Saturday, December 27, 2008

Silent rallies, prayers mark fourth anniversary

Silent rallies, prayers mark fourth anniversary - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

Families living along the coast performed pujas and paid floral tributes to those who perished in 2004

CUDDALORE: Silent processions and prayers on Friday marked the fourth anniversary of the tsunami, which left a trail of devastation in about 60 coastal villages in Cuddalore and Villupuram districts in 2004.

Families living along the coast performed pujas and paid floral tributes to portraits of those who perished.

At Thevanampattinam, a wreath was placed at the memorial erected in memory of those who were killed.

Several fishermen stayed away from the sea on Friday. While some of them were wearing black bands, some households hoisted black flags.

Children rendered orphans and accommodated at the Seva Illam in Semmandalam here, lit candles and offered prayers.

Collector Rajendra Ratnoo, Cuddalore MLA G. Aiyappan, Municipal Chairman T. Thangarasu and other officials were present. Mr. Aiyappam hosted a lunch for the children.

Three non-governmental organisations - National Consumer Protection Movement, Singaravelar Munnetra Sangam and Cuddalore District Meenavar Peravai - took out silent rallies from the Periyar statue, the Manjakuppam grounds and Thevanampattinam. All of them congregated at the Silver Beach.
Villupuram

In Villupuram, those living along the coast at Koonimedukuppam, Mudaliarkuppam, Panichankuppam, and Pudukuppam offered prayers on the seashore.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Fishermen obstruct dredging work

Fishermen obstruct dredging work - The Hindu

CUDDALORE: Fishermen and women of Pettodai near Puduchathiram here gathered in strength on the seashore on Tuesday and obstructed Nagarjuna Oil Corporation Ltd from going ahead with dredging work.

They pointed out that the private company that was in the process of setting up an oil refinery in the area had put up a jetty there. The dredging was taken up to enable the vessels carrying crude oil to reach the jetty.

They voiced their apprehension that deepening the sea close to the shores would expose them to the danger of sea incursion.

In the post-tsunami context they were living in mortal fear and moreover the sea that turned rough often had drastically affected fishing operation and caused a deep dent in their earning capacity.

Hence, they would not allow any wanton destruction of the ecology in the area and felt that the dredging augured ill for the residents of the coastal area. They also laid the preconditions that the company in the first place put up a protective wall along the coast and also build permanent houses for them so as to ensure their safety.

They alleged that earlier the company had acquired the land for the refinery at a cheaper rate. The price was not agreeable to them and hence, urged the company to revise the price and hand over the difference amount without delay.

A posse of policemen led by Assistant Superintendent of Police Narendran Nair pacified them with the promise that further talks would be held on their demands on December 25.

Visit www.sipcotcuddalore.com for regular pollution updates.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pollution Control board's "friendly report"

Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Broads conceals violations by Shasun chemicals in its "friendly report".

"The company has more than 4000 tons of hazardous wastes lying in its premises, and was recently caught red-handed for attempting to smuggle toxic wastes for illegal dumping." full story>>

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cuddalore Remembers Bhopal - SACEM

Cuddalore, 3 December 2008: Residents of the pollution impacted region of SIPCOT Cuddalore along with residents of Old Town Cuddalore organised several public meets and vigils on Dec 2 and 3rd to remember Bhopal.

Here is a picture of a candle light vigil from Semmankuppam Middle School. Semmankuppam is the village in SIPCOT where Chemplast Sanmar's 1,70,000 TPA PVC plant is currently being constructed.

Visit www.SIPCOTCuddalore.com for regular pollution updates

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Unprecedented water level

Paadaleeswarar temple tank records unprecedented water level due incessant rain in Cuddalore for over a week. Its believed that this tank has underground channels linking the major rivers in Cuddalore.

Rain water from the temple premises drain into this tank. Though is the main source of water for the tank, rain water from the surrounding streets also drains into the tank during the recent years due to the rise in the level of the road.




Rain in Cuddalore

A collection of articles on recent rain in Cuddalore

Veeranam tank being monitored: Collector - The Hindu

Staying ashore - The Hindu

Commandos to be deployed to rescue the marooned - The Hindu

NGOs can join relief works, says Collector - The Hindu

Men, materials from other districts mobilised for relief operations in Cuddalore - The Hindu

Heavy Rain: Toxic Waste from SIPCOT Units Washed into Uppanar

Heavy Rains Takes a Toll on SIPCOT; SPIC's Boundary Wall Collapses; Toxic Waste from SIPCOT Units Washed into Uppnar - SACEM

Cuddalore, 28 November 2008: Incessant rains of the past few days is beginning to take its toll on SIPCOT units and also exposing the vulnerability of locating a extremely hazardous chemical estate on the banks of a river. According to the SACEM monitors about 40 feet high boundary wall of SPIC that separates the Eachangadu village from the unit collapsed into the neighbouring canal late last night. No one is reported to be injured in this incident. SACEM monitors are also reporting that the openly dumped toxic wastes within the premises of the unit are also submerged and leaching out in small streams into the river Uppanar.

SACEM monitors despite the heavy rains have patrolled the SIPCOT complex and found these damages due to the rains. SIPCOT residents and SACEM have demanded an immediate inspection of the units by the TNPCB to ascertain the amount of hazardous waste dumped inside the unit and initiate measures to contain the leachate within the unit.

More information on the condition of the industrial complex and damages is awaited.

Visit www.SIPCOTCuddalore.com For regular pollution updates

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pollution update

Narmada Chemicals Continue Illegal Construction at SIPCOT; TNPCB Once Again a Mute Spectator - SipcotCuddalore.com

Cuddalore, 20 November 2008: In an yet another case of blatant violation of the environmental regulations, Narmada Chemicals was caught red handed carrying out illegal operations in its premises without obtaining a valid Consent to Establish. SACEM monitors caught Narmada Chemicals drilling about 4 borewells inside the premises on 17th November 2008. Upon verification with the Pollution Control Board officials they found out that the unit has not yet been given a valid Consent to Establish. The violation though has been brought to the notice of the TNPCB, the officials are yet to take action on the unit and stop work.

While initiating work without a valid permission is a habit for the units in SIPCOT, not taking action on complaints reported to them is becoming a habit of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in Cuddalore.

This is a second attempt of the unit to construct illegally, an earlier attempt in 2007 was thwarted by SACEM.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Senior citizens of Cuddalore demanding their rights

"850 older persons to travel on a specially comissioned train from Cuddalore to New Delhi. Once there, they lobbied the government to acknowledge their rights to healthcare, transport and pensions." full story>>

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Underground drainage construction - Part 4

Rain makes project delay more painful - The Hindu

Special Correspondent
— Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy

Residents of Vallalar Nagar in Cuddalore sowing seeds on the muddy road that remains unattended by the civic body, on Tuesday.

CUDDALORE: The slow pace of the Rs 40.40-crore underground drainage project in Cuddalore town has posed a lot of hardship to the residents. The onset of monsoon has made the situation worse.

The roads on which the pipeline has been laid are in bad shape. Deep trenches that have been dug up pose threat to the people.

Pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler riders have complained that they fall into the trenches and get hurt often. Four-wheelers are not able to enter the streets and are forced to take a detour.

The rain in the last few days has made the streets slushy.
Mock operation

According to residents, several representations had been made to the authorities concerned to speed up the work but in vain.

Frustrated by the delay, the All India Agricultural Workers’ Union, led by district secretary T.Ravindran, carried out a mock sowing operation on the inundated streets at Vallalar Nagar.

The Tamil Nadu Retired Employees’ Association too condemned the “lethargic attitude” of the officials. Senior citizens were the worst-affected, it said.

The project was launched last year and was scheduled to be completed within one year.

When contacted, Commissioner of Cuddalore Municipality Liaqath Ahmed Papa said the delay was owing to adverse soil condition.

Contractors were finding it difficult to complete the task because of high water table, ie., even if the trenches were dug for a depth of three feet, they got filled in no time by groundwater. Hence, it had become difficult to bale out the water from the entire stretch.

Mr. Papa said it might take another six months to complete the project .

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Centre for propagating folk arts sought

Centre for propagating folk arts sought - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE: The folk artists have urged the State government to set up an art and cultural centre exclusively to propagate and patronise folk arts and artists. The centre, with its branches in the districts, should prepare a list of folk artists and issue identity cards to them. These resolutions were passed by the first State-level folk artists’ conference organised under the aegis of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers’ Association here on Wednesday. The centre should take steps to release audio and video cassettes of the folk art forms.

Photos from the conference:

A collection of articles about doll-makers in Cuddalore

Cuddalore’s doll-makers toil throughout the year - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

— Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy

BUSY TRADE: With Navaratri fast approaching dolls are being made on a large scale in Cuddalore.

CUDDALORE: Doll-making is not only an economic proposition but also a passion for 20-odd families in Vandipalayam area of Cuddalore town. For generations, they have been mastering the craft that has been recognised in other States such as Maharashtra.

In the midst of festive season, the doll-makers are working almost 18 hours a day to meet the orders. A. Sampath Kumar (45), who has been in the trade for over two-and-half decades, told The Hindu that though the demand was seasonal, they had to work throughout the year.

For instance, bulk buyers such as the Khadi Bhavan, Khadi Kraft, Kuralagam and Sarvodaya Sangam would place orders in March/April. Once the orders are obtained, the procurement of raw materials would begin.

Mr. Kumar said the dolls were made of clay, papier-mâché, plaster of paris and cement.

Care ought to be taken to choose the kind of clay that would firmly hold in place and would not crack while being roasted in the kiln.

While plaster of paris was being obtained from Puducherry and Chennai, glue was bought from Andhra Pradesh. Casting the die was a challenging task because it involved creativity and closer attention to detail, such as ornaments, weapons and so on, Mr. Kumar said.

Die-making would take about four months and the drying process another one month. Painting of the idols would then begin. Mr. Kumar said clay idols were fast moving, particularly during Navaratri, Krishna Jayanthi and Vinayaka Chaturthi

Mr. Kumar said the market reacted to the price tag differently – priced from Rs. 25 to Rs. 5,000 apiece.

He was apprehensive that the trade may not last for more than a generation, because youngsters were not interested in the trade and wanted to pursue higher education to take up salaried jobs. As the doll-makers had to stock the finished products for months, they appealed to the government to grant them bank loans at concessional rate of interest, to be repaid at the end of the festive season.

The blog links below contains photographs showing the dolls at their destiny.

Come home and see my Golu - Lakshmi Sharath's blog

Cashing in on Brand Kolu - The Hindu

Splendour in clay - The Hindu

NAVARATHRI - A Season for dolls - Raji's blog

Development Commissioner studies post-tsunami housing model in Cuddalore

Bihar against ‘adoption’ of villages - IndianExpress

Santosh Singh Posted: Oct 06, 2008 at 0055 hrs IST
Patna, October 5 The Bihar Government is against the idea of corporate houses, film stars, trusts and voluntary groups “adopting” flood-ravaged villages. Instead, it wants them to raise village infrastructure like building schools, community halls, health centres and roads.

The Government has taken the “tough” call following its decision to build or reconstruct adequate homes — over 3.5 lakh of them — at the cost of Rs 1.5 lakh each. It has been waiting for the disbursement of Rs 9,000 crore additional flood package, which includes Rs 4,500 crore for homes, from the Centre.

Speaking to The Indian Express on Sunday, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said: “Allowing corporate houses to build homes would only create confusion. We are building adequate homes for the flood-hit and want others to add value to our efforts.”

Modi said the Tamil Nadu Government’s post-tsunami experience with corporate groups and individuals regarding rehabilitation had not been rewarding. “In some cases, some private groups left the scene without completely raising homes. On the other hand, quality homes for some caused heartburns among a big group of the displaced.”

The Deputy Chief Minister said state Development Commissioner S Vijayaraghvan would be nodal officer to coordinate with voluntary groups and corporate houses. The Development Commissioner recently visited Bhuj (Gujarat) and Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu) to study house models post-earthquake and tsunami. The Government will get Vijayaraghvan report after Dussehra full story>>

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cuddalore-Chithoor road to be upgraded as National Highway

Highway upgrade - The Telegraph

An upgrade is on way for some of Tamil Nadu’s key roads.

The state government has recommended that three state roads be turned into national highways this year, road minister Vellakoil Saminathan said recently. The Madurai-Thondi, Dindigul-Singampunari and Cuddalore-Chithoor (Andhra) roads will be upgraded. The new-look roads will make links with Chennai quicker.

As part of the improvement, 50 of the 300 “accident-prone curves” on the highways have been straightened.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

New thermal plant


SRM Energy to set up thermal power plant in Tamil Nadu


BS reported that Mumbai based SRM Energy a Spice Energy group company is planning to set up 1,800 MW to 2,000 MW coal based thermal power plant in Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu. The company is expected to invest around INR 9,200 crore in the project.

Mr P Srinivasan COO of SRM Energy said that the company would fund the project through 80% debt and 20% equity. The project is scheduled to be completed in about five years. The initial unit would commence operations by 2012.

He said that the company is also mulling construction of jetty at the Cuddalore port or close to the project site to handle ships that would be transporting coal. It inked a coal sale purchase agreement with an Indonesian Company. The talks on the agreement are in the advanced stage.

Tamil Nadu Electricity Board is likely to purchase 250 MW with a possible increase to 500 MW. The company is negotiating with TATA Power Trading Corporation and Power Trading Corporation of India. The company is planning a 2,000 MW pithead coal based power plant in East India at an investment of USD 2 billion.

Source: SteelGuru

Monday, October 06, 2008

Unfinished median

Median construction work in Hospital Road began three years back. Like many, I too wished and expected that the median will be extended till Chavadi. Though we may not know the point where the median was originally proposed to end, one thing we know for sure is that the work was stopped half way.

The board placed at the unfinished end of the media reads "Work in progress. Go Slow". It was placed while the construction was in progress. Now after three years, the board remains untouched.

Recently Municipal Vice-Chairman Thamarai Selvan insisted the extension of the median till Chavadi to regulate the traffic.


Road median work stopped halfway in Hospital Road

Photograph taken on March-2008

Related articles:

Hospital road is being divided - CuddaloreOnline,, Apr 2008

New road divider from outskirts of Cuddalore - CuddaloreOnline Apr 2008

Hospital road needs more focus - CuddaloreOnline, Mar 2008

Narrow point in Hospital Road
- CuddaloreOnline, Oct 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Underground drainage construction - Part 3

As I have written in Underground drainage construction - Part 2 road laying work precedes underground drainage construction work in many other parts of Cuddalore. This clearly reflects lack of coordination between the departments, if this is not a well played vicious game.

Underground drainage construction work in Bodi Chetty street
Around five months back (supposedly) State Highway Department laid roads in Bodi Chetty street which is now damaged in the underground drainage construction work as seen in the photograph above. A open sewage line was constructed just before laying the road. I wonder what would be the necessity for this open sewage line (rain water drain ? - if that is the case I still wonder how rain in the road will get into this - the concrete wall of the sewage line is well above the road level) while underground drainage system is coming up. Now for the houses to connect with underground drainage system, the concrete walls of this open sewage line will be broken apart. This is how the game is played!!

Drainage construction work in Cart street, where only a couple of months back black topped road was laid.

Friday, September 26, 2008

SIPCOT pollution update

Aria Chemical's Illegal Construction Stopped by TNPCB
Cuddalore, 17 September 2008: TNPCB today ordered Aria Chemicals from engaging in any activity in their proposed plant site until they receive formal permissions to commence construction. Read More...

Pioneer Continues to Dump and Bury its Waste Illegally Within its Premises
Cuddalore, 16 September 2008: A week after SACEM first reported that Pioneer Jelice India in Cuddalore was illegally storing its waste in sacks behind the ETP plant in its premises, sources reveal that Pioneer is also burying the same waste in the area. Read More...

TNPCB Fails to Take Action on Chemplast's Glass Waste Dump on the Banks of Uppanar
Cuddalore, 16 September 2008: SACEM monitors reported that the TNPCB has failed to take action on Chemplast Sanmar to stop it from dumping waste glass pieces on the banks of the river Uppanar. Read More...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

SIPCOT Residents Protest Setting of New Chemical Industries in their Village

SIPCOT Residents Protest Setting of New Chemical Industries in their Village

Cuddalore, 22 August 2008: More than 100 residents from SIPCOT villages including Eachangadu, Sonanchavadi and Semmankuppam organized a protest meeting opposite the Collector's office to express their opposition to Government's move of setting up new chemical and polluting units in their villages. Citing the poor environmental records, a looming public health crisis and a recent National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) report, that estimated that SIPCOT Cuddalore residents are at least 2000 times more likely to contract cancer in their lifetimes due to their exposure to high levels of toxic gases from chemical industries in the region, the residents demanded a total moratorium on new chemical and polluting units in the area.

Villagers also protested the Tamil Nadu Government's move to set up a Chlorinated Polyethylene facility by Aria Chemicals barely 100 meters from the fishing village of Sonanchavadi in SIPCOT Phase II. According to the villagers neither the Company nor the Government have informed them about the dangers of the facility, the types of chemicals used nor have they sought permission from the village.

Aria Chemicals has received environmental clearance to set up a 20000 TPA capacity Chlorinated Polyethylene facility in Sonanchavadi village of SIPCOT Cuddalore. The unit will use 40 tonnes of chlorine per day as one of its primary raw material. They will also use at least 3,10,000 of water per batch of production.

The villagers submitted petitions supported by more than 600 residents of SIPCOT area against the proposal of setting up of Aria Chemicals and also announced that they will continue with various forms of peaceful agitation till their demands are honoured.

Participants of the meeting also included – Sonanchavadi Fishing Panchayat and Residents; Semmankuppam Village Youth Group and Women's Group; Eachangadu Women's Self Help Group; Venpura Social Welfare Organisation; Tarasu People's Forum, Liberation Tigers of Fishermen; Human Rights organisations from Cuddalore, Lawyers and Lawyer's Clerk Association; Killai Fishing Village Panchayat; Dalit Panthers; Tamil Nadu Progressive Writer's Association; Tamil Nadu Environmental Kazhagham; Consumer Organisations; SACEM.

For more details visit
www.sipcotcuddalore.com

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Join the residents of SIPCOT demading no more chemical/pollution industries in Cuddalore

INVITATION
Join the Residents of SIPCOT in Demanding
"No Further Industrialisation of SIPCOT Cuddalore with Chemical and Polluting Industries"

What:
Public Meeting
When:
22 August 2008 (Friday);
4.00 pm to 6.00 pm
Where:
Opposite Collector's Office in New Town Cuddalore

Background:

Cuddalore is reeling under pollution, and its people are suffering. Chemical industries in Cuddalore have destroyed lives and livelihoods of thousands. According to a latest scientific report prepared by Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute on air pollution in and around SIPCOT chemical industrial estate, there are atleast 94 chemicals in the ambient air, including 15 that are known hazardous air pollutants. The report also estimates that SIPCOT Cuddalore residents are at least 2000 times more likely to contract cancer in their lifetimes due to their exposure to high levels of toxic gases from chemical industries in the region.

Anybody traveling on the Cuddalore-Chidambaram highway can smell the horrible smells from the industrial estate. Entire villages live inside the industrial estate, adjacent to hazardous factories. Gas leaks and industrial accidents are a common feature in SIPCOT Cuddalore.

Rather than take action to reduce the pollution and preventing toxic exposure to the community and environment, the Tamil Nadu Government has earmarked coastal Cuddalore for locating the dirtiest and most hazardous industries in the area. According to senior Government officials, the Government has decided to concentrate polluting industries in Cuddalore based on the perverse logic that it is wiser to pollute an already polluted place.

In the most recent move to pursue its agenda to sacrifice the communities of Cuddalore for the "larger good" the Government has given environmental clearance to a Chlorinated Polyethylene manufacturer – Aria Chemicals to set up its facility in the neighbourhood of Sonanchavadi, a fishing village in SIPCOT phase II.

Aria Chemicals will manufacture 20000 tonnes of Chlorinated Polyethylene. It will use at least 40 tonnes of deadly chemical chlorine daily to achieve its target production. Chlorine is a known toxic volatile gas used regularly in the industrial processes. Exposure to low levels of chlorine can cause eye and nose irritation, cough, change in heart beat and extreme exposure could even result in death.

The Government also has plans to set up the following toxic projects for the region in the future:

  1. Nagarjuna Oil Refinery, Thyagavelli Panchayat: The 6 million tonne/year refinery is coming up near the coast. This will cause widespread air pollution (see Manali area in North Chennai), and will pollute the sea with oil. Effluents will be disposed at sea. Groundwater will be extracted.
  2. 1350 MW capacity coal-fired thermal power plant, Naduthittu: The plant will generate more than 300,000 tonnes of toxic flyash, and air pollution.
  3. SIMA Textile Park, Chinnandikuzhi, Periyapattu village: Much bigger than the Tiruppur dyeing factories, units in this park are set to come up on prime agricultural land. The toxic effluents will be disposed into the sea.
  4. Shipbuilding Yard, near Cuddalore harbour.

The communities in Cuddalore is up in arms against pollution and polluting industries.

Support their struggle for a toxic free future.

For more details contact:

In Chennai – Shweta Narayan – 9444024315
email: nopvcever@gmail.com

In Cuddalore – T. Arulselvam – 9443737134

Visit: www.sipcotcuddalore.com
Protest against new chemical/ polluting industries in SIPCOT Cuddalore

SIPCOT Cuddalore gets a surprise visit - SACEM

SIPCOT Cuddalore Gets a Surprise Visit from Higher Officials; Errant Units Under Scanner

Cuddalore, 20 August 2008: SIPCOT Cuddalore got a surprise visit from a high powered team of Tamil Nadu government including the Industry Secretary M. F. Farooqui, Energy Secretary Smita Nagraj, Chairperson of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) R. Balakrishnan, Member Secretary of TNPCB R. Rmachandran and the District Collector and District Revenue Officer (DRO) of Cuddalore. The committee inspected various industries in SIPCOT including CUSECS and Chemplast facility. According to the sources the purpose of the visit was to check on irregularities by the existing units and site visit for the proposed Power Plant, Refinery and the Port.

The committee after inspecting Tantech, a pesticide manufacturing unit in SIPCOT ordered an immediate power cut to the facility acknowledging the existing violations. This measure came as a relief to the communities who have been complaining about Tantech's violations for a very long time. More than 400 members of the community also met with the committee members at the end of their visit to petition them about the existing pollution in the region, ongoing violations of CUSECS and Chemplast facility and to reiterate their demand on no new chemical or polluting industry in the region.

The committee assured the community members that their grievances would be addressed without delay.

=======================
Date:20/08/2008 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/08/20/stories/2008082054770300.htm

Surprise visit

CUDDALORE: A high-level official team led by Industry Secretary M.F. Farooqui made a surprise visit to the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here on Sunday to study various issues.

Energy Secretary Smita Nagaraj and Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board R. Balakrishnan were part of the team. Primarily, the team inspected the effluent treatment plant being managed by the special purpose vehicle, the Cuddalore SIPCOT Industries Common Utilities Ltd., and verified whether the units were adhering to pollution control norms.

Visit www.sipcotcuddalore.com for regular pollution updates

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Our kind of rennovation

Historically we are the kind of people who bother least about conserving heritage sites and buildings. Lack of fund was stated as the reason by the state. But the recent economic boom has only worsened the situation. Worst destruction for the heritage buildings come in the name of renovation. Mindless renovation indeed.

Recently there was news about the destruction(cum renovation) of 500-year-old Varadaraja Perumal temple at Kancheepuram and demolition of 250-year-old Admiralty House in Chennai and 184-year-old Collectorate building in Salem. Such "assault on heritage" buildings gets noticed when there is massive large scale destruction. But minor renovations which goes unnoticed are equally destruction in course of time.

It is this kind of destruction that is happening in many of the government buildings in Cuddalore including District Collector's Office. This beautiful building is an classic example of a building in Indo-Saracenic style. The building under goes a continuous destruction for installing wiring, computers and air conditioners. Internal floor and walls of the building are covered with tiles (horrible colours). Glass doors and windows are taking the place of wooden doors and windows (for air conditioning the rooms/halls), which in no means fits architectural style of the building.

New portico and compound wall in Collector's Office, Cuddalore

A new portico was recently built at the entrance of this building. I could not imagine the need for such a structure at that place. This concrete structure at the front side of the building again doesn't fit the style of this old building. Another pity thing is that the building which houses Collector's Office and Government Treasury has ran out of space long back and lacks modern facilities, even which is available in neighbouring district like Villupuram. A new building is the only solution to get modern facilities and to prevent the building from further destruction.

In some cases, the sole reason for renovating the government buildings is to allocate fund to corrupt it to maximum extend. Tiles in the walls of government buildings has a reason - it is the tactics used by the corrupt PWD officials to show the world some work has taken place after corrupting away the allocated fund. Wood works in the old buildings are attractive targets of these corrupt officials. There are instances were century old buildings brought down completely to loot away the wood in it.

As this is the case with our government buildings, temples faces a different of threat. In many cases white wash is equated to renovation. Old inscription ? rare mural painting ? who cares, just wash - this is how renovation is viewed by educated and uneducated alike. In worst cases as with Varadaraja Perumal temple above, century old structures are demolished and replaced with concrete structures. Lakhs of "devotees" who plunge these temples don't pay any attention to depicted art forms. They are neither interested in knowing how our culture has evolved, nor they realise these art forms are windows to our past. As long as people are insensitive about protecting our monuments, it is easy go for government and its corrupt officials. If at all we have some heritage building left intact in our country, it is because of few good people in Archaeological Survey of India and organisations like INTACH.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Police lathicharges workers demanding safe working conditions

Police lathicharges workers demanding safe working conditions

Cuddalore, 12 August 2008: The Cuddalore police lathicharged more than 300 workers of CITU Union from Pioneer Miyagi yesterday for blocking the entrance of the unit while on strike. According to the sources this incident took place at about 4 pm yesterday when the workers from the unit and their family members full story>>

For regular pollution updates visit www.sipcotcuddalore.com

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Vehicle accident on Pennar Bridge

The mangled remains of the vehicle which was involved in a collision on the Pennar Bridge. This accident which occured today morning at about 6.15 a.m. had left two people dead.

Good morning Cuddalore

An enchanting sunrise on the river Pennar.
Location: Pennar River Bridge on Cuddalore - Pondy road.


Early morning Cuddalore
Anna bridge, River Gadilum

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pollution Update

Pollution update from SIPCOTCuddalore.com

CUSECS pipe line breaks, releasing effluents into Pillukuthu Vaaikal and goes unnoticed for a while full story>>

Rotten dead body odour engulfes Semmankuppam

"Strong rotten dead body odour" Pioneer's new plant Pioneer Jelice Ltd. Residents of Semmankuppam in SIPCOT Industrial Estate are "not able to eat their food and constantly have vomiting sensation". Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has not taken any action even after repeated complaints. full story>>

SPIC "found spewing thick clouds of smoke"

SPIC "caught SPIC emitting noxious smoke" during early morning hours, early this month full story>>

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pollution update

Contract workers in Pioneer threaten to go on strike; ask for better working conditions and proper disposal of effluents - SIPCOTCuddalore.com

Cuddalore, 3 June 2008: Contract workers of Pioneer Miyagi Chemicals have threatened to go on a strike and a road blockade if their demands of permanency, better working conditions and proper disposal of effluents from the unit are not met soon. Issuing a notice to this effect on 20th May 2008, the workers said that they have the support of the CITU Union, one of the more dominant Unions in the factory.

The workers and their families who are mostly from Semmankuppam and neighbouring villages declared their intention to go on a strike after the continued dismal working conditions and repeated illegal discharges of effluents from the unit.

According to the bit notice and the wall posters issued by the workers, their demands are:

1. Permanency of the all contract workers.
2. Proper treatment and discharge of the effluents through CUSECS instead of the illegal route currently used by the unit.
3. Better facilities and proper treatment to the workers.
4. A raise in the salary and recognition to the union of the contract workers.
5. Involvement of the District Administration and Labour Department in the decision making of the unit towards the workers.

The workers have also been able to mobilise support from the other villagers and local consumer groups of Semmankuppam. It is also learnt that CITU Union members are separately pursuing the issue of illegal effluent discharges from the Unit with the management.

Pioneer Miyagi has proposed two stages of negotiations involving District Revenue Officer and Labour Department Officer to resolve the matter. The meetings are yet to take place.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Blueprint for E Coast rail link to Cuddalore ready - The Times of India

Blueprint for E Coast rail link to Cuddalore ready
21 Jun 2008, 0346 hrs IST, V Ayyappan,TNN

CHENNAI: Gazing at the shimmering waters of the Bay of Bengal while traveling down the east coast on a train to Puducherry — the possibility is not so distant as Southern Railway is all set to lay a new line from Chennai to Cuddalore via Mamallapuram and Puducherry.

The project is part of an ambitious plan chalked out by the railways to connect Chennai to towns along the East Coast all the way up to Kanyakumari. Though the entire line will be executed later on, the railway board has given the go ahead to build the line from Chennai to Cuddalore at a cost of Rs 523 crore.

According to the approved alignment, the 179-km line will take off from Perungudi station on the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) and traverse between Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) and East Coast Road (ECR) before reaching Jipmer at Puducherry and Cuddalore. No timeframe has been fixed for completion of the line.

After Perungudi, the line will pass through Sholinganallur, Kovalam, Tiruporur, Mamallapuram, Kalpakkam, Kuvathur, Cheyyur, Marakanam, Kunimedu, Kuiyilappalayam, Jipmer in Puducherry, Bahour, Varakalpattu, Tirupadipuliyur and Cuddalore Fort. The line will run close to the sea at Mamallapuram.

The railway line will run on an embankment, and as most of the ECR does not have buildings on either side, travellers will be able to have a view of the sea.

Surveys to identify passenger feasibility on the route have revealed that the line will be viable as more people are travelling from Chennai to Puducherry and Cuddalore because of the recent developments along the OMR and ECR.

A Perungudi-Cuddalore line will enable passengers to board an Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) to Mamallapuram and then switch to conventional trains to Puducherry or Cuddalore. Travellers will be able to reach Puducherry in two hours, as against the five hours via the current line through Chennai Egmore-Villupuram-Puducherry.

A senior official of Southern Railway said, “A final survey is being done by the engineering division to update the cost before starting work. But, there will not be any change in the alignment.”

Though Perungudi has been fixed as a take off point, railways is also considering other options “because they want to link the line to the main network. We are considering whether the new line can be connected to some point on the Beach-Tambaram line. This will enable it to handle long distance and freight trains,” said Southern Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Neenu Ittyerah.

If the line starts from Perungudi, the operations wing has decided to operate EMUs from Chennai Beach via MRTS to Mamallapuram and conventional trains between Cuddalore and Mamallapuram via Puducherry. The board has approved the new line by including it in the supplementary budget of September 2007.

Thanks BK for sharing it in the group.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

DMK's First Women's Conference held at Cuddalore

DMK's first women's conference was held at Cuddalore on 14th and 15th of this month. Arrangements for the conference were started about two months earlier. Since then, there were visit, after visit, after visit at ministers cadre to check the progress of the work. Elaborate stage arrangements were made at Manjakuppam maidanam - the venue of the meeting.

Since there there was an extensive coverage of this function by media at state level, I stop with this. I have posted below the 'Street Photos', to give you a feel of how it has been.

Related stories:

Women will be in forefront for Sethu canal project: Kanimozhi - The Hindu

DMK women’s meet calls for Sethu project implementation - The Hindu

Venue, timing of meet significant - The Hindu

Lawrence Road - Anna bridge junction:

Baeathi Road:


Cut-outs in Barathi Road:



Beach Road - Arcot Woodlands end:





Barathi Road

Venue - Chevalier Shivaji arangam




Photo courtesy: Mathimaran


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Fireworks at Neithal 2008



Ministers at Neithal 2008

Irrespective of the ruling party, summer festival at Silver Beach has always been a state sponsored political meet, where ministers of the ruling party explain the 'achievements' of their ruling government to the people.

Year after year unkept promises unroll. One such is making Silver Beach and thus Cuddalore a 'MAJOR' tourist destination. This is what being said for around past 10 tens years. Putting Cuddalore on state and central government' s tourism maps remains as distant dream.

This time MLA Mr. Iyyappan has promised 10 lakhs for building a permanent stage with sophisticated light and sound setups in the beach. MP Mr. Venkatapathy has promised around the same amount for other developmental activities in the beach.

It is also said a huge sum is spent to rebuild the damaged jetty at Silver Beach boat house.


Related article:
Cultural extravaganza on Silver Beach - The Hindu

Crowd at Neithal 2008

As usual a huge crowd turned out for the festival. Below are photographs of section of crowd.






Owing to huge crowd, some people moved towards the north end of the beach. District administration has a proposal to extend the beach northwards.

This time many lifeguards were present on the beach.

A lifeguard keeps eye on the crowd taking bath

Camel ride at Neithal 2008

Camel ride which was introduced recently in Silver Beach was a major attraction of Neithal 2008. A large number of children took the ride which I hope will a memorable occasion for rest of their life.



Children going for a ride
Video:

video

Thanks for all those who made this happen.

Sand sculptures at Neithal 2008

Sand sculptures were made in Summer Festival for the third consecutive year. Sculptures this time focused on the "the human and marine life".

According to The Hindu, these sculptures were created by M. Raghunathan and K. Senthilnathan from Two-man Sculptures - an organisation run by these two men.

It would be if a competition is held among the artists in the coming years and if a best sculpture is selected among them. The sculptures can be used to spread environmental awareness. Apart from utilising the local talents, experts in the field can be invited. There are many experts in this field in Orissa. Inviting them will help local artists to get in touch with experts and to acquire new skills.

It would be beneficial for the interested youths, if summer workshop on Sand Sculpture making is conducted every year before the start of the summer festival.


"Dolphins, crabs and shells that surround the human"


Local minister M.R.K Panneerselvam and District Collector Rajendra Ratnoo viewing the sculptures

Related articles:

2007
Fourth day of Silver Beach summer festival - Cuddalore Online

Sand sculpture, a major attraction at beach festival - The Hindu

2006

Sand Sculptures - Cuddalore Online

Neithal 2008

Neithal 2008 - the Summer Festival at Silver Beach has many new add ons this time, making it special. A new Tamil name (Neithal) and a logo is given to the festival this time (although the Tamil name was introduced last year, it was popularized this year). District Collector Mr. Rajendra Ratnoo has taken great efforts to make it a special event.

Folks artists from across the country performed on evenings. Despite the strong winds on the fourth day, a huge crowd witnessed the fast sync beats of Kerala drummers and mesmerising slow sync dance by dancers from Madya Pradesh. This dance performance coupled with flute music was extraordinary. Sitting on the beach sand, their flute music along with cool breeze made me feel like in heaven. Folk performances from different states takes the festival to a whole new height. It is no longer a festival only for locals of Cuddalore. These performance will help the festival get a wider recognition in national media in the years to come. This will also attract foreign tourists since they get a chance to enjoy different dance and music forms of the country from a single place.

Also this time, boat race was conducted. I guess boat race is conducted for the first time. We must thank our collector for these new initiatives.

A child looking at the baby doll in merry-go-round

Until few years ago beach volley ball used to be conducted every year. This was discontinued later. But this time along with beach volleyball few other sports events were also conducted.

Apart from the new events, regular events like healthy baby competition, dog show, sand sculpture making and body building competitions were held.

Elaborate parking arrangements were made. Parking charges were bit high. But if the generated revenue will be used for organising activities of the fest, people can bear this extra charge. Special service buses were introduced to ease the public. Many buses were diverted to beach. Even after completion of the bridge construction at Vanniarpalam, this route (leading straight into Devanapattinam) was left unused for some reason .

A result of good transport arrangements in recent years, there were large number of people from neighboring districts. There were some foreign visitors too. It is interesting to note MP from Cuddalore & Union Minister of State for Law Venkatapathi "likened “Neidhal-2008” to the Indira Vizha of the yore, mentioned in the Tamil classic the “Silappathigaram,” "

Related articles:

All previous articles about Summer Festival from Cuddalore Online

“Taxi, autorickshaw drivers should be tourist ambassadors” - The Hindu

`Neithal' set to enthral young and old alike - The Hindu

Cultural extravaganza on Silver Beach - The Hindu

Timeless motif on the sands of Silver Beach - The Hindu

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Summer festival at Silver Beach

The annual summer festival at Silver Beach starts on 28 May 2008. This frolic continues for five days and ends on 1 June 2008.
A feast to the people of Cuddalore...

Friday, May 23, 2008

A gathering of Cuddalore natives in Chennai

A message from Cuddalore Online group

Second annual meeting of Cuddalore natives in (and around) Chennai will be held on Saturday (24th May). The meet will start with a film screening, followed by a presentation on pollution in SIPCOT Cuddalore and discussions on various issues concerning the town.

Hope you all know the level of pollution in Cuddalore.. According to a recent report, people of Cuddalore have 2000 times higher risk of getting cancer..

2000 times higher cancer risk for SIPCOT Cuddalore Residents: NEERI

Attend the meeting and support the ongoing struggle against pollution in Cuddalore

For more details contact:
Nityanand - 9444082401
Madhu - 9894915969

Date: 24-May-2008
Time: 6:00 PM

Venue:
CEM Office, 42A, 1st Floor,
5th Avenue, (Near Besant Nagar beach)
Besant Nagar

Reaching CEM Office:

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Toxic Chemicals in SIPCOT Cuddalore and its impact around the world

This article might be a shock to you if you believe that the ill effects of toxics chemicals released in SIPCOT Cuddalore is confined to people living in SIPCOT area alone. When it can affect people in US and UK consuming fish from Cuddalore, will it spare you living in Cuddalore town ??

Toxic Chemicals Are Maiming Thousands Around the World - AlterNet
By Aquene Freechild, Environmental Health Fund. Posted May 16, 2008

Over time, our bodies lose their ability to cope with toxic chemicals, and each exposure has a more severe effect.

I don't know how anyone survives there.

My first visit to the SIPCOT Chemicals Hub in Cuddalore, India could have appeared deceptively pleasant to outside eyes. It's a beautiful day and there's a good breeze as we drive past the welcome sign for SIPCOT. The air in some places seems far cleaner than the air in nearby Chennai. In some spots it smells sweet, in others, like opening a bottle of ibuprofen -- an antiseptic, medicinal smell.

That is until my throat gets sore, I feel a bit nauseated and my guide starts retching. My guide, a local community environmental monitor finally recovers with bloodshot eyes. A headache follows and I begin to wonder how anyone manages to work in these facilities. SIPCOT Chemical Hub sandwiches its picturesque fishing villages in between rusting hulks of chemical factories. The court ordered waste channels are overflowing with an eerily pale blue green liquid, cattle graze not far away.

I visited the Cuddalore chemical hub, 2.5 hours south of Chennai on my most recent trip to India this January. I was in India to meet with the survivors of the world's worst industrial disaster, in which more than 8,000 people were gassed to death nearly overnight in 1984 by a Union Carbide chemical leak. Water contamination and long term effects of the toxic gas have killed 15,000 more since that December night. Cuddalore is a case study of how growing chemicals manufacture in the Global South for western and local markets is setting the stage for future Bhopals. While major consumer markets from New Delhi to New York rely on chemical manufacturing from impoverished communities in the Global South, toxics come back concentrated in products and food produced in the same impoverished communities.

The SIPCOT Chemicals Hub is currently an 8km stretch of pharmaceutical, explosive, dye and pesticide manufacturers. If it is completed as planned, it will stretch more than 38 kilometers, possibly trapping thousands of people on a strip of land between the Kaveri River and the sea that is less than 1km wide. One of my guides, Center for Environmental Monitoring organizer Shweta Narayan, works to keep this already toxic hotspot from reaching the boiling point and to help protect the local population from further egregious harm.

What might be a one-time chemical exposure for a healthy visitor, is a daily sensitization to highly toxic pollutants for the people living nearby. The villagers fish the polluted waters, and breathe belches of black and yellow smoke that smell like pickled cabbage, rotting carcass, sulfur gas or pesticides depending on the factory.

Victory Chemicals is making its toxic and likely radioactive sludge into bricks to give to villagers. But they doesn't find many takers. The bricks now lie dumped near the riverbank, crumbling into the water and from there into the body of a plant, a fish, a human being. Factory workers come out and stand close to the car, arms crossed, hoping harsh stares will generate enough force to push our concern out of the way. The District Environmental Engineer is called. He tries to blow off the claim that the waste is toxic. When that fails, he shrilly professes total impotence to address contamination complaints, before issuing a command for clean up; which all present know is destined to be ignored.

Over time, the body loses its ability to cope with these chemicals designed to confound our natural systems, and each exposure gives a more and more severe effect.

A chemical that will have no visible effect on an adult, can have catastrophic effects on the developing fetus and the young child -- dulling the mind, triggering birth defects, and setting the stage for autism, asthma, allergies and cancer. What may only make an adult nauseated, will cripple the dreams of a child and of a family for a healthy future; a whole and better life.

In the U.S., epidemics of cancer, autism, asthma, and reproductive birth defects in baby boys are sky high. Yet the air quality is far better in the U.S. than in most Indian cities. In India garbage piles are burnt spewing whole incinerator's worth of dioxin into the common air. Americans benefit from better environmental standards and enforcement for vehicle and factory emissions. Both India and U.S. have addressed the air quality problems of their cities -- particularly the places where the well-to-do live -- by exporting the sources of pollution -- Texas; Louisiana; Gary, Indiana; and the Port of Los Angeles are cases in point. The urban poor in either country would recognize these lit up refineries, chemical factories and power plants through the stinging fog.

Childhood cancer increased .6% a year from 1975-2002 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. One in almost 7 women will suffer from breast cancer in their lifetimes; hormonally active toxins may be determining cancer outcomes for our children before they are even born.

We are just starting to see public discussion of the science of how certain chemicals attach to our DNA and are passed down from generation to generation. No longer is our chemical inheritance limited to in utero exposure and breast milk -- fathers are now known to contribute the effects of their chemical exposures as well. This widespread low level toxic contamination has been building its biological trap for more than four generations. In the U.S. and U.K., one in 250 boys is born with a malformed penis; one in 200 with autism.

In a U.K. city the size of Chennai, that would be 208 little boys that will need corrective surgery shortly after birth. But in Chennai, many would never be able to afford it. It would be about 250 little autistic boys who will appear normal at birth, but may never learn to speak, to read, or to use the toilet.

SIPCOT's pollution could well affect your children and grandchildren. Who eats this fish caught in Cuddalore? I would guess that Chennai is one of the markets, and the best fish likely end up in markets in Delhi and London. The chemicals SIPCOT is choking on, or the chemicals from hubs just like it around the world, find their way to you -- though your food, settling on crops and concentrating in the dark tissue in fish.

This horror of low-level maiming is the cause for my wonderment, "How will my friends in the villages surrounding SIPCOT survive?" An enthusiastic community activist Arul Selvam informed us that SIPCOT was founded in 1984. Only 2 generations have been exposed to this growing stench so far. The teachers report that the children are far slower than in other schools; many chemicals used here are known to stunt mental growth, including those emited from a factory adjacent to the school. How can the grassroots organize when their very minds are being altered? There is no other option.

We, those who consume the products from the chemical hubs, must fight the polluters in solidarity with those most affected. We can change our own habits to cut off the market for toxic products at the ankles. But even after undertaking this, we cannot simply abandon the children in chemical hubs like SIPCOT -- our future leaders -- to the excruciating pain of cancer death, the stabbing humiliation from learning disabilities and the resulting teasing, the grief of being deprived the opportunity to become a mother or father.

The idea of detox medicine and facilities for SIPCOT's poisoned residents could be called a pipe dream. Industrial poisoning is an abandoned step child of modern medicine. Those who strive to treat poisoning with environmental medicine, ayurveda, Chinese traditional medicine, yoga, nutritional changes and support are scorned by the medical establishment. Treatment for basic poisoning is denied in this way to the wealthiest clients of the American medical system. Those who are poisoned are too frequently sacrificed at the altar of medical ego. Worse, basic medical care is beyond the reach of so many around SIPCOT, and around the world. Access to medical care declines along with income for the poisoned fisherfolk. What can we hope to offer?

The Sambhanva Clinic in Bhopal, India has found yoga positions and organic herb growing at home, offer relief to Bhopal gas and water poisoning victims. One of the reasons these techniques are threatening to conventional physicians is their very accessibility for all, their inexpensive and therefore unprofitable nature. Integrated medical treatment of industrial poisoning? There are many such good ideas, many shoulds, woulds and coulds that can turn one poisoned person's hell into a renewed hope for life. Those who chose to take the first step and act in support of the SIPCOT communities -- like the members of Youth for Social Change in Madras, are working an invisible magic, setting the stage for larger changes.

I dream not only of stopping the expansion of SIPCOT and its current polluters, but also of seeing effective treatment for those already poisoned there. Like any other daunting challenge, it can be simplified to the happiness you are creating in one other person's life and also your own. The beneficiary of this work I imagine, is a child who can smile without a cleft lip, a mother who can breathe enough to complete her daily work, a father who is proudly able to conceive. When I speak about other Bhopals and the ongoing chemical experiment we are all part of, I will describe this perfectly normal child -- a dream, a vision, and decreasing probability.

Currently exposure to extremely common chemicals, like 2,4 D -- found in Scott's Weed n' Feed, has no long term treatment protocol in the U.S. Those suffering from long term effects of toxic exposure must plow through a revolving door of specialists and disparate alternative medical practicioners spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours chasing relief. If environmental physicians coordinated with integrative medicine practitioners to share knowledge and treatment protocols internationally perhaps simple detox practices could be made available in SIPCOT and hundreds of communities like it.

It may take 20 years for such a vision to materialize. I hope it will take less time to see real pollution control implemented in Cuddalore. In standing up against toxic trespass, the imposition of unwanted chemicals unto our bodies, local organizers are working for the fundamental right to health and for the smile of a perfectly normal, healthy child.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bus stops without shelter

Post Office bus stop on the south side Barathi Road is without shelter for almost two years. The old bus stop shelter was demolished when sidewalk was laid here. But a shelter not constructed even two years after the completion of the sidewalk work. People wait for buses in hot sun and rain.


Similarly GH bus stop on the north side of Hospital Road is also without a shelter. Though the actual stopping is some 50 meters towards west, people wait for buses straight opposite to west gate of the hospital. So buses stop here. Unlike the Post Office stopping cases, I never seen a shelter in this bus stop.

Sand heaped up

Even after broadening the Hospital Road vehicles are not able make use of the full width of the road as sand heaped up either side of the road. Two wheelers are the most affected as buses and other large vehicles rushes in the available space.