Thursday, December 27, 2007

3 Years After Tsunami, Bay Area Residents Still Helping

3 Years After Tsunami, Bay Area Residents Still Helping

By Sherri Ackerman

Published: December 25, 2007

TAMPA - A sign hanging outside the meeting center in the Indian village of Cuddalore offers words of inspiration to residents who had little to motivate them three years ago.

"I can, so I will," it reads.

The day after Christmas in 2004, a monster tsunami in the Indian Ocean devastated parts of Southeast Asia. Cuddalore, a port district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, lost nearly 500 residents – many fishermen at sea.

A world away in Tampa, physicians and well-known philanthropists Kiran and Pallavi Patel ached to help. Along with friends Bella and Yogesh Patel, the couple began a fundraising campaign to rebuild Cuddalore and provide for its remaining residents.

Dubbed Project Hope, the complex includes an orphanage and school for more than 450 children. There also are homes for more than 200 widowed, poor and abandoned women who learn about computers, sewing and other skills in a vocational training center.

In less than a year, the Patel Foundation for Global Understanding helped raise $400,000, with much of it coming from prominent donors in the Tampa Bay area. But dollars also came from school children at the Academy at the Lakes in Land 'O Lakes, which collected $2,700; and restaurant workers in Tampa who started Waiting for Relief, an effort that raised more than $20,000.

In October, a group of 16 people representing the foundation traveled to Cuddlore. One of them was former University of South Florida president Betty Castor, who now is executive director for the think-tank USF Patel Center For Global Solutions.

For many, it was their first visit to India and the first opportunity to ensure that the money was well-spent, said Sigrid Tidmore, the Patel foundation's executive director. The Patels partnered with the India Heritage Research Foundation, which Tidmore said has a solid track record in social development.

Still, the project took longer than expected. Heavy rains in 2005 delayed completion until the end of 2006, and the various programs took shape during the past year, Tidmore said.

By the time the foundation group came, the village was once again thriving with its women on their way to self-sufficiency. Children were getting adopted. Men were returning to the sea in new boats.

"The neat thing was the pride you saw in the women," said Dianne Blyler, a former Florida Power manager who acted as the trip's photographer.

What she liked about the foundation's plan was how the Patels went about filling a community's need. They asked people what they wanted instead of telling them what they were going to get, said Blyler, who also is working with Tidmore on a new project, Healthy Together Tampa Bay, to educate women on health issues.

A film crew traveled with the group and developed three videos to be shown next month, Tidmore said. One will focus on tsunami relief efforts, which should appeal to hurricane-weary residents along the Gulf of Mexico.

"You can't help but compare it to Katrina," she said of the tsunami's wrath. "When you go out on the beaches, everything is flattened a mile inland."

But there are signs of new growth, she said. Green shoots sprout from trees, still snapped in half from the massive wave. Freshly-painted boats line the shore. Children's laughter once again can be heard in Cuddalore.

Reporter Sherri Ackerman can be reached at (813) 259-7144 or

Three years on, tsunami memories linger

Three years on, tsunami memories linger - Hindustan Times
GC Shekhar, Hindustan Times
Cuddalore, December 26, 2007

Vadivelu and Kullammal cannot stop showing their new home to friends. They can’t believe that this airy two-bedroom dwelling with a verandah would be theirs for the rest of their lives.

Vadivelu, a 71-year-old farmer from Uppalandi village near Cuddalore, lost his little plot in the December 26 tsunami three years ago. The seawater made his land uncultivable.

But assistance came in the form of Help Age India for the farming couple who stayed in a shanty till then. “We never even dreamt of such a place even while we lived in our leaking shanty back in our village. With no children to take care of us, this is God’s gift,” said Vadivelu.

Vadivelu and Kullammal were two lucky ones chosen by Help Age India as part of its post-tsunami rehabilitation plan for 7,800 elders. The couple was chosen by a village elders’ committee for the Thamaraikulam Elders Village, a model residential home for elders.

Just 5 km from Cuddalore on the East Coast Road, the village will be the home to 100 senior citizens, all chosen by their respective village committees.

Built in clusters, each unit would house four elders with a common kitchen and dining hall as well as an activity-cum-training room so the elders are never short of company.

Small details about their needs have been taken care of. Like the toilet bowl with a railing on either side as well as the non-skid flooring. At their service would be a visiting doctor plus an ambulance and 10 full-time nursing assistants.

“We have even provided a walking track around the lotus pond — from which the village gets its name Thamaraikulam — and a two-acre vegetable and herbal patch where they can continue their farming on a minor scale. The whole idea is to let them age actively and with dignity,” said Rajeswhar Devarakonda, project head of Help Age India.

News channel NDTV’s viewers contributed Rs 1.25 crore for the project’s cost of Rs 2.48 crore.

It will become fully operational in two months. “At present, we have ten elders living here to check out the system and will gradually bring all 100 beneficiaries,” Rajeswar said.

One of them is Venugopal, who has no teeth, but loved the food served in the 10 days he stayed there. His right eye recovering from a cataract surgery, the 64-year-old said: “I could not enjoy the chicken though.”

Three years on, tsunami memories linger

Three years on, tsunami memories linger - Hindustan Times
GC Shekhar, Hindustan Times
Cuddalore, December 26, 2007

Vadivelu and Kullammal cannot stop showing their new home to friends. They can’t believe that this airy two-bedroom dwelling with a verandah would be theirs for the rest of their lives.

Vadivelu, a 71-year-old farmer from Uppalandi village near Cuddalore, lost his little plot in the December 26 tsunami three years ago. The seawater made his land uncultivable.

But assistance came in the form of Help Age India for the farming couple who stayed in a shanty till then. “We never even dreamt of such a place even while we lived in our leaking shanty back in our village. With no children to take care of us, this is God’s gift,” said Vadivelu.

Vadivelu and Kullammal were two lucky ones chosen by Help Age India as part of its post-tsunami rehabilitation plan for 7,800 elders. The couple was chosen by a village elders’ committee for the Thamaraikulam Elders Village, a model residential home for elders.

Just 5 km from Cuddalore on the East Coast Road, the village will be the home to 100 senior citizens, all chosen by their respective village committees.

Built in clusters, each unit would house four elders with a common kitchen and dining hall as well as an activity-cum-training room so the elders are never short of company.

Small details about their needs have been taken care of. Like the toilet bowl with a railing on either side as well as the non-skid flooring. At their service would be a visiting doctor plus an ambulance and 10 full-time nursing assistants.

“We have even provided a walking track around the lotus pond — from which the village gets its name Thamaraikulam — and a two-acre vegetable and herbal patch where they can continue their farming on a minor scale. The whole idea is to let them age actively and with dignity,” said Rajeswhar Devarakonda, project head of Help Age India.

News channel NDTV’s viewers contributed Rs 1.25 crore for the project’s cost of Rs 2.48 crore.

It will become fully operational in two months. “At present, we have ten elders living here to check out the system and will gradually bring all 100 beneficiaries,” Rajeswar said.

One of them is Venugopal, who has no teeth, but loved the food served in the 10 days he stayed there. His right eye recovering from a cataract surgery, the 64-year-old said: “I could not enjoy the chicken though.”

Sanitation raises a stink in settlements for victims - The Hindu

by Ramya Kannan

Recent rain compounds the issue, causing flooding in many areas

CHENNAI: In a State where the progress of post-tsunami rehabilitation has largely been consistent over the last three years, inappropriately-addressed sanitation issues have begun to raise a stink.

The inappropriateness of sanitation projects implemented in the tsunami-hit districts of the State, especially in rural, coastal Tamil Nadu, has never been as clear as it has been in the last six months, when large-scale resettlement to permanent shelters took place.

With more and more people shifting to permanent buildings constructed by various NGOs based on specifications provided by the Government, sanitation or the lack of it, is threatening to grow into a big issue. The recent rain has further compounded the issue, causing flooding in many areas.
Unusable toilets

Cause for concern: Sewage overflowing at Tsunami Nagar. (Right) An Ecosan toilet at Shanmuga Nagar, Parangaipettai in Cuddalore. —

Tamizhmani, who lives in Tsunami Nagar, Cuddalore, had stopped worrying about the unusable toilet in her home until the monsoon arrived. With flood waters inundating the vast area near the settlement used by the locals for defecation, Tamizhmani has realised that it is essential for her to repair the toilet at any cost. “I could not use it right from the beginning. It clogs up with sand. Also, during the rains, the water too is contaminated.” Cuddalore collector Rajendra Ratnoo says fisherfolk are unused to toilets and this is part of the problem.

The local Tsunami Resource Centre has been commissioned to study acceptability and usage of toilets in the permanent shelters, he adds.

In Nagapattinam too, where people in some areas continue to live in temporary shelters while others have moved to the permanent houses, basic amenities are still in question.
Complaints galore

Residents charge that access to protected drinking water and good sanitation has been ignored. As pit latrines, septic tanks and soak pits had not being constructed properly, the areas were inundated with sewage after the rains.
Contaminated water

Those in Colachel and Melamanakudi in Kanyakumari complain of contaminated drinking water.

Antony Sami of BLESS, a Cuddalore-based NGO involved in building houses, sanitation issues arise primarily because of the natural soil conditions and non-involvement of the community in building plans. In most areas, toilets have been constructed with technologies unsuited to the sandy soil and high water table of the coastal areas.

Alternative technologies, such as the Ecosan dry toilets are also being tried out, as in Shanmuga Nagar, Cuddalore. C.V. Shankar, Officer on Special Duty, Tsunami Rehabilitation programme, says cognisance has been taken of the issue.

In the coming year, attention will be paid to constructing decentralised water treatment plants in the urban areas.

In rural areas, he said, local solutions would be utilised to improve the situation.

(With inputs from K.Subramanian, Nagapattinam and P.Suresh Kumar, Kanyakumari)


Indian Ocean tsunami: Third year anniversary

Tsunami hit survivors lead an uncertain life three years on - Daily India

Three years after the deadly tsunami ravaged the southeast Indian coast, claiming thousands of lives, survivors of the tragedy in Chennai are still trying to forget the scars left behind by the killer waves full story>>

Candle light marches mark third anniversary of tsunami in TN - The Hindu

...In Chennai, Nagapattinam and Cuddalore along with ten other districts bearing the brunt of the waves, families of the victims offered prayers at the graves with the traditional `Padayal' (offering delicacies to the dead).
Fiftyone coastal villages in Cuddalore district, which were hit by the tsunami killing 648 people, wore a new look, with houses and amenities like roads and drinking water facilities built by various NGOs. District Collector Rajendra Ratnoo told PTI that normal life had returned to the district. A total of 1903 houses have been constructed and handed over to the victims, he said full story>>

Wave of memories hits the coast - News Today

...Poignant secnes were witnessed in the worst hit Kanniyakumari, Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts, where people recalled with tears in their eyes, how they lost their dear ones to tsunami. In Cuddalore, where 648 had been consumed by the madness of the sea, fishermen at Sonangkuppam —— one of the worst-affected —— were all at sea with the surging waves of emotions even as they stayed off from the ocean.
Representatives of Chambers of Commerce and various political parties took silent processions and pledged their support to the victims. In Cuddalore, silent processions were taken out in Thazhanguda, Devanampattinam and Sonakuppam fishing hamlets full story>>

They still dream bright - The New Indian Express

Three years since the giant waves struck the coastlines in the form of tsunami, many a life has been transformed.

One among them is M Vijay (10) of Pillu Medu, from an islet near Killai, who hopes to become an officer in the defence wing. He had lost most of his family to the waves full story>>

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Water distribution pipes needs to be replaced

It is good to know that great care is taken in purifying and testing drinking water at source. Care should also be taken in distribution of water. I come to know through the readers of this blog, that the water distribution pipes in Cuddalore were laid some 40 years back. These galvanised iron pipes are rusted and damaged at many places because of drainage, (cement) road laying and cable laying works over the years. People using municipal water say that initially they get a pale yellow colored water with rusts, and that they get clear water only after sometime. This shows that there is problem in the distribution pipes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Proactive District Administration

Many of the readers of this blog might be aware that a couple of weeks back we posted an article about the quality of drinking water supplied on municipal water taps . District Collector Mr. Rajendra Ratnoo responded to this post and invited us to participate in the Water Supply Board Meeting held on Monday (December 17) at Collector's Camp Office.

Water Supply Board Meeting at Collector's Camp Office.

I have attended the meeting . In the meeting, District Collector discussed about this issue with the officials from Water Supply Board and instructed them to take water samples and send him the results.

Details discussed/conveyed at the meeting:

A project at the cost of Rs. 4.63 crores to improve the quality of water is in progress. Once this is implemented the drinking water quality will improve to a greater extent.

In another initiative, district administration has distributed 360 water testing kits to village panchayats. Administration will train five people for every testing kit. 15 parameters are checked using these kits. This will enable the people themselves to check the quality of water.

These initiatives are taken to ensure the water quality in addition to the already existing procedure in which TWAD (Tamilnadu Water Supply and Drainage) Board submits a detailed report on water quality. This report which is submitted every 15 days to the District Collector contains details of the 19 parameters of the drinking water.

We have posted an article Is Silver Beach a Plastic Free Zone ?, in the month of July which pointed out the usage of plastic materials by shop keepers in Silver Beach, despite the beach had been declared a 'Plastic Free Zone'. In response to this article District Collector had assured of necessary action. Accordingly, on Sunday (December 16) plastic materials used there were removed and shop keepers at Silver Beach were instructed not to use any plastic material in their business.

We hereby take this opportunity to thank District Collector Mr. Rajendra Ratnoo, for showing great interest in serving public by taking immediate action on the issues reported in this blog.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Here is an interesting and shocking story I came across...



Tsunami hit Tamilnadu in recent years and people were taken aback at its ferocity. The least expected unfolding of the Nature’s fury has stirred a debate on the changes in our coastline. Why did it happen and how it happened are subjects of current debate. Earth’s surface rests divided into 12 plates. Now the 13 th plate is in the offing. Throughout history scientists believe continents to be drifting, moving closer, or breaking from one another. Pangaea, the most recent super-continent on Earth began to break 160 million years ago. Paul Hoffman, Professor of Geology at Harvard University opines that while Pangaea broke up the Atlantic Ocean opened splitting North America from Eurasia. Then North America parted from Eurasia subsequently South America from Africa, Australia, Antarctica and India separated from Africa creating the Indian Ocean. The same scholar says, “ Atlantic and Indian Oceans continue to widen while Pacific gets smaller. In 100 million years North America and Asia will probably drift into each other”. Paul Hoffman had already named the new super-continent as Amasia.

Jeffrey Welssel at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory says, “ The result of this crucial stage in the collision between India and Asia is the breakup of the Indo Australian Plate into separate Indian and Australian plates”. He also said “ In The Central Indian Ocean Nature is conducting a large scale experiment for us, showing us what happens to oceanic lithosphere (earth’s outer layer) when a force is applied.” This experiment had its repercussions, when on fault lines earthquakes hit almost exactly where Indo Australian plates have broken.

Group of researchers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have provided with schematic global tectonic activity map, which shows several types of faults, active spreading centers, and volcanoes. The fault-lines or geo fractures are areas where we must watch and take all precautions in constructions to save lives.

This may be a global watch, but Pondicherrian’s have specific areas to observe. A Report on Ground Water Survey and Exploration in the Union Territory of Pondicherry and its environs by a team of experts from Central Ground Water Board, Southern region in March 1973 says that “ The photo-geological study has also confirmed the existence of the fault to the west of the coastline a straight scarp running almost parallel to Pondicherry- Markanam Road” That finding was made three decades ago.

Dr.S.M.Ramasamy Director of Center for Remote Sensing of Bharathidasan University as early as 1993 said, “ The East North East- West South West trending faults on the contrary are showing left handed (sinistrel) ongoing translational movements. Such sinisterly and dextrally moving faults display definite morph tectonic anomalies in the remotely sensed data and also in the field. In addition, there is a conspicuous land subsidence between Pondicherry in the North East and Cumbum valley in the South West.

One such graben has been established along north east- southwest trending faults in between Pondicherry-Cuddalore in the northeast and Cumbum valley in the Southwest. It is significant to observe that the earthquake epicenters fall along such NE-SW trending fault in Cuddalore, Ariyalor, Dindigul and Kodaikanal.

In view of a geo-fracture i.e. fault line from Kalapet in Pondicherry to Cumbum Valley in South Tamil Nadu, great caution must be taken in construction of high rise structures wherever fault lines have been identified. Earthquake resistant construction design in places where one fault line passes, as mentioned above, is need of the hour. There are pictures taken by satellites using remote sensing techniques had identified studies covering Tamil Nadu its and various fault lines. It is high time sky scrappers do not come up in the fault line and quake prone areas.

While Earthquake precautions are need of the hour, the new threat to Tamil Nadu’s coast comes by way of Tsunamis. Tsunami is a known phenomenon in Pacific Ocean stretching from Chile in Latin America to Japan in Far East Asia. Seismic disturbances, coastal earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or under sea landslides that jolt the ocean floor cause tsunamis, which travels at speeds up to 500 miles per hour and reaches heights between 50 and 100 feet. Tsunami observatories and Earth Quake observatories must be set up for early warning systems. People living in low-lying coastal areas have faced the brunt. “ It is high time fishermen settlements are shifted to higher grounds. World Bank and global assistance that is forthcoming must be utilized to create fishermen colonies in high ground ’’opines Narambai Kanagasabai, President of Narambai Fishermen Panchayat of Pondicherry state.

The green house effect causes rise in sea water levels. Scientists have predicted that by 2100 A.D the rise in sea level will be between 0.5 to 1.5 meters. Before 1.5 million years Sea was closer to Madurai and before 90,000 years Chennai, Pondicherry and Vedaranyam were surrounded by sea. Due to fall in sea levels 65,000 years ago India and Ceylon joined and when sea level rose around 27,000 years ago they parted. Then 17,000 years ago due to fall in water level both joined and when water rose they parted. This is the study-report of Bharathidasan University’s Earth Sciences Department. All these studies and past history makes it clear that our coastline had undergone changes over centuries. Poompuhar of Chola Empire is beneath the seas. Sirkazhi once a coastal town is now an interior town. So changes in our coast is continuous. Caution must be taken about all dwellings in our coast, and let this tsunami attack be an eye opener.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Drinking water in Cuddalore

The above photo shows the dirty colour of the drinking water received through the Municipal water pipe. The water is so dirty that it raises the questions of safety precautions taken by the authorities in providing the basic amenity to the residents of Tirupapuliyur.

Coast to Coast

Southern Railways has planned to introduce train service connecting east coast with west coast. This passenger service will connect two port towns, Cuddalore and Mangalore. The proposed route is Cuddalore-Bangalore - Hassan - Mangalore.

Related link:
Vriddhachalam — Salem train service on new BG track

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Plea to extend train service to Cuddalore

Plea to extend train service - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE: Consumer activists and residents of Cuddalore have urged Union Minister of State for Railways R.Velu to extend the Vriddhachalam—Salem train service (to be started from Sunday on the converted gauge system) to Cuddalore.

In a representation, M.Maruthavanan, general secretary of Federation of All Resident Welfare Associations, has urged the Minister to start the Cuddalore—Salem service without delay.

The buses bound for Vriddhachalam were running fully packed and if the commuters were to go to the temple town to catch the train, the situation would worsen.

A large number of commuters bound for Salem were from Cuddalore and therefore it would be apt if the train started from Cuddalore, he said. General secretary of the Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation M. Nizamudeen has urged the Minister to start train services on the Cuddalore—Salem—Bangalore section and Cuddalore—Salem—Coimbatore section.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Southern Railway Once Again Proves that Cuddalore is not in its Agenda

This article has been contributed to Cuddalore Online by Ramkumar.

Southern Railways has opened the Virudhachalam - Salem section. But as expected, Southern Railway has not added new services to Cuddalore - Virudhalacham section.

Southern Railways never thinks about Cuddalore or the Cuddalore-Virudhachalam section. It is acting as if Cuddalore is never in its agenda.

The very gauge conversion project bears the title of Cuddalore - Virudhachalam - Salem gauge conversion.

But Southern Railways is not able to operate even one Cuddalore - Salem Passenger, post the completion of full Gauge conversion of this Cuddalore - Virudhachalam - Salem.

We do not know what the South Arcot Railway Passengers' association is doing and where it is ?

Highly unfortunate.

And there are no people to voice for Cuddalore. Cuddalore would remain under-developed even for years to come. The plight of Cuddalore will continue for years to come.

Even God cannot save Cuddalore.

This article as originally posted in CuddaloreOnline group.

Virudhachalam-Salem BG section to be Commissioned on 18th Nov

This article has been contributed to Cuddalore Online by Ramkumar.

The Virudhachalam - Salem BG section is being commissioned on 18th Nov.

A Grand function for this is being held at Virudhachalam Junction on 18th Nov. Morning around 10:00 AM.

Minister of State for Railways Mr. R. Velu flags off the first passenger service in this section from Virudhachalam Junction. The first service to be introduced in this section would be a Virudhachalam - Salem Passenger service. MLAs, MPs, State and Central Ministers participate.

The Virudhachalam - Salem Gauge conversion is part of the Cuddalore-Salem Gauge Conversion Project.

For now, it is not known how many train services would be operated in this new Virudhachalam - Salem BG section.

If SR intends to operate only one Virudhachalam - Salem passenger in this section, then it is really a bad decision by SR. In that case, atleast, this Virudhachalam - Salem passenger should be extended to Cuddalore immediately.

Irrespective of the number of services proposed in this new section, SR should run minimum one Cuddalore-Salem passenger.

In fact, if SR can introduce a Cuddalore - Bangalore Fast Passenger or Express, it would be highly useful to people in Cuddalore, Vadalur, Neyveli and Virudhachalam.

Hope SR will do something to Cuddalore atleast this time.

This article as originally posted in CuddaloreOnline group on 14-Nov-2007.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cuddalore neglected by Southern Railways

This article has been contributed to Cuddalore Online by Ramkumar.

Cuddalore as in other fronts, stands ignored in Railway Front too.Luck never seems to favour Cuddalore, in spite of it being a district headquarters. The main cause for Cuddalore's this plight is the lack of political backing for Cuddalore. There are no people to voice for Cuddalore.

The full CUPJ (Cuddalore Port Junction) -VRI (Vridhachalam) Broad Gauge section was thrown open to traffic in Dec. 2003. Only one service to Trichy plying in this section is of much use to the public. Even the other Cuddalore-Vridhachalam passenger is not of much use, as it provides connection only to a nearby town of Vridhachalam, which is at a short distance from Cuddalore.

Four Budgets in 2004,2005, 2006 and 2007 have passed and not even a single addition to the number of services which were introduced when the section was initially thrown open to traffic in Dec. 2003. Very Pathetic.

In contrast, SR is paying attention to every other section converted to BG. But it is this section, which needs SR's attention, focus and concentration badly. A comparison of this section with all the other converted sections will reveal the true picture and also how this section has been totally ignored by SR. Also how Cuddalore has been badly let down by Southern Railway.

Thanjavur-Kumbakona m-Mayiladuthurai section

TJ (Thanjavur) -KMU (Kumbakonam) section was commissioned in early 2004 in connection with Mahamaham. The initial pattern of services were,

1 Pair of KMU-TEN Passengers and 1 Pair of KMU-TPJ passengers
In 2004-2005 TT TJ-MS Rockfort was extended to KMU
In 2005-2006 TT, TJ-CBE Jan Shatabdi was extended to KMU and so also TJ-MYS to KMU
When the KMU (Kumbakonam) -MV (Mayiladuthurai) section was converted to BG, KMU-TPJ,KMU- TEN passengers and MYS-KMU were extended to MV.
Also a new MV-TPJ passenger starting from MV in the morning and returning to MV in the night was introduced.
Now in 2007-2008, one more MV-TPJ express has been introduced.

TJ (Thanjavur) -TVR (Tiruvarur) section

This section was commissioned in the second half of 2006. Initial services were 2 Pairs of TVR-TPJ passengers and one pair of TJ-TVR passengers.
In the 2007-2008 TT, one more TVR-TPJ passenger has been introduced.

VPT (Virudhunagar) - TSI (Tenkasi) section

In 2004-2005 there was one pair of MDU-TSI passenger and also a weekly MS-TSI Podhigai Super Fast Express. In 2006-2007, one more pair of MDU-TSI passenger was introduced. Now in 2007-2008, one more special MDU-TSI passenger has been introduced and also Podhigai is now running daily.

Pondicherry- Villupuram section.

This section was commissioned in the first half of 2004. Initial services were 1 pair of PDY-MS Fast Passenger and PDY-TPTY passenger. In 2005-2006, 2 to 3 coaches to/from Pondicherry were moved to/from Chennai by Pearl City/Ananthapuri In 2006-2007, Pondicherry- Bhuvaneshwar weekly Super Fast train as well as PDY-MS five-day-a-week express train were introduced.

In contrast, if we take the Cuddalore-Vridhachalam section, the count of services at the time this section was commissioned remains the same even now, that is after 4 years. Not even a single addition. SR is going out of the way to operate services to/from Pondicherry. For two coaches, the attaching/detaching operation is happening at Villupuram on two days to provide a link between Pondy and Chennai. This is in addition to the daily PDY-MS Fast Passenger and Five-Day-a-week express services between Pondy and Chennai. SR is able to find even new timings in the congested MS-VM section to accommodate new trains for Pondicherry, which gesture or act of SR is not to be seen in the case of trains to other places.

Again the patronage in the Pondicherry- Villupuram section for all these three services between Pondy and Chennai are very poor, defeating the very purpose of operating these direct services to Chennai from Pondicherry. There does not seem to be any justification in offering more services to Pondy when the patronage offered/observed is poor and far from satisfactory.

On the other hand, there are sections like the Cuddalore-Vridhacha lam section, where there is a huge demand for train services, but SR does not seem to concerntrate on running more trains in this section. The rakes of these commercially unviable services,like in the PDY (Pondy)-VM (Villupuram) section, can very well be diverted and utilised to run more services in sections, where there is a huge demand for train/rail services like the Cuddalore-Vridhachalam section.

The Cuddalore-Trichy passenger is highly patronised by the people of the Cuddalore-Vridhacha lam section (Excluding Vridhachalam). Even an additional pair of service is very much required. But SR does not seem to take note of all these.

In the first leg of conversion of Cuddalore-Vridhachalam portion of the Cuddalore-Salem section, yes, the Cuddalore-Vridhachalam section has been totally ignored by SR and Trichy division. Now that the remaining portion of Vridhachalam-Salem also has been converted, SR should pay some attention to Cuddalore at least now.

Atleast, in the second leg, let Cuddalore get some justice and attention. SR should introduce direct trains to Bangalore and Coimbatore from Cuddalore via Vridhachalam and Salem. These services would be of high use to the people in places like Cuddalore, Kurunjipaadi, Vadalur and Neyveli coming under the Cuddalore-Vridhachalam section.

When SR is introducing new express services over short distances like the recently introduced Mayiladuthurai- Tiruchchirappall i express, it is but natural for the Cuddaloreans to get an opinion that theirs is the only place which is being treated badly and ignored totally by SR and Tiruchirappalli division.

When SR is running two coaches between Pondy and Chennai and an attaching/detaching operating happening for this at Villupuram, people tend to get an opinion that SR is only not able to do anything to Cuddalore, whereas it is doing and able to do something or the other, with respect to the other places.

The above mentioned places have a sound political backing that keeps things moving for them and in their favour, which backing unfortunately is not available for Cuddalore. Nobody to represent and voice Cuddalore's Cause to the Railways.

There is one group called South Arcot Railway Passengers'Association. Unfortunately, this group is also not voicing Cuddalore's cause and needs and also not getting things done for Cuddalore. This group is supposed to voice Cuddalore's needs to Railways. But unfortunately no.

Can this Cuddalore Online Group do something to effectively voice and represent Cuddalore's cause and needs to Railways, so that Cuddalore will get attention and consequently more train services for Cuddalore which would only be a big boon to the people of Cuddalore. After all, is not rail journey the most comfortable one when compared to bus journeys ? Hence more the train services from Cuddalore, more they will be useful for the people of Cuddalore to make a comfortable journey to different places.

This article as originally posted in CuddaloreOnline group.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


The following picture shows how a speed breaker should be.
Picture courtesy -

PS: Click on the picture to view a bigger one
The guidelines to be followed before a decision for laying a speed breaker can be read at this site

But in many places around Cuddalore, speed breakers are laid as
five successive humps at a span of 60 feet. One such is shown in the above picture. Location : Semmandalam - Kammiampet road connecting Panruti road.

From the traffic point there should be only one speed breaker to control the traffic, but such a number of humps in the name of speed breakers is proving a hindrance to the road users.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Will we get back the green spread ?

Until a couple of years back the vast open ground in front of Periyar Arts College in Devanampattinam had a beautiful green spread. It was nice to see the children playing in groups, flying kites and to see cows grazing on still afternoons. This natural green spread used to be such a treat for the eyes, especially during the post monsoon season.

This changed soon after tsunami stuck the coast. Nearly one fourth of the area is filled with sand after tsunami. Off course we don't have any control over this. But what really spoiled the rest of the place in the so called 'development' .

A new hostel was built in this ground with long perimeter wall. A new road was laid to the old hostel cutting this ground into two halves.

The new hostel - built to the east of the existing hostel

New road to the old hostel

This place was also used for preparing cement concrete blocks for Government of Rajasthan's Tsunami Rehabilitation Program. Bricks prepared here were transport to various parts of the district to built houses for tsunami affected. Now the project is over. But the debris are yet to be cleared.

Construction debris left behind left behind by Avas Vikas Limited

Newest 'development' is, something like a restaurant is built covering a good portion of the ground.

Construction of new restaurant at Silver Beach

It is good to see more hostels coming up students, new recreational spots of people in town and any other kind of development. But in the mean time we should understand the importance of open spaces in urban areas, and the important role it plays in the development of a healthy community, and conserve it before we lose all.

Note: Some of the photographs were taken about an year back.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

U.S. NGO to put Cuddalore pollution problem in global limelight

U.S. NGO to put Cuddalore pollution problem in global limelight
A.V. Ragunathan
The Hindu, 24 September 2007

CUDDALORE: The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an environmentalists' group in the U.S., has expressed solidarity with the SIPCOT Area Community Environment Monitoring Committee and the environmentalists in Cuddalore in their combat against pollution.

Voicing concern over the pollution level in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate, the Brigade has proposed to host the Cuddalore problem on its website — —to take the message to the international audience.

The Brigade will support the endeavour to check pollution and talk to the industries to keep their emission and effluent levels well within the norms, according to Melanie Lawrence and Holly Witherington, Community Organisers, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, New Orleans, U.S.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, they said that during their two-day stay in Eachankadu, Samiyarpettai and Reddiarpettai, abutting the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here, the effects of pollution made them fell sick. It was in such hazardous conditions the people were living in scores of villages surrounding the industrial estate, even while grappling with the devastations wrought by the tsunami.

She cautioned against locating pollution-causing industries, including oil refineries (one is slated to come up in Cuddalore), in coastal areas, when there was apprehension over the global warming triggering more of disasters.

Citing the post-Katrina scenario, she said a refinery in New Orleans spilled several million litres of oil, causing chaos and making the place unfit for living. This had happened despite the enactment of a plethora of laws and regulations.

About nuclear power, Ms. Lawrence said the movement against nuclear power stations in the U.S. was quite strong.

The Brigade was of the firm view that it was difficult to get rid of the nuclear waste.

For up-to-date news on SIPCOT Pollution visit

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Work on river bund road put on halt

Cuddalore underwent a massive phase of development under Gagandeepsingh Bedi's administration. River bund road linking Jawan's Bhavan and Kammianpet is one of the project initiated by him. The project is put on halt after he was transfered.

This dual purpose project will serve as an alternate route for the buses leaving Cuddalore towards Chennai and Pondicherry, apart from preventing flooding in Subrayalu Nagar and its surrounding areas.

Present Collector Rajendra Ratnoo inspected the work six months back and announced about the new proposal of building protective wall along Gedilam. There is no progress in work for almost a year now.

Though a proper road is yet to be laid, people started using the route.

Photos of the work taken last November


Saturday, October 06, 2007

People against anymore polluting industries in Cuddalore

There is a strong opposition for setting up any new polluting industries in Cuddalore SIPCOT. The chemical industries there, had already made the ground water unusable and the soil unfit for agriculture. Now the government is planning to bring more industries, ignoring the impact on the environment and thus on the health and livelihood of people in the surrounding villages.

Cuddalore Power Company (CPC) is one such industry that is planned to be set up at SPICOT. But unlike for other projects, the power project faces an unprecedented opposition from the people of SIPCOT region. Government is attempting to forcibly acquire land from the villagers. If the power company is setup thousands of people will lose their land and their livelihood.

There are reasons for all the people in Cuddalore to worry about. The planned location of the company is not far from the Cuddalore town. Once the power company starts to operate in full swing, it will emit 2,500 tonnes of fly ash a day and a huge amount of hot water will discharged into sea. Means, fly ash will add to the already polluted air and hot water discharged will make the sea in the region unfit for marine life. This will have a severe impact on fishing industry in Cuddalore.

As mentioned, CPC is just one among the polluting industry that is to come up. Apart from this, an oil refinery, a PVC plant(work has already started) and a huge textile processing plant are to come up. Environment protection organisations are doing their best to stop industries from coming up. All their effort go in vain because of lack of support from people of Cuddalore.

At this point people of Cuddalore have two choices. One, support the NGOs to keep the polluting industries out. Two, move out of Cuddalore for a safer living.

Take action now !

Take Action!
Related links:

Farmers seek White Paper on power project-The Hindu

Villagers unanimously reject power project: AIADMK team-The Hindu

Clear apprehensions over private power project: VCK-The Hindu

For up to date news on developments in SIPCOT, visit

Sunday, September 23, 2007

CuddaloreOnline membership crosses hundred

Cuddalore Online group's membership crosses hundred. There has been a steady increase in membership since the group was created. The groups facilitates easy interaction between viewers of Cuddalore Online blog and members can also report negligence of authorities, contribute their ideas for the betterment of the town.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Strike by TNSTC crew

The crew of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation attached to the Cuddalore Depot are striking in protest of the arrest of one of the bus conductors. From today afternoon there is no bus service (TNSTC only) from the Cuddalore city. The only respite for passengers is the private bus operators that too overcrowded.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bus Stand

Its a common sight to see cattle trespassing inside the bus stand.

Two wheelers are not supposed to come inside.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Powerful earthquake in Indonesian, tsunami alert across Indian Ocean

Powerful quake shakes Indonesia - BBC

A powerful earthquake has struck off the western Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggering tsunami alerts across the Indian Ocean.

The tremor had a magnitude of 7.9, according to Indonesian monitors full story>>

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Uzhavar Shandy (Farmers' market)

Uzhavar Shandy is meant for the farmers to sell their produce. There was a surprise check at the farmer's shandy (opposite Seemati complex) by the District Collector Rajendra Ratnoo. Two shops not complying to the regulations and doing commercial business were ordered closure by the District Collector on 2/Sep/07.

The same day District Collector had ordered the Cuddalore Municipal Corp. for driving away the petty shop keepers encroaching the entrance of the shandy.
Although a week has passed, the Municipality is yet to take action.
Although its a No Parking Zone (see box), a lot of business activity is happening around the entrance of the shandy thus endangering the life of the road users.

Although the shandy is not meant for the vehicles to come in, its a usual sight to see two wheelers plying into the shandy.

Along with the two wheelers the three wheeler (Auto) makes its presence felt.
Will the District Administration take further steps in making the shandy a comfortable place for the people to purchase the fresh produce of the farmers??

Monday, August 27, 2007

Disaster awaiting to happen

The old municipal buildings around the bus stand in the Lawrence Road.
With the first floor of building in dilapidated condition, disaster is very much imminent. Of course the safety of the pedestrians is at stake.

Related article
Commercial complex in busstand premises in dilapidated state

Thursday, August 23, 2007

SPIC unit in Cuddalore closed

SPIC Pharma-one of the worst polluting unit in Cuddalore SIPCOT is closed as the company failed "to comply with the pollution control norms" fullstory>>

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cuddalore SIPCOT units flouting pollution control norms

“SIPCOT units flouting pollution control norms”-The Hindu

CUDDALORE: Chemical units in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here are flagrantly violating pollution control norms. Effluents are being discharged in a crude manner, posing health hazard and serious ecological problems, according to the State Legislative Assurance Committee.
The stench was so overpowering that a couple of committee members started vomiting. Despite persistent efforts by environmentalists, social activists and the judiciary pollution of all kinds — air, water and soil — laxity in enforcement had emboldened the units to violate the norms, he said full story>>

For more updates on SIPCOT pollution visit:

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Underground drainage work

Underground drainage construction work is in progress in various parts of Cuddalore. It don't appear to be like a work for underground drainage system. As far as I have seen some cement pipes are being laid in small trenches. Progress of the work is very slow.

Related link:
Underground drainage system draws flak-The Hindu

Underground drainage construction work in Seetharam Nagar.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Independence Day Celebrations

The entrance path to the event at the Anna Stadium

The flag post awaiting for the event.

The event is ready with the uniformed men awaiting for the guard of honour. At the right extreme is the white jeep which gives the visual treat only twice a year (Republic Day and I-Day).

Flag hoisting going on.

The colourful gas balloons reaching heights.

Salute to our tri colour.

The District Collector Rajendra Ratnoo giving away benefits to the people.

The people witnessing the event.

One of the cultural show by the Municipal Higher Secondary School students.

The Gandhi and Nehru at the event.

The Public Relations team of the District Administration responsible for the smooth running of the event.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Another leak in CUSECS pipeline reported - SACEM

Cuddalore, 1 August 2007: Another leak in the CUSECS pipeline from pump 2 to 3 was reported at about 2 pm yesterday from SIPCOT Cuddalore. The leak was reported from the pipeline 50 meters from the southern boundary near Ustad Biotech at Periyakaraikadu village. The effluents spread over 10 feet in the surrounding area; though the effluent was colourless it had a strong rotten dead body odour ranked above 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. According to the local sources the odour caused nausea and stomach rumbling.

The CUSECS officials intervened upon the knowledge of the leak at about 5 pm and repaired the pipe. Leak in CUSECS pipeline is a common feature, according to the TNPCB officials directions have been given to CUSECS to repair its entire pipe structure.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Charming water fountain

The charming water fountain creating a wow to the visitors of Silver Beach.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Public money going waste

The fish market which was built years back is seen lying useless.
Fisherfolk are selling the fishes in a thatched shop nearby.
Location : Cuddalore fish market.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Is Silver Beach a Plastic Free Zone ?

The signboard displayed in the Silver Beach claims that its a plastic free zone.

But many of the shops like the one seen above uses non decomposable materials in selling their products. In the above photo the sugar cane juice shop sells
juice in plastic cups.

The "Plastic Free Zone" appears to be a fancy statement only and the prohibition is not enforced in reality.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A long wait

The road connecting Bharathi Road and Sorakalpet remains unlaid for past several months. Initial phase of the work for laying a new road started six months back but remains unattended for since then. Hundered's of school going children use of this road everyday.

New tennis court is ready

Construction of the new tennis court in Anna Stadium is almost complete.

Related article:
New tennis court

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rail overbridge on Lawrence Road

With the upcoming gauge conversion work going on in the railway line, the city will be getting a rail over bridge on the Lawrence road.

The original plan as per the railway and revenue officials is that the bridge will pass straight on the Lawrence road. But there is a stiff opposition from the 'Vanigar Sangam' which comprises of all the top business people having their shopping centres on the Lawrence road.

Now the pity is that the overbridge will not go above the Lawrence road in order that business people are not affected and only the people of Cuddalore who use the road daily will be affected.
The overbridge will come from Chinna vaniar street and not over Lawrence road.

What a pity?

Already due to the congestion in the Lawrence road it is made ONE WAY which necessitates all light vehicles, buses to travel extra kilometres.

There is nobody to take necessary steps for easing the congestion on the Lawrence road and improve the amenities for the common man.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Golden Evening in Silver beach

A photo of our Silver Beach contributed by a patron of Cuddalore by name Kumar taken on his olympus camera. A nice wall paper for your pc.
Thank you Mr.Kumar

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The modus operandi of Sugarcane farmers.

Usually the sugar cane farmers wait a long time for getting cutting orders from their respective sugar factory. The sugar cane inspector allocates a date for the cutting order then the farmer harvests the sugar cane and send it to the sugar cane factory. This is the practice which is a long time consuming affair. Actually the produce has to be harvested after 10 months but the allotment is given usually after 12 or 13 months by the sugar factory.

The trick used by some clever farmers.
They wait neither for the cutting order nor long time delay for getting his payment from the sugar factory. They simply burn their dried sugarcane leaves and the fire spreads to a part of the field
thus a fire accident is created. Then fire service department is called for extinguishing the fire. Then the farmer "pays" the Fire Dept Rs.1000/- and gets necessary reports of "Fire Incident " in the sugar cane field from the Fire Department. Once this certificate is produced in the sugar factory there is no looking back for the farmer. He harvests his sugar cane and sends it to the sugar factory and also there is no need for his truck load to wait in long queues. The truck loads zips fast into the sugar factory and the payment for his produce (minus Rs.30 per tonne about 3% of the rate per tonne) is done immediately since he is an "affected farmer".

Just see the irony here,
Fire Department is meant for life saving services in case of fire accidents and emergencies but some farmers buy this out for One Thousand Rupees to get their immediate money for their harvest. An alternate strategy to make good return of investment for their hard work.

This horrible reality is a usual news for the people living around our city. e.g. - Sethiathope, a town situated on Vadalur - Kumbakonam road.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cuddalore in the news

Tamil Nadu village makes success story of water harvesting - NewKerala

Cuddalore, June 19: A village in Tamil Nadu has made a success story of water harvesting.
The state being rain-deficient, government took initiatives towards water harvesting and maintenance of existing water bodies besides going for new ones. The villagers in this district were trained on the benefits of rain water harvesting and desilting of ponds and wells.

Harvesting of rain water in ponds has come handy to the people and they say water level in the adjacent wells have risen since 2004 when the village embarked on the 'art of preservation.' Government has taken up digging up of six ponds at an estimate of Rs 125,000 at Kolakudi village in Vriddachalam block this year in continuation of works in previous years full story>>

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Parking fee at Silver Beach

There had been no parking fee for the vehicles parked by the visitors of the Silver Beach months ago. But the practice of collecting parking fee has come up recently and is being collected by the Cuddalore Municipality.

The person issuing the parking fee tokens..

The parking fee token for Rs.2. It does not even have a verification seal from the approving government authority as it is supposed to have.

Will the District Administration look into this and withdraw the parking fee system for the the satisfaction of the visitors of the Silver Beach??

Saturday, June 02, 2007

TWELFTH DAY of Padaleeswarar Temple festival

The young talented kids singing at the stage.

The Deities making the veedhi ula on the "Rishaba Vahanam"

Friday, June 01, 2007

ELEVENTH DAY of Padaleeswarar Temple festival

The carnatic music troupe making fine tunes..

The fire works on the sky amused the spiritual visitors to the eleventh day of the festival.

The Diety on Theppal (Float) .

In earlier days (years ago) on the day of the Float festival the water from the temple tank would be flushed out and fresh water filled into the temple tank by the Fire Service Dept.
But this practise is not being followed these days. Today the float festival is conducted on the stagnant water in the temple tank, which is not at all cleaned thoroughly. The rubbish and filth removed from the tank was found dumped on the South East corner of the temple tank. The people who had come for worshipping the Lord had to bear with the bad odour.
A sordid experience that too at a place of worship.