
Like most other sport skating needs years of dedicated practice.What really prevents from getting into this sport is the non-availability of smooth rolling floor.There are only handful of rinks in entire the state I suppose.Chennai Corporation has rink at several places like Marina Beach,Veshweshwaraya Park-Anna Nagar.But such facility is not available in others places.
To encourage the sport in Cuddalore region,a rink must be built in Anna Stadium and another in Silver Beach.Also coaches must be appointed to train the children.So that kids from Cuddalore region does not lag behind in this sport.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Human rights, environmental and youth groups in the city Thursday took out a rally in support of the survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal. The groups are on an 800-km padayatra to New Delhi demanding justice and a life of dignity.
Representatives from pollution-hit communities in Mettur, Cuddalore and Gummidipoondi also participated in the Chennai rally from Monroe Statue to Chepauk Guest House.
A delegation of supporters from Tamilnadu will join them in the last stage of the padayatra.
More than 130 survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster began a march on foot to New Delhi on 20 February, 2006.
The walk was undertaken to demand clean water, clean environment, medical assistance and compensation.
On 10 March, members of Chennai-based youth collective 'We Feel Responsible' met the Tamilnadu Governor and handed over a petition addressed to the Prime Minister with signatures collected in support of the demands of the Bhopalis, Nityanand Jayaraman of Corporate Accountability Desk said.
Representatives from Human Rights - Tamilnadu Initiative, Penn Thozhilalar Sangam, Corporate Accountability Desk, Tamilnadu Dalit Women's Movement, Alliance for People's Movement, Tamilnadu Women's Forum, We Feel Responsible - A Youth Initiative and other organisation took part.
With a slew of greenfield refinery projects expected to be set up in the country, the crude oil refining capacity will surge to 210 million tonne (mt) per year by 2010. At present, the country’s refining capacity is 127.37 mt from 18 refineries.
Over six greenfield refinery projects are at different stages of development, while two capacity expansion projects are under way. Reliance Industries (RIL) will be a major contributor through its arm Reliance Petroleum, with a refining capacity of 60 mt in four years, industry experts said.
“Apart from RIL, Nagarjuna Oil Corporation, Essar Oil, Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) are in the fray to build-up refineries. Both IOC and RIL have started expansion in their existing refineries as well,” Deepak Mahurkar, principal consultant - oil and gas, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said.
RIL has the third largest single location refinery in the world at Jamnagar with a capacity of 33 million tonne per annum (mtpa) and accounts for 26 per cent of the country’s refining capacity.
With the new project it plans to increase capacity to 60 mtpa. Reliance Petroleum has announced its pubic issue to fund a new project in Jamnagar. The total project cost will be $6 billion.
Nagarjuna is a new entrant into the petroleum sector with their refinery at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. It will have a capacity of 6 mtpa and the commercial production is expected to start in 2008.
The investment for the project is Rs 4,000 crore. The refinery will have the flexibility to process different types of crude oil and produce multiple grade products. full story>>
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Is there a better way to help the tsunami survivors overcome their trauma than by organising a cricket match between a host of celebrities from England and the youth of fishing hamlets for whom cricket is not just a game but religion and cricketers are not players but demigods?
Understanding this rather well, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) hosted a cricket match at Samiyarpettai fishing village, about 20 km from Chennai, on Sunday for the UK-based Charity Comic Relief, between fisher folk drawn from half-a-dozen tsunami-hit coastal hamlets in Cuddalore district and British players comprising celebrities from various fields. Leading the celebrities as their coach is none other than the West Indian legend Alvin Kallicharan.
Even Kalli could not do much against the spirited local boys, who spend most of their spare time when not at sea playing barefooted cricket with tennis balls on the beach. The 'New Indian Tsunami Team' hammered the 'English attack' for 176 runs in just 20 overs losing only five wickets and thereafter bundled out the visitors for 119 in 12 overs.
Who really cared for the result when all that really mattered was the spirit of camaraderie across continents? Reflecting just that mood, the little hamlet of Samiyarpettai was decked up like a high-profile cricket Test center with banners inviting the locals to the great event.
The British team included one of the fine wicketkeepers of our times, Jack Russel and retired left arm spinner and reality television character Phil Tufnell, member of the current England women's cricket team Rosalie Birch, county cricketer Mark Chapman, broadcaster Chris Evans, BBC's anchor Jake Humphrey and popular comedian Patrick Kielty. Also there were Harry Judd, drummer for Mcfly and musician Jay Sean. The contest, watched by over 500 villagers, was done in collaboration with an Indian NGO, 'New Hope'.
"One of the objectives of the contest is to entertain the local crowd and support relief work on the less emotive side," said New Hope director Eliazar T Rose. The English visitors had arrived a couple of days ago and moved around interacting with the enthusiastic local youth in Cuddalore, a town that had witnessed over 600 deaths in the tsunami.
"We never expected that such a big event would be hosted in a small place like ours. Enthusiastic people came from several coastal villages to witness the match," said local youth Prakash. The UK team gifted the winners with a cricket kit before driving to Chennai, where it would play against the tsunami kids at Royapuram on Tuesday and move on to Mumbai to play another match against a celebrity Indian/Bollywood cricket team just before the tmillions of pounds, 66 million pounds last year, to be spent on a wide range of charity projects across the world. Every other year, Comic Relief runs a campaign titled 'Sport Relief' focusing on using sport for raising money for international children's charities.
Cuddalore, 6 March, 2006 – The Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board at 4.30 p.m. issued closure orders and disconnected the electricity to Tagros Chemicals, a manufacturer of synthetic pyrethroids, a class of highly toxic pesticides. The company, which is located in Pachaiyankuppam village, had expanded capacity illegally, and was manufacturing and exporting products that it was not authorised to produce. On November 27, 2005, the company was found dumping toxic effluents on a farmer’s land in Poondiyankuppam, a nearby village within the Semmankuppam Panchayat.
The president of the Panchayat had in December 2005 invoked a seldom used clause under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, and written to the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board and the Ministry of Environment & Forests -- “Since the Ministry of Environment & Forests and the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board seem incapable or unwilling to take any action to implement the law, I intend to prosecute Tagros Chemicals and its contractor Mr. Senthil Velan under Section 15 of the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, and under Sections 6 and 16 of the Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989. I request the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board to provide us with all the reports relating to Tagros in its possession to us. Please let us know who the occupier of the facility is, as he/she is liable under Section 16 of the Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989.”
Indian law allows citizens to write to the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board requesting it to prosecute the offender within 60 days, failing which the citizen can step in the shoes of the regulator and conduct the prosecution.
Tagros Chemicals claims to be “India’s leading manufacturer exporters of various Synthetic Pyrethroids like Cypermethrin, Permethrin, Alpha cypermethrin, Deltamethrin and various other products like Imidachloprid, Hexaconazole, Propiconazole.” This was brought to the notice of the TNPCB in August 2004, less than a month before the company was to have a statutory public hearing to seek permission for expanding capacity and introducing new products.
According to SACEM, as early as in 2004, reports from workers and residents of SIPCOT indicated that not only had Tagros completed construction for the expanded capacity, but also engaged in production, including of new products. The matter was brought to the notice of the TNPCB and the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes in September 2004, and subsequently at the public hearing on September 7, 2004. No action was taken by the TNPCB, and the company continued to manufacture and export the unauthorised products in the illegally expanded factory. In February 2005, the SCMC recommended its closure to TNPCB. The company continued to operate illegally until it was shut-down today, a year later.
In the 17 month period that it operated illegally, and despite the knowledge of the Inspector of Factories, the District Collector of Cuddalore, and the TNPCB, 6 people were injured and one killed in four serious accidents in Tagros, according to SACEM records. During the same period, the company illegally dumped toxic wastes on open land on two separate occasions.
“Gas Trouble” – a September 2004 SACEM study on SIPCOT’s air quality – reports finding 14 chemicals in one air sample taken downwind of Tagros. Cancer-causing chemicals like Carbon Tetrachloride and ethylene dichloride were found at levels 11,538 and 22,973 times higher than levels considered safe by US EPA’s Region 6 screening levels.
Interestingly, the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests seems unconcerned about the illegal expansion, or the SCMC’s recommendations for closure. A senior bureaucrat from MoEF also serves as member secretary of the SCMC. Ignoring SCMC’s recommendations, Tagros had directly submitted its application for environmental clearance to the Union Ministry, by-passing the TNPCB. Rather than take action, the MoEF is actively considering the file. Conditionally cleared by the technical committee, the MoEF currently has the “file under process.”
Tagros is not the only offender in SIPCOT, Cuddalore. The SCMC had also recommended closure orders for TANFAC, and similar complaints of toxic waste dumping and effluent spills are pending for months against Pondicherry Alum, SPIC, Loyal Super Fabrics and CUSECS.
The TNPCB remains highly inconsistent and arbitrary in the manner in which it applies the law. Tuticorin-based Sterlite Industries is operating an entire illegally constructed factory complex consisting of a 300,000 tonnes/year copper smelter, a 1,25,000 tonnes/year refiner, a power plant, an oxygen plant, and a Continuous Cast Rod unit.
But Sterlite is too well-connected to suffer Tagros’ fate. Despite repeated emphasis by the SCMC that Sterlite has both illegally expanded and endangered the environment, the TNPCB and MoEF have regularised the violation.
Sterlite’s Tuticorin smelter complex has a disturbing track record of safety. Between 1996 and 2004, at least 139 people have reportedly been injured and 13 have lost their lives in 15 incidents.
1. Tagros Chemicals caught red handed dumping hazardous waste in SIPCOT area
2. Two more industrial accidents reported from Tagros Chemicals in SIPCOThttp://www.sipcotcuddalore.com/updates_311005.html
Monday, March 13, 2006
By Condoleezza Rice
Monday, March 13, 2006;
The week before last President Bush concluded a historic agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation with India, a rising democratic power in a dynamic Asia. This agreement is a strategic achievement: It will strengthen international security. It will enhance energy security and environmental protection. It will foster economic and technological development. And it will help transform the partnership between the world's oldest and the world's largest democracy.
First, our agreement with India will make our future more secure, by expanding the reach of the international nonproliferation regime. The International Atomic Energy Agency would gain access to India's civilian nuclear program that it currently does not have. Recognizing this, the IAEA's director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, has joined leaders in France and the United Kingdom to welcome our agreement. He called it "a milestone, timely for ongoing efforts to consolidate the non-proliferation regime, combat nuclear terrorism and strengthen nuclear safety." full story>>
Sunday, March 12, 2006
CUDDALORE: The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has ordered closure of a chemical firm on charges of violating the norms of the TNPCB in the SIPCOT complex here on Monday. The power supply to the firm has also been snapped this evening.
According to sources, the TNPCB had granted permission to Tagros Chemicals India Ltd for the production of pesticide, which included alpha methrin, cyper methrin and per methrin. The firm had obtained licence for a generation capacity of 30 tonnes of the pesticide permonth (1,000 kg per day).
Violating the provisions, the plant had been producing two new products clandestinely. The unit had been developing pesticides - hexaconazole and delta methrin- without the knowledge of TNPCB at the plant. The plant was also generating pesticide more than the prescribed capacity of 1,000 kg of pesticide per day for the past few weeks.
Besides, a contractor of the unit had transported spent hydrochloric acid from the firm and dumped it on an arable land in Poondiyankuppam recently. As a result of this the fertility of the land had been severely affected .
Following intervention of local people and others the plant had extended a relief of Rs 2 lakh to the farmer.
However, the sources said, the unit was held responsible for discarding the acid on the fertile land.
The district unit of TNPCB had conducted an investigation and submitted a detailed report to the TNPCB chairman.
On Monday, the chairman gave necessary directions to the concerned officials to shut the firm immediately.
A team comprising District Environmental Engineer, TNPCB, Ka Karthikeyan, Assistant Engineer, M Malaiyandi, Assistant Executive Engineer, TNEB, Kumarasamy and Assistant Executive Engineer Adhi Moolam visited the firm and served the order.
With England are taking on India in the Test series, a celebrity team has set off for the sub-continent to take on the stars of Bollywood.
The Sport Releief Red Socks including former England spin bowler Phil Tufnell, McFly's Harry Judd and radio Dj Chris Evans.
They will also be witnessing at first hand how money raised through Sport Relief is being spent in India.
The trip is being filmed by the BBC and will be shown at the end of May.
Other cricket-mad celebrities in the Red Socks team include hip hop artist Jay Sean and television presenters Dermot O'Leary and Patrick Kielty.
And former England wicket-keeper Jack Russell and Rosalie Birch of the England women's team are also on the week-long trip, which will see them visit Chennai (Madras), Mumbai (Bombay) and Cuddalore.
You can follow their progress by logging on to www.alloutforindia.net
Sport Relief raised £16.5m 2004. This year's event will take place on 15 July.
A celebrity cricket team - comprising such luminaries as Phil Tufnell, Jack Russell and Harry Judd, the drummer from the pop group, McFly - has set off for India to take on the stars of Bollywood and raise money for Sport Relief.
The Red Socks team will be captained by Tufnell and managed by the former West Indian cricketer, Alvin Kallicharran. In addition to their match at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, they will be visiting Chennai and Cuddalore. The trip is being filmed by the BBC, and will be shown on British television at the end of May.
In 2004, Sport Relief raised £16.5m, and the team members will be able to witness at first hand how the money is being spent. This year's event will take place on July 15.
For further details on the trip, visit alloutforindia.net
© CricinfoLink suggested by Mr.Krishnakumar B.
‘Good bye faithful. Henceforth you will run on our memory rails.’
This was how a large number of commuters and railway employees who thronged the Salem Town Railway Station seemed to bid adieu to the Salem-Virudhachalam meter gauge train as they watched intently the bogies and its diesel engine being wheeled away on a special carrier.
One of the oldest train service in the country, it eventually came to an end four months ago due to gauge conversion between Salem-Cuddalore. Neither the stationmaster nor the Public Relations Officer of the Tiruchy Division (This sector comes under Tiruchy division) were able to tell when the service was introduced in the sector.
V M Ramasamy (75), president of the Salem Theater Owner’s Association and former councillor estimates that the service was introduced in 1921 between Salem and Attur and further extended to Virudhachalam and Cuddalore later.
But the Town Railway Station is much older, started on January 1, 1917. When Rajagopalachari was the Chairman of the Salem Municipality and E W Leigh was the Collector, train service was extended from Salem Junction at Sooramangalam to the Town Railway Station.
Another septuagenarian C Vayapuri, president of the United Farmers Association was active in the Salem-Virudhachalam Meter Gauge Train Commuters Association.
He had participated in several protests to improve the service like adding more boggies, more stops, more trips and extension of the service to port towns as a large numbers of farmers from Attur and Thalaivasal used the service to transport vegetables to port towns.
There are seven station master-managed stations, one run by clerks and five run by halt agents.
But Vayapuri was at pains when he was told that the trains were dismantled and taken away by the railway authorities. He remembered vividly his daily trips to Salem when the sky line was once open and one had the breathtaking views of the Shevroy Hills till Valapadi. But now the concrete jungles have marred those views, he lamented.
The Town Railway Station is still wrapped with vintage though surrounded by modernity. Time machine seem to wind backwards as one enters the shady premises.
The station master still sits in his old cabin in front of the old clock and the ageing block machines used to pull out balls that authorises the driver to go to the next station.
With the mechanical signal arm (called lower quadrant signal lighted with kerosene lamp once) still standing there, the station with old shady trees and concrete benches is irresistible for time killers and oldies.
The groundnut seller continue to do brisk business. But only the train is no more to chug in and out.
.....other major conversion projects to be completed in the next financial year are Cuddalore-Salem and Madurai-Manamdaurai-Rameswaram. In the Cuddalore-Salem project, for which the State Government is sharing 50 per cent of the cost, the section between Cuddalore and Attur has been converted. The remaining stretch will be completed in the current financial year. This project will be executed by RYNL and Rs. 80 crore had been sanctioned...
Call for simpler procedures to import looms -The Hindu
.....To meet the increasing demand, the Government had taken initiatives to set up a processing park at Cuddalore.....
Marriage in sea -The Times of India
...Premanandhan shot to fame with his long-distance swimming efforts to highlight various public issues. On the first anniversary of tsunami on December 26 last year, he swam for 24 kms from here to Devanpattinam in neighbouring Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu....
Swimmer chooses sea to get married -ChennaiOnline
...on the first anniversary of tsunami on December 26 last year, he swam for a distance of 24 kms from behind the Mahatma Gandhi statue here to Devanpattinam in neighbouring Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu to bring to focus awareness about the killer waves. ...
High Court's direction to District Collector -New Kerala
The Madras High Court today directed the Cuddalore District Collector to inquire into an allegation by an advocate pertaining to non-distribution of flood relief to farmers in two talukas in the district for not having paid "gratification" to revenue department officials.
"It is clear that there are very serious allegations against revenue officials. The Cuddalore District Collector is directed to go through the representations and conduct an inquiry," a Division Bench comprising Justice M Karpagavinayagam and Justice A R Ramalingam said while disposing of a PIL filed by a city advocate C Palanimurugan.......
Saturday, March 11, 2006
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has tightened its noose around the dyeing and bleaching units located at the Sipcot Industrial Estate in Cuddalore and Tirupur. The board has ordered the installation of an electronic display system to ensure transparency in pollution control measures full story>>
Thursday, March 09, 2006
DEVANAMPATTINAM, India, MARCH 6, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Caritas-India is turning over 648 new houses to families as part of its ongoing relief efforts in the wake of the December 2004 tsunami.
The Catholic aid organization and other ecclesial entities raced to the aid of the tsunami victims and planned their relief efforts by focusing on medium- and long-term reconstruction.
Caritas-India is working with 300 village communities in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and the Andaman and Nicobar islands to build more than 17,000 homes, in addition to providing livelihood to affected families.
The Catholic bishops' conference of India confirmed that Shri Surjit Singh Barnala, governor of the state of Tamil Nadu, had handed over 648 houses in the tsunami-affected coastal village of Devanampattinam, built by the Pondicherry Multipurpose Social Service Society in partnership with Caritas-India.
"Caritas-India has done this for the affected families of the tsunami, as a mark of selfless and compassionate love," said Father John Noronha, executive director of Caritas-India, during the handover ceremony.
The tsunami claimed 101 lives in Davanampattinam, on the coast of Cuddalore, and destroyed huge amounts of property.
The bishops' conference emphasized the cooperation of the state government with the efforts of Caritas-India and other aid organizations.
© Innovative Media, Inc.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I came across this vital information from one of my friends. Just pass on this message if someone wants to clear any grievance.
Government of India has a online Grievance forum at
The government wants people to use this tool to highlight the problems they faced while dealing with Government officials or departments like Passport Office, Electricity board, BSNL/MTNL, Railways etc etc. I know many people will say that these things don't work in India, but this actually works as one of our colleague in CSC found. The guy I'm talking about lives in Faridabad. Couple of months back, the Faridabad Municipal corporation laid new ro ads in his area and the residents were very happy about it. But 2 weeks later, BSNL dugged up the newly laid roads to install new cables which annoyed all the residents including this guy. But it was only this guy who used the above listed grievance forum to highlight his concern. And to his surprise, BSNL and Municipal corporation of faridabad was served a show cause notice and the guy received a copy of the notice in one week. Government has asked the MC and BSNL about the goof up as its clear that both the government departments were not in sync at all. So use this grievance forum and educate others who don't know about this facility. This way we can at least raise our concerns instead of just talking about the 'System' in India.
In addition road extension process has been started in Nethaji Road and the work is nearing completion.During the process of extension,the edges of the footpath were broken and the tiles were disaplaced at several locations.If these weren't set right at the earliest,the entire footpath will disintegrate into rubbles in a very near future.
Since drilling a hole in platform for the rain water in the road to reach the drainage and the reintegration of tiles in the platform are related process,they must done in immediate sucession.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Prepared for the Plenty Board by David Purviance
....I met the founder of a UK-based NGO called Wherever the Need (WTN) and accompanied him to Pondicherry and Cuddalore where I introduced him to the executive director of BLESS. As a result of that meeting Gayatri developed a proposal for BLESS which was submitted to WTN and consequently approved. This $15,000 project is providing drinking water and sanitation to a large (2,500) village of tribal people. Next week I will visit that village accompanied by the WTN head......
Fishermen in India can now navigate the seas with ease and mark fishing spots thanks to Global Positioning System(GPS) devices provided by World Vision. World Vision distributed 200 instruments to fishermen from 13 Cuddalore villages as part of the tsunami livelihood recovery program's ICT- 4D (Information Communication Technology for Development) initiative. World Vision had already provided these fishermen with boats and nets. “A GPS will facilitate easy navigation for the fishermen,” said World Vision's Samuel Jesudasan. “Once they mark a fishing spot, they can easily return to the same spot the next day and save fuel, time and man power.” The GPS uses coordinates from 12 satellites to create a 3-D map of a location. It can lock on locations and calculate distances and speed of travel. Fisherman Vinayakamoorthi from Cuddalore said, “Earlier, when we had a good catch, we would find it difficult locating the exact spot the next day. This was time consuming, but now, I can locate and record all my favourable spots and get there the next day without any hassle.”
INDIA: Cuddalore agriculturists receive livelihood assistance Agriculturists in Cuddalore, whose farmlands had been inundated by the tsunami are benefiting from new livelihood recovery programs implemented by World Vision . Farming communities in Pichavaram, along the coastline of Cuddalore produce rice, groundnuts, and vegetables; but received little assistance after the tsunami devastated their land. They were also affected by floods late in 2005. World Vision has since identified the community for agricultural interventions and provided tractors, tillers and hydraulic dippers. Close to 900 sets of spades, crowbars and pickaxes, as well as paddy seeds have been provided. Earlier, World Vision helped deepen 20 kilometre-long canals, and desalinate 144 hectares of agricultural land. INDONESIA: ‘Aceh in Colour’: an opportunity for children’s expression Two hundred children’s paintings were recently exhibited in the tsunami-recovering province of Aceh, Indonesia in a collaborative effort between World Vision and an Achenese non-government organisation, ‘La Kaspia Institute’. More than 600 children and government representatives attended the "Aceh in Colour" event after 1,200 children from 21 of World Vision’s Child Friendly Spaces in Aceh participated in drawing training. There was a notable change in the content of children’s drawings exhibited. During the first months after the tsunami, the wave and its devastation featured in most drawings. Now, children preferred to draw their post-tsunami situation. At the exhibition, few drawings featured the tsunami. Sixteen-year-old Vida, noticed this: “Maybe the children don’t want to look back or think of the past. What they want to see is the future,” she said. “Hopefully by conducting the event, more attention will be given to children,” said World Vision's Elfrieda Sinaga. “Let’s create a space for the children to express their opinions and make a better future,” she said. The La Kaspia Institute, based in Banda Aceh was destroyed by the tsunami. The institute is recreating itself after losing everything: its building, staff, equipment and data. World Vision has worked with the institute since March 2005, collaborating on a series of art-focused activities for tsunami-affected children.
© Reuters Foundation.
Inland fisherfolk who fish in the River Uppanar are reporting a marked increase in river pollution over the last 6 months. "We have been noticing an increase in various kinds of diseases afflicting the fish. Things had improved after the 2002 Pioneer incident, and particularly after the first Local Area Committee was formed under Mr. Mohan. Industries were scared then, and incidents were few and far between. Ever since the LAEC was reconstituted, industries have begun to feel that they can get away with anything," says S. Pugazhenthi, an inland fisherman and SIPCOT Area Monitor. In September 2002, a massive discharge of acidic effluents into the River allegedly by Pioneer prevented fishermen from entering the river for over a month. Those who did suffered serious burn injuries that didn't heal quickly.
This morning, Pugazhenthi and his fishing partner returned home by 4 a.m., cutting short their fishing time by several hours, after suffering from intense itching upon entering the water. They entered the River near Sangolikuppam.
According to security personnel in the industries who spoke to the monitors on condition of anonymity, SIPCOT industries routinely discharge effluents directly into the river using pumpsets and hose-pipes that can be removed after the operation. Hotspots include the area behind Pioneer, Arkema Peroxides and TANFAC.
According to fisherfolk, only bottom-dwelling fish are showing signs of disease. "That's because the sludge is seriously contaminated," says Pugazhenthi. The kinds of abnormalities in fish reported by fishermen regularly include:
1. Skin disease: Open sores on the skin, particularly of the Madavai fish. The fish can grow to a maximum of 1.5 feet or 18 inches. Fishermen say that these fish cannot be sold because it is disgusting to look at, and consumers are likely to be turned off by the sores.
2. Stone-like formation in throat: Noticed in fishes such as Seththa Kendai and Madavai, these stone-like formations are naturally found in marine fish such as the Vaalai. When crushed, the stones crumble into a calcareous (limestone-like) substance akin to coral pieces, the fisherfolk say.
3. Eyes: Many fish are being found with tiny lesions (like pin-heads) above the eyes.
4. Tail: Tail deformities have also been reported, although less frequently.
Such observations by fisherfolk are routinely ignored by regulators and special scientific committees, who dismiss them as coming from lay and illiterate people who don't know better. The Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes, for instance, prides in being a scientific body, so much so that it unquestioningly excludes local communities and workers from environmental decision-making because the latter are deemed to be unqualified. The Community Environmental Monitoring program, of which Pugazhenthi is a part, aims to bring common sense back into science by articulating observations by lay people in a language that even scientists can understand.
For more information, visit http://www.sipcotcuddalore.com/
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Where re-laying precedes digging
Multiple agency control over services plays havoc on people
he Coimbatore Corporation or the Department of Highways re-lays a road. Soon, it is dug for laying a telephone cable or to erect electric poles and the stretch turns a mess. This is a very common sight across the city where agencies providing various amenities work without coordination and the public suffer.
Many main and sub-roads in the city have borne the brunt of such a lack of co-ordination among the agencies.
Pits of all sizes and shapes devour road users.
While this is treated as just another civic issue, it was pointed out as a major impediment to development full story>>
George Bush go home
It's not in our power to stop Bush's visit. It is in our power to protest it, and we will.
"When George Bush places flowers on that famous slab of highly polished stone, millions of Indians will wince."
ON HIS triumphalist tour of this part of the world, where he hopes to wave imperiously at people he considers potential subjects, President Bush's itinerary is getting curiouser and curiouser. For his 2nd of March pit stop in New Delhi, the Indian Government tried very hard to have him address our Parliament. A not inconsequential number of MPs threatened to heckle him, so Plan One was hastily shelved. Plan Two was that he address the masses from the ramparts of the magnificent Red Fort where the Indian Prime Minister traditionally delivers his Independence Day address. But the Red Fort, surrounded as it is by the predominantly Muslim population of Old Delhi, was considered a security nightmare. So now we're into Plan Three: President George Bush speaks from Purana Qila, the Old Fort.
Ironic isn't it, that the only safe public space for a man who has recently been so enthusiastic about India's modernity, should be a crumbling medieval fort?
Since the Purana Qila also houses the Delhi zoo, George Bush's audience will be a few hundred caged animals and an approved list of caged human beings who in India go under the category of "eminent persons." They're mostly rich folk who live in our poor country like captive animals, incarcerated by their own wealth, locked and barred in their gilded cages, protecting themselves from the threat of the vulgar and unruly multitudes whom they have systematically dispossessed over the centuries.
So what's going to happen to George W Bush? Will the gorillas cheer him on? Will the gibbons curl their lips? Will the brow-antlered deer sneer? Will the chimps make rude noises? Will the owls hoot? Will the lions yawn and the giraffes bat their beautiful eyelashes? Will the crocs recognise a kindred soul? Will the quails give thanks that Bush isn't travelling with Dick Cheney, his hunting partner with the notoriously bad aim? Will the CEOs agree?
Oh, and on the 2nd of March, Bush will be taken to visit Gandhi's memorial in Rajghat. He's by no means the only war criminal who has been invited by the Indian Government to lay flowers at Rajghat. (Only recently we had the Burmese dictator General Than Shwe — no shrinking violet himself.) But when George Bush places flowers on that famous slab of highly polished stone, millions of Indians will wince. It will be as though he has poured a pint of blood on the memory of Gandhi.
We really would prefer that he didn't.
It's not in our power to stop Bush's visit. It is in our power to protest it, and we will. The Government, the Police and the Corporate Press will do everything they can to minimise the extent of our outrage. Nothing the Happynews Papers say can change the fact that all over India from the biggest cities to the smallest villages, in public places and private homes — George W. Bush, incumbent President of the United States of America, world nightmare incarnate, is just not welcome. — © Arundhati Roy