Monday, July 31, 2006

Villagers oppose new industrial units - THE HINDU

Villagers oppose new industrial units

A.V. Ragunathan

Report on public hearing on SIPCOT units to be sent to Government for suitable action

  • Say existing ones in SIPCOT not in line with pollution control norms
  • Three deaths and five injury cases in the past six months in the estate
  • Large number of fishermen have complained of skin problems

CUDDALORE: At a public hearing held here on Saturday, the villagers residing near the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) Industrial Estate here voiced strong opposition to setting up of new units, when the existing ones were not fully conforming to the pollution control norms.

The public hearing, organised under the aegis of the Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation, was conducted by a panel consisting of Prof. S. Janakarajan of Madras Institute of Development Studies, Dr. Rakhal Gaithonde of Community Health Cell and Prof. Saraswati, former Head of Department of Sociology, Queen Mary's College, Chennai.

The SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitoring (SACEM), a body of environmentally conscious residents, was of the view that the "cons would far outweigh the pros in allowing the new projects such as a textile park, a PVC (poly-vinyl chloride) factory and a refinery complex to come up in the industrial estate where pollution had already reached the saturation point."

Since, a majority of the residents of Eachankadu, Kudikadu, Panchaiyankuppam, Sangolikuppam, Semmankuppam, Sonakanchavadi and Vairankuppam were suffering from pollution-related ailments, none dare enter into marriage alliance with them.

The "scorecard" prepared by the SACEM listed at least three deaths and five injury cases in the past six months in the estate. Two persons died in separate incidents involving chemical tankers, and another person employed at an effluent treatment plant died of a skin disease.

A large number of fishermen had complained of skin problems. Considering the high level of pollution, the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute had recommended in 1999 that before going for expansion an environmental impact assessment must be done.

M. Nizamudeen, executive secretary of the consumer forum, said the State Human Rights Commission too had advised against setting up of more polluting units in SIPCOT.

The environmentalists blamed the regulatory authorities for the laxity, and pointed out that there were occasions in which the personnel of Fire Service and Rescue Department fumbled for the right agents to extinguish the fire in chemical units.

In such circumstances, permitting more number of polluting units would further aggravate the problems, they opined. The report on the public hearing would be sent to the Government for suitable action.

Copyright © 2006, The Hindu.

Bahrain fire accident

16 Indians die in Bahrain fire (from THE HINDU)
Both dead and injured hail from Tamil Nadu

At least 16 Indians, all from Tamil Nadu, died of suffocation and 11 were injured when a fire broke out in a three-storey building housing over 200 expatriates in this capital city of Bahrain early on Sunday. full story>>

Bahrain deaths: Eight from Cuddalore, two from Villupuram

Efforts on to bring back bodies
Victims from Cuddalore, Villupuram and Vriddachalam.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

News report from

Analysis report of the air sample taken near Coromandel Indag factory in SIPCOT Cuddalore:

SACEM found 10 chemicals in a sample taken last month during a fire at the abandoned Coromandel Indag factory in SIPCOT.

On May 20th, 2006, there was a fire at the premises of the now-abandoned Coromandel Indag factory in SIPCOT, Cuddalore. The fire started at about 4 p.m. and continued till late in the evening. There was thick white smoke emanating from the unit that sent waves of panic in the surrounding communities. One woman, Lakshmi (35), wife of Mr. Rajiv residing near Hemalatha Hitech, was hospitalized as a result of the exposure to the toxic fumes. There was a very strong acidic odour and the smoke carried as far as the Cuddalore Old Town about 3 kms from the chemical complex. The wind was gentle and from the South East to North West. SACEM reports that people complained of dizziness, headache and eye irritation as a result of exposure to the smoke. Responding to the emergency, SACEM took an air sample downwind of the smoke from the unit at about 8:40 pm. The fire engine arrived at about 8 pm and finally and the fire was put out by 9 pm. The Fire Department personnel complained that they were ill-equipped to handle disasters and hazardous incidents in SIPCOT because they did not have an ambulance. Neither did the Fire Department have any knowledge about the chemicals on fire and they were unable to access anybody with that information. As a result, fire-extinguishing operations were delayed by nearly an hour complete report>>

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Film festival in Cuddalore Town Hall

Film fest in Cuddalore-Newindpress

A two-day International short film and documentary film festival jointly organised by the Cuddalore Thiraipada Iyakkam (CTI) and Tamil Nadu Thiraipada Iyakkam, will be conducted in the coastal town from Friday.

Speaking to this website's newspaper, Anban Siva, organiser, CTI, said that masterpieces of legendary directors in the world would no longer be confined to metropolitan cities to be enjoyed by elites in the country.

Denizens in rural areas would get the opportunity to watch films made by directors from Japan, Canada, England, Italy, Russia, France, Poland, Iran, USA and Mexico.

As a first step, to draw the attention of the people in rural terrain from commercial films to art films, the festival had been organised. Film lovers would also get the opportunity to watch documentary and short films in Tamil, he added.

Movies like Rashomon and Dreams, directed by Akira Kurosawa, Japan, Bi-cycle Thief, Vittoria De Sica, Italy, La Strada, Fellini, Italy, Modern Times and Great Dictator by Chaplin, Pather Panchalai by Satyajit Ray, Nanook of the North, the USA, Battleship Potemkin, Eisenstein, Russia, Colour of Paradise, Iran, Where is the Friends Home, Iran, Nazarin by Luise Bunuel, Mexico, Knife in the water by Roman Polanski, Poland, and Incident at Owl Creek directed by Robert Enrico, France, would be screened.

Tamil movies like Nilam, directed by Arivumathi, Kadal Veesiya Valai by RR Srinivasan, Alaigal Kadanthu by Leena Manimegalai, Mutharasu by Tha Amudan, Rajangaththin Mudivu by Arul Ezhilan, Erandavathu Pirappu by Gowthaman, Manusi and Manamul by Sumathi Ruban, Canada, Vilasam by Vathanan, France, Nizhal Uththam by Ajeevan, Swiz, Thagam by Mano, France, Azhiyatha Kadai by Ajeevan, Nadhi by Baskaran and Adit directed by M Sudan, Canada, would be screened at the fest, he said.

Denizens in rural areas would get the opportunity to watch films made by directors from Japan, Canada, England, Italy, Russia, France, Poland.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Broken bridge floor-two wheelers are most affected

Edges of most of the concrete segments of Anna bridge over Gadilam are broken. It becomes annoying experience for all kind of automobile operators. Two wheelers are the most affected. Recently it led to an accident in which a motor bike toppled and the pillion rider sustained severe head injury.

This is a problem faced by the people for past several years. Highways department/Municipality often comes up with a temporary solution of filling the gap and yet to find with a long lasting solution.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Open course on Disaster Management

MIT's Disaster, Vulnerability and Resilience is an excellent open course on disaster management. MIT has added a variety of courses under Open Course Ware within a few years of its introduction. Browse through the Readings section for more reference on resource and risk management. Lecture Notes can also be downloaded directly.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Karunanidhi seeks early completion of rail projects - THE HINDU

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has evinced keen interest in the progress of ongoing railway projects in the State and want these completed within a time frame, Southern Railway General Manager Thomas Varghese said here on Tuesday.
Mr. Karunanidhi also wanted the zone to give priority to projects such as the Salem-Cuddalore gauge conversion and the MRTS for which the State Government was sharing the cost. He also urged the zone to provide more passenger amenities and complete the construction of ongoing railway over/under bridges in the State full story>>

Opportunities in front of us

Tata Group is to "conduct a survey in Tamil Nadu to explore the avenuenes for investment in the state" Tata Group is interested in setting up power plant in the state. So it would prefer a port town. Cuddalore must make use of the oppurtunity and convince the group see Cuddalore as a potential avenue. Once Tata Group chooses Cuddalore it will become an oppurtunity to win a huge allocation for the developement of the port here.

Once if Cuddalore gets the project (and thus the port) ready there are several advantages. One, the power plant itself will create thousands of employement opputunities. Two, Tata Housing & Developement Corporation may come up with an housing project of building townships (a part of which will be utilised for staff quarters). Three, subsequently when we get the port functioning, Cuddalore will become a lovable destination for investors investing on mega project.

A major port in Cuddalore is inevitable for the development of the region. It is boon for a town to be located on the coast. If the geographical location of a place is not constructively exploited, any region will always deprive developement .

More IITs, one more in Tamil Nadu

Centre is planning to bring up more IITs. Though it is reasonable to fear more IITs will dilute the 'brand IIT', in a more wider sense it will provide greater oppurtunities for India's surplus talent pool. Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Dayanidhi Maran has expressed hope that Tamil Nadu would get one more IIT. Though it is unclear whether an existing institute will be upgraded or a new institute will be built, the chances for the former are less likely.

There is already an IIT in Madras. So if a new institute is coming up it likely that it will located away from Madras. Bringing up such intitutes in deep interior Tamil Nadu must be a bad idea. Because, such institute of national importance will be populated by students from all across the length and the breath of the country. If the intitute is to come up in southern districts of Tamil Nadu, travelling from Chennai to the south will itself be an ordeal for the other state students. So it is again a great opportunity for Cuddalore which considerably away from Chennai but is easily accessible. Cuddalore must not fail to grab this oppurtunity and must especially be alert to see that (State) Higher Education Minister doesnt grab this to his constituency.

Cuddalore in the news

Children coming to terms with life after tsunami

Kausalya Santhanam

CUDDALORE: It is a year and a half since the tsunami struck Tamil Nadu. Scores of children were orphaned at the sweep of a wave while others lost either a parent or close relatives who contributed to their sense of security. When you revisit the area and meet the children, you find there is a perceptible change wrought by the combined work of many agencies — voluntary and State.

Till recently, 14-year-old Saravanan hated crossing the bridge that led to the old town in Cuddalore — and to his old home in Singarathoppu. For, it was from a nearby terrace here that he had watched his mother and elder sister being consumed by the waters. Now the boy stands near the remains of his home. His father, R. Punyabal, who did not remarry, devotes his time to cooking and caring for his son, the only one left of his family.

"Saravanan was highly disturbed after the tragedy; he would cry inconsolably," say Sujatha and Kamu, social workers of the Indian Council for Child Welfare which has helped reintegrate children in school in the tsunami-affected districts. The voluntary organisation aims to keep children who lost a parent within the family and avoid institutional care. ICCW provides educational materials, monetary assistance and counselling. "We are also facilitating the formation of watch dog committees by the Government with the support of the UNICEF to prevent trafficking," says Andal Damodaran, secretary of ICCW, Tamil Nadu full story>>

Six Central Prisons lack superintendents

A. Subramani

CHENNAI: Out of the nine Central Prisons in Tamil Nadu, six are functioning without full-fledged Prison Superintendent for months. A similar position in Borstal (for juvenile convicts) at Pudukottai is also lying vacant for long.

Only Chennai, Coimbatore and Palayamkottai prisons have Superintendents. In-charge officials are running the show in Salem, Vellore, Cuddalore, Madurai, Puzhal and Tiruchi Prisons. The Chennai Central Prison does not have an Additional Superintendent full story>>

Jacobs Gets Chemplast Sanmar Limited Pact In India

Jacobs Gets Chemplast Sanmar Limited Pact In India

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (JEC) received a limited contract from Chemplast Sanmar Ltd. to provide engineering, procurement assistance and construction-management services for a 160,000-tons-per-annum polyvinylchloride, or PVC, plant.
Specific terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the total investment cost is about $110 million.
The company said the PVC plant will be built at Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, in southern India. It expects the facility to be completed in the spring of 2008.
Jacobs said Ineos Vinyls, U.K., a PVC-maker, is the process licensor.

Also see Construction & Maintenence News, Belarus

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Jacobs Gets Plant Contract in India - MSN Money

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - Construction-services company Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. on Thursday said it received a contract from Chemplast Sanmar Ltd. to provide engineering, procurement and construction management to build a polyvinylchloride (PVC) plastic plant in India.

Jacobs did not disclose financial terms of the contract, but said the plant's investment cost is $110 million.

The plant, to be located in Cuddalore, India, will produce 160,000 tons a year of PVC, a plastic widely used in commercial and industrial applications full story>>
School van accident death toll rises to seven

Friday, July 07, 2006