Sunday, December 27, 2009

New taluk in Cuddalore district

New taluk - The Hindu

CUDDALORE: Revenue Minister I. Periasamy on Saturday inaugurated the seventh taluk in Cuddalore district. The new taluk comprises 59 revenue villages. Health Minister M.R.K. Panneerselvam, Member of Parliament K.S. Alagiri, MLAs and officials of the district administration attended the function.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Permanent houses for tsunami hit people in Cuddalore

Over 3,600 permanent houses to be built in coastal areas of Cuddalore - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE: Under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Package a total number of 3,618 permanent houses will be built in the vulnerable coastal areas in Cuddalore district, according to P.Seetharaman, Collector.

A new component is also proposed to be added to the early warning system installed on the shores. At present voice alert system or a facility for sounding a siren was provided in the coastal villages.

It could alert only the people on the shore and therefore to give a caution message to the fishermen in mid-sea it is proposed to send SMS to them. Giving an overview of the reconstruction works under way in the tsunami-affected coastal villages, the Collector told The Hindu that of the proposed 3,618 dwelling units 1,940 would be set up in the rural areas and 1,678 in urban areas. In the rural segment, 1,589 houses were under various stages of construction, while 523 had been handed over to the beneficiaries, plastering work was going on in 600 units and roof was being constructed in 466 others. All these houses would be ready by March 31, 2010, he said.

The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board would take up the construction of the permanent houses in the urban areas.

In the first phase the non-governmental organisations had constructed 2,323 permanent houses. Giving an account of other works the Collector said the Rajasthan government had constructed a building at a cost of Rs 1.40 crore for the Sathya Ammaiyar Memorial Government Orphanage, an old age home at an estimated cost of Rs 60 lakh from the MP Local Area Development Funds and Seva Illam for Rs 1 crore by the Indian Heritage Research Foundation, Rishikesh.
Aid for children

Mr. Seetharaman further said that under the Prime Minister Child Assistance Scheme an amount of Rs 51,000 had been put in fixed deposits in the names children below 18 years who had lost one of their parents in the tsunami disaster. From the interest accruals the banks would pay Rs 300 a month to the surviving parent.

Tsunami still vivid in their memory

Tsunami still vivid in their memory - The Hindu

A.V. Ragunathan

CUDDALORE: The devastation left behind by the December 26, 2004, tsunami is still vivid in the memory of the coastal community in Cuddalore district.

The colossal damage inflicted by the tidal waves on the life – 610 died and 38 went missing – and property has scarred their psyche. A non-descript plaque on the Silver Beach here stands testimony to the catastrophe that had befallen humanity. The anniversary is a poignant reminder of the cataclysmic event which is generally marked by paying floral tributes and taking out candle-light processions to the seafront to pay homage to the departed souls.

P. Ekambaram, State general secretary of the Meenavar Viduthalai Vengaigal, told The Hindu that the tsunami had changed the outlook of the fishermen. Though fishing had been their traditional occupation, the changing profile of the sea, diminishing fish resources and the apathy of officialdom had pushed at least a section of them to switch to other pursuits.

The wards of fishermen, most of whom were either illiterates or school dropouts, had taken to higher education and at least 50 students from Thevanampattinam coastal village had joined engineering courses in the past five years.

Mr. Ekambaram deplored that the flush of funds received from within the country as well as from abroad for rehabilitation measures were not properly utilised but were diverted to other schemes.

According to G.C. Chandran, president of the Singaravelar Meenavar Munnetra Kazhagam, a conservative estimate revealed that at least Rs. 1,000 crore should have come in as contributions, whereas hardly Rs. 20 crore had been spent on reconstruction.

The so-called permanent houses, community halls and old-age homes built by non-governmental organisations, with certain exceptions, were nothing but pigeon holes built of substandard materials and insufficient space.The new housing colonies lacked infrastructure such as roads, streetlights, drainage and water supply, Mr. Chandran said. Mr. Ekambaram said that if the lots of fishermen were to be improved the bank loans given to them for the purchase of boats should be written off and they should either be included in the SC/ST list or given a separate reservation.

Mr. Ekambaram said that the compensation of Rs 500 for the annual fishing holiday of 45 days, during April–May, was quite meagre and it should be raised to Rs 5,000 a family. Selva Ezhumalai, general secretary of the Meenavar Padhukappu Iyakkam, said that in the post-tsunami the premium fish varieties such as vanjaram, sudhumbu, soopla, kuthuva and kalavai had become a rarity and this in turn had drastically eroded the income of fishermen.

Mr. Ekambaram alleged that untreated effluents discharged into the sea from the SIPCOT Industrial Estate too had gravely affected the marine life.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A few inspiring moments with Collector Ratnoo

Nina and Jean-Claude of Cuddalore Online blog had a few moments with the outgoing Collector Mr. Rajendra Ratnoo for a short interview at the juncture of himself getting relieved from Cuddalore..

We had met him at his camp office for this interview on Sunday 31-May-2009. He spared us nearly an hour to give us rich inputs on his personal side as well as his professional experience. Here is the interview for the readers...

Your moments with Cuddalore...

Cuddalore has been an excellent place where I started my career. In 2003, I joined as Sub Collector at Chidambaram and again came here to have my District Collectorship training in Cuddalore for two and half years. I have spent four and half years of my most valuable time of my career as a District Collector of Cuddalore. Both professionally and personally I have lot of memories attached to this place. I have worked a lot and learned a lot from the people here. On personal front, my children are growing in Cuddalore. So that way too, I have lot of attachment with this place.

Your childhood days…

I was born and brought up in a small village situated at Jodpur district in the state of Rajasthan.

My father was working in the Revenue Department. The village did not have a school, so I had to stay away from my parents for my studies. My sisters looked after me. Till Fourth standard, I studied in a school which had only one room and only one teacher. My father was an extraordinary student himself and lots of credit goes to him in shaping me up. He missed the opportunities to have higher studies. So he emphasized a lot on his children's education. We are a big family and I am the eighth child in the family. My father ensured that everyone in the family till the last child get the best quality of education. He was the person who truly believed in human resource development. He felt that rather investing in other assets, it is better to invest in children's education. He himself worked in a Collector’s office and so he desired that at least one of his children should become an IAS. I am very happy that I could fulfill his wish in his lifetime.

Your aspirations to become a collector.

Its an interesting incident. When I was in fifth standard, my father worked at the Collector’s office in Tonk district of Rajasthan. He used to take me to Collector’s office on weekends. That was the starting point when I was exposed to such an institution and service. Later on I discovered that my brothers were aspiring for the same job. I came to understand that with this capacity as collector we can do a lot of good for the poor.
Later on, after completing my MA, I felt that I should dedicate my life for uplifting the poor. Initially, I had a dilemma on whether to join a NGO or to join public sector. Since I had aspired to become a Collector, I felt becoming an IAS is the best opportunity to serve the people.

The inspiration to become a Collector.

My father was helping me to take right kind of decisions. After I completed my MA, to achieve my goal, I decided to go to Delhi. I was able to get an enriching environment in New Delhi. Especially my commitment to serve the people got a lot of inspiration from my socializing and from teachers in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. Students at JNU were having great commitment for doing good things for the society. We use to have a lot of debates like; What should be the responsibility of education? How we can make interventions to the society for betterment? That strengthened my conviction. If there is a single personality who inspired me to become a Collector, it’s my father. He is no more, but I like to dedicate my service to him.

You were serving in Cuddalore during the 2004 tsunami. Your experience during the disaster?

I am lucky to be associated with the pre disaster preparedness projects in Cuddalore. I first responded to disasters like tsunami and floods with relief activities like rehabilitation projects and long run livelihood projects. I was part of the team which started it. As today when I am leaving, the projects are almost in a concluding stage. That way, I have a lot of satisfaction. A recycled paper making unit was started in Killai today. These are the culmination of whatever efforts we have taken in past 4-5 years.

In IAS academy itself, I had lots of interest in disaster preparedness. Once I joined as Sub Collector, we started conducting mock drills in Chidambaram division. During October 2004, we did training on disaster preparedness at Saamiyaarpettai village. The entire village participated in the drill for 10 to 15 days and this really helped during the disaster. When the tsunami struck, lots of lives were saved in this village and that become an international success story added with lot of references about Saamiyaarpettai village in websites.
During the tsunami, I had the chance to be the first responder of the situation on the ground with rushing the people for providing the first aid, recovering the dead bodies, normalizing the water supply and sanitation, building up temporary shelters, identifying the land for the permanent shelter.
I was then, transferred as Project Manager of World Bank and ADB projects for tsunami rehabilitation for entire Tamil Nadu state in Department of Rural Development. At that capacity I was associated with livelihood projects and infrastructure development projects. Then for a short time I was again Sub-Collector and then came back as Collector.

I have been associated with the Vulnerability Reduction program which was designed to make the coast free of disasters. I have a great satisfaction that I have been associated with various stages of tsunami rehabilitation work.
I also had the chance to manage the flood situation ever since I was Sub-Collector here. During October 2004, two months before tsunami, there was a heavy flood in Chidambaram area. We had come up with the concept of community kitchen; today the entire state is following this. Subsequently there was heavy flooding in March 2007 and again in November 2008. Cuddalore has made me a disaster management expert in such a short service period, I have learnt a lot of things from Cuddalore. Disaster Management and Disaster Mitigation is one area in which I contribute at much larger level because of my experiences in Cuddalore.

You got to be there at a town in Rajasthan, then at New Delhi the nation's capital and now in Cuddalore. People in these places could be different. Any uniqueness you come across the people of Cuddalore.

I don’t grade cultures. But I could say in certain ways Cuddalore is different. Demographic profile and occupational pattern makes it a very different kind of district. It has primitive tribes; it has agriculturists; it has wetlands; it has dry lands; it has seashore areas; it has fishing communities; it has the industrial base also. That way it is a very divergent district. Generalizing and homogenizing the people of Cuddalore will be ignoring their multi faceted character and their plurality.

I am extremely happy to be allocated Tamil Nadu cadre. Me, my wife and children are very happy to be in Tamil Nadu. I got lot of love and affection from the people here. Cuddalore is one of the oldest places where British Raj started. The foundation of the bureaucracy has a lot of association with Cuddalore. That is one of the reasons, how people here know the strength of the administration. People here have a tremendous faith on the district administration. I guess it must be true of entire Tamil Nadu. The institution of Collector enjoys a lot of legitimacy here. People have so much of faith in you, you have to perform and you have a lot pressure on you to perform. I did my best to live to their expectation.

Whenever the people of Cuddalore have a problem, they do not go to the elected members, instead, they approach the District Collector. This is natural tendency of the people here.

Well, in today's democratic setup, politicians are very much accessible. It is the policy makers who are doing a lot of contribution. People must make a distinction between executive and legislature. Legislator's job is not to execute things. Their work may be less visible, but is a very important. They are the people who represent the aspiration of the people in the assembly. Only based on that, schemes and important programs are drafted. But the visible face in that of a District Collector. So, both are equally important in their own aspect.

About the Cuddalore Online blog…

This portal can go beyond from just being an informational platform; it can be made functional for the youth. There are lots of organizations which are in want of skilled man power. On the other hand there are educated unemployed youth. This blog can provide a platform to link both of them. This is a possibility to explore if it falls under the objectives of your blog.

This blog was started with an intention of creating a platform for everyone to contribute. We are planning for a fully functional website. Once, we are ready with it, we will be able to accomplish this.
You can have citizen journalists like we have in other electronic media or you can have membership drive where educated people, faculties of social sciences and humanities from Annamalai University, members from NGOs can join and contribute to the blog. As people from different section of the society joins, the perspective will be widened and more issues can be covered.

We have opened around 250 community service centers. You can make partnership with these people. If guided properly, it can lead to rural IT revolution. The benefit of your blog can reach the people in rural area.
You can also have a membership campaign drive in colleges and universities in Cuddalore. In each of these institutions you can have one coordinator who in turn will bring mores members to contribute. Farmers are also IT savvy. They have a lot of interest in doing these things. This way the blog would reflect the interest of diverse sections of the society.


We would like to thank collector Mr. Rajendra Ratnoo on behalf of all readers and people of Cuddalore for sparing time with us despite his busy schedule.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Enough in reservoirs to last till next monsoon

Enough in reservoirs to last till next monsoon: Metrowater officials - The Times of India

CHENNAI: The level in the Veeranam lake in Cuddalore is up to the brim following the heavy inflow but Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) officials say it does not mean any increase in the supply to the city. They, however, say the four reservoirs have enough to last till the next

On Tuesday, the level in the Veeranam lake was at 43.7 feet against its capacity of 47.5 feet. The inflow was 1,000 cusecs while the outflow maintained at 1,474 cusecs. On Wednesday, the inflow was 500 cusecs and the outflow 493 cusecs.

CMWSSB officials say only 180 Million litres per Day (MLD) is drawn from the lake for the city's needs. "Veeranam is primarily a irrigation lake from which we are drawing water for the city under a scheme. Of the out flow of 493 cusecs from Veeranam on Wednesday, 427 cusecs will go for agricultural use and 66 cusecs for Chennai," said an official.

Water from Veeranam reaches a pumping house in Settiya Thoppu near Cuddalore and goes to a treatment plant in Vadakuthu near Neyvelli. From there it reaches an overhead tank in Kadambuliyur and then, using gravity, 180 MLD is sent to the Porur headworks. "This then provides water to entire South Chennai," said the official.

Officials say the level in the four reservoirs supplying water to the city increased by 45% on Wednesday compared to Tuesday. On Tuesday, the combined storage was 4880 mcft against the capacity of 11,057 mcft. On Wednesday, it was 5039 mcft an increase of 159 mcft.

"The increase is mainly due to the rains. The average rainfall in Red Hills, Cholavaram, and Poondi is 325 mm for November. We have been receiving 2.3 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of Krishna water. This is expected to continue untill our reservoirs become full and we ask them to stop. This will ensure enough supply till the next monsoon," said the official.

Veeranam lake brimming at 43.5 ft

Veeranam lake brimming at 43.5 ft - The Times of India
TNN 11 November 2009, 06:21am IST

With heavy rains lashing the northern districts, the water level in the Veeranam lake in Cuddalore district, a prime water source for Chennai, is brimming over. Anxious to protect the embankment and prevent vast acres of crops in the tail-end of the delta region going under sheets of water, officials have decided to maintain the water level in the lake at 43.5 feet as against its full capacity of 47.5 feet.

The water level in the lake as on Tuesday stood at 43.7 feet. The inflow was 1,000 cusecs while the outflow was maintained at 1,474 cusecs. Water supply to Chennai from the lake for drinking water needs resumed a month ago and on Tuesday 73 cusecs of water was released to Chennai.

With the discharge of water from the lake, the crops on about 10,000 acres in Kattumannarkoil and Chidambaram have been submerged. The officials were of the view that the heavy rains had not damaged the crops yet but admitted that if the spell continued for another two days, the situation could turn bad.

Paddy was raised in 90% of the tail-end delta regions. "The next 48 hours is very crucial for the farmers in these regions. If rain continues, the loss of crops will be enormous and if not, there are possibilities of stagnant water draining out quickly. Majority of the crops submerged were raised a month ago and damage would be less in these areas," said Veeranam Pasana Vivasayeegal Sangam president KV Elankeeran.

But rains wrecked havoc to the betel leaves cultivated in about 3,000 to 5,000 acres of plantations near the lake including in places like Thiruchinnapuram, Nanthimangalam, Lalpettai and Elleri. "Betel leaves are water-intensive crops and are generally raised in regions near the lake. The crops raised in about 3,000 to 5,000 acres of land have submerged under water for the past one week and are completely damaged," Elankeeran said.

Cuddalore collector P Seetharaman while briefing reporters said the district administration submitted a proposal for Rs 23 crore to the state government for strengthening the banks of Veeranam Lake.

Detailing the preparedness of the district administration in tackling the north-east monsoon, the collector said the project will be taken up shortly. The project includes de-silting 28 supply channels of the lake at a cost of Rs 12.56 crore renovating the existing shutters at a cost of Rs 1.26 crore and erecting new shutters at Rs 46 lakh.

He revealed that a new bridge at a cost of Rs four crore connecting Nanthimangalam and Poolanmedu in Kattumannarkoil taluk will be constructed, another new bridge at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore connecting Nanamedu and Uppalavadu and a new regulator at a cost of Rs six crore will be erected at VNS anicut.

"Crops cultivated in about 20,500 acres of land have been submerged under water, but the incessant rain has not damaged the crops," he claimed.

Four persons and four cattle have been killed in rain-related accidents. Thirty-two houses were completely damaged and 135 houses partially damaged.

Veeranam project will avert flooding

New project will avert flooding - The Hindu

CUDDALORE: The New Veeranam Project, estimated to cost Rs.23 crore, has been drafted to ensure the stability of the Veeranam tank and also to avert flooding in the ayacut areas, according to P.Seetharaman, District Collector.

Addressing a press conference here today on the preparedness of the administration to tackle the cyclone and flood situation in district the Collector said that the new project envisaged repairing and replacing of the damaged sluices, reinforcing the bunds, and, clearing the inlet and outlet channels of the outgrowths and other encroachments.

Based on deliberations with the stakeholders on the safety of the tank it had been decided to maintain the water level at 43.9 ft (maximum 47.5 ft). Therefore, the entire inflow of 3000 cusecs of water, realized through the Sengal Odai and the Karuvatti Odai, was being discharged.

However, to prevent flooding in the downstream the outflow through the Velliyangal Odai had been reduced from 500 cusecs to 250 cusecs to allay the fears of the ayacutdars about the possible inundation of the crops. Moreover, a portion of the excesses too was being drained in the Vellar.

A canal for a length of 5.5 km had been dug up to safely carry the water pumped out from the Neyveli Lignite Corporation mines. Earlier, the Paravanar fed by the water from the mines used to breach its course and inflict heavy damage to the standing crops.

The Collector also stated that of the 296 water sources in the district 198 were filled to the brim. In 50,000 hectares under samba crops the transplantation process was completed in 45,000 ha but if the rain continued the seedlings would perish. Water hyacinth choking the waterways in Chidambaram block were being removed.

According to a preliminary estimate about 57 villages in the district—21 in Cuddalore, 13 in Kattumannarkoil, 12 in Chidambaram, five in Vriddhachalam and three in Panruti– were facing the threat of inundation.

Cyclone shelters

Mr.Seetharaman observed that all the 21 cyclone shelters—13 in Chidambaram block and eight in Cuddalore block—had been kept in readiness to accommodate those who might get displaced by natural disasters.

A buffer stock of 818 tonnes of rice was kept ready (stored in at least 237 fair price shops in the vulnerable areas) to feed the people during exigency.

Rescue boats and fire service personnel had been on the alert to evict the people from the areas likely to be affected by flood.

An infantry battalion had been kept ready in the Secundarabad barracks and whenever warranted they would move in, the Collector added.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Outdated information on Cuddalore website

Outdated information on Cuddalore website - Deccan Chronicle

September 15th, 2009
By Our Correspondent

Cuddalore, Sept.14: At a time when the Tamil Nadu government is striving to take the benefits of IT to the rural masses to ensure hassle-free and transparent services, the official website of the Cuddalore district administration is lagging behind. Just log on to and you find that important information pertaining to politics and bureaucracy has not been updated in the past few months.

Who represents the Cuddalore Lok Sabha constituency? According to the website, it is Mr K. Venkatapathy and not Congress MP K.S. Azhagiri. Similarly, the Chidambaram MP is Mr E. Ponnuswamy and not Mr Thol. Thirumavalavan. Not only politics but also bureaucracy is hit by thistime freeze. Though the former superintendent of police Pradeep Kumar has been transferred as SP to Ramanathapuram district, he still retains his post in the telephone directory. This is not all. A few district-level officials who have retired from service till retain their posts on the website. Though Cuddalore is one among the 16 districts in the state which have implemented the online system of filing petitions for redressal of public grievances, important statistical information on various departments on the website have not been updated much to the dismay of the public. Interestingly, more information is available on the Internet on Cuddalore than the official website.

Sources NIC, on condition of anonymity, told Deccan Chronicle that the site was not updated, as officials are not willing to provide information on the changes in the departments. "Though we remind them to provide information at least once a month, they do not bother to update us," they said.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Large portion of Cuddalore will be under water in 50-100 years

India launching major project to study climate change (Lead) - ThaiIndian

By Soudhriti Bhabani
Kolkata, Sep 6 (IANS) At least 220 Indian scientists and 127 research organisations are joining hands for a massive study to monitor climate change in different parts of the country. Climate change in India has led to a rise in sea levels while storm surges in coastal areas have also become a major concern for environmental authorities.

According to Ministry of Environment and Forests officials, the report of their study will be released in November next year.

“We’ve seen that the shoreline across the country is getting affected due to the sea-level rise. Erosion is going to take place and it will cause a major damage and human displacement in the coastal parts of the Bay of Bengal,” said Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services director S.S.C. Shenoi.

“In Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu) also a large portion of land is likely to go under water in next 50-100 years,” he said.

Despite only about six percent of the global tropical cyclones affecting the coastal areas along the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, intensity of cyclonic storms has gone up, said S.K. Dube, professor at the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences of the Indian Institute of Technology - Delhi (IIT-Delhi).

“Storm surge has also become a major cause for concern in several coastal areas along the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. We have noticed that the intensity of cyclonic storms has increased though only 5-6 percent of global tropical cyclones affect these two areas. It’s also because of climate change,” Dube said.

The climate study will enable the scientists to gauge the changing aspects of the environment properly.

“This will be the first comprehensive scientific climate assessment study carried out in different regions of the country. India has to build its own capacity to study what is happening to our ecology,” Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh told a recent South Asian seminar on climate change organised by the Delhi-based green body Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in the capital.

The minister said: “So far, our knowledge of climate change in the country is mostly impressionistic and not robust. With the climate study being carried out in various places — including glacial retreat in the Himalayan region and the sea-level rise in coastal states of India — we’ll be able to gauge the changing aspects of our environment properly.”

Some state governments have also been asked to prepare their own climate action plans focussing on environmental changes.

Talking about research collaboration, Ramesh said India could always enter into technology development and transfer activities with foreign nations especially on the subject of the climate change survey.

Ramesh said India was also on its way to launching its own satellite to monitor atmospheric greenhouse gases.

(Soudhriti Bhabani can be contacted at

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Closure order issued to units evokes a mixed response

Closure order issued to units evokes a mixed response - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

Two units in SIPCOT estate ordered closed for air pollution

CUDDALORE: The closure orders issued by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to two units in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here have evoked a mixed response.

According to a statement from D. Sekar, District Environmental Engineer, TNPCB, Cuddalore, the air survey was conducted in the vicinity of the units -- Shasun Chemicals and Drugs Ltd and Tagros Chemicals India Ltd -- had revealed presence of carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the ambient air.

As the units had failed to implement adequate pollution control measures and safeguard public health and environment, direction for their closure and stoppage of power supply were issued under Section 31-A of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981. The power supply was disconnected the same evening.

A group of residents from Kudikadu staged a demonstration in front of the Collectorate here on Monday endorsing the action of the TNPCB and calling for the permanent closure of the units.

They claimed that the untreated effluents from these units were causing severe air pollution and also affecting the quality of groundwater, thereby posing health hazards. They urged the authorities to safeguard the welfare of people living in the surrounding areas.

Even while they were raising slogans against the units, another group of people led by R. Sridhar of the SIPCOT CITU staged a counter agitation.

Mr Sridhar said the closure of the units would affect the livelihood of many persons. He pointed out that of 30 units initially established in the industrial estate, 20 had closed down for various reasons. The authorities must strictly enforce pollution control norms and allow the units to function within the parameters.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

TNPCB serves closure notice to Cuddalore plant of Shasun Chemicals

TNPCB serves closure notice to Cuddalore plant of Shasun Chemicals

Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai

The pharma major, Shasun Chemicals and Drugs Ltd, has been served a notice by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) asking it to shut down the company's plant located in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate in Cuddalore for not taking any measures to contain pollution, according to D Shekhar, district environment officer, Cuddalore.

The electricity connection to the unit was disconnected on Friday night after a series of failed talks with the district administration on the closure issue.

He said the plant of Shasun at the SIPCOT is more than 20 years old. It has been emitting Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and foul odour into air, which have created health problems in the area. He said the department got complaints from the public and some social organizations regarding this. Raising the same issue, the TNPCB has also given another closure notice to a pesticide manufacturing company operating in the same locality.

According to sources in the TNPCB, the Shasun was given a show cause notice two months ago, but the reply the company provided was not satisfactory. "Following which we had to take action to check the emissions," the sources said.

When sources at the Chennai office of the Shasun Chemicals refused to respond to queries from Pharmabiz, people in their Mumbai office said they are sorting out the issues to find an immediate solution. "Our Cuddalore Unit has received a closure notice from the TNPCB. We are in talks with the concerned authorities for speedy solution," they told this correspondent.

Emission level of VOC and foul odor from both the units (Shasun and Tagore Chemicals) in the area were found to be far in excess of the approved limit. According to sources, it caused unbearable stench in the area, giving rise to strong objection from the residents and other NGOs. The officer said the study conducted by the Pollution Control Board has proved that the Units failed to keep the odor level with in their limit. The district officer asserted that only after the companies come out with crystal clear evidence to contain the emission, they would be further allowed to operate.

A study of air pollution conducted by the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, in and around SIPCOT Chemical Industrial Estate, revealed that there were 94 chemicals in the ambient air, including 15 that were known hazardo
us 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.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.

Closure notice served on two SIPCOT units

Closure notice served on two SIPCOT units - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE: The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has served “closure notice” on a pharmaceutical unit and a pesticide unit located in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here for causing atmospheric pollution.

TNPCB sources told The Hindu that as a preliminary step, power supply to Shasun Chemicals and Drugs Ltd. (a pharmaceutical company), and, Tagros Chemicals Ltd. (a generic pesticide manufacturer) was cut on Friday.

Emission level of volatile organic compound (VOC) from both the units was found to be far in excess of the approved limit. It caused unbearable stench in the area, giving rise to strong objection from the residents and a spate of complaints from passers by.

A study conducted by the TNPCB also proved that the two units failed to keep odour level within the limit and did not contain pollution. Therefore, show cause notices were served on the units as to why action should not be taken against them.

As the companies had not come out with verifiable action in this direction, closure notices were issued.

The sources said that only after the companies proved beyond doubt that they had contained the emission, they would be allowed to operate.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Work for Integrated Textile Processing Park put on hold?

Cotton Corporation sales depots in Coimbatore, Madurai - The Hindu

The Cotton Corporation of India will open sales depots in Coimbatore and Madurai in the coming cotton season (October 2009-September 2010), according to Union Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran.

Speaking at the platinum jubilee of the Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA) here on Saturday, he said this would reduce the cotton price by approximately Rs.2 a kg for the textile mills in Tamil Nadu. The corporation would store the cotton produced in Gujarat and Maharashtra in the godowns here and sell it to local mills. The mills should pass down this benefit, he said.

The SIMA planned to establish a processing park at Cuddalore five years ago. He urged the association to proceed with the project and invest at Cuddalore. He also called upon the association to set up a power plant to overcome the power crisis. The Ministry had launched a portal for the sales of handicrafts and handlooms. .

Union Minister of State for Textiles Panabaaka Lakshmi urged the industry to target untapped markets. It was essential to change the product profile and go in for value addition. The Ministry had formed a 47-member working group to draft the National Fibre Policy.

Minister for Handlooms and Textiles K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran said textiles was an agro-related sector and should be protected. Currently, it faced challenges on several fronts. Minister for Rural Industries Pongalur N. Palanisamy said the industry should go in for finished goods and value-addition.

Chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry Venu Srinivasan said that in the State, Coimbatore had been the cradle of entrepreneurship. The textile industry was one of the most important steps that India took in industrialisation.

T.Kannan, chairman of the organising committee of the platinum jubilee, said the association was establishing a textile training institute here jointly with the PSG Institutions. The institute would provide the industry with quality technicians. Lakshmi Machine Works had given the entire range of spinning machinery for the institute.

In response to the Minister’s suggestion on the power project, SIMA chairman K.V.Srinivasan said the association would work on it.

The SIMA had not shelved the Cuddalore processing park project and it would come up.

Vijay Venkataswamy, a former chairman of the association, spoke about the textile industry and the efforts of the association during the last 75 years.

Deputy chairman of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry Shishir Jaipuria and chairman of the Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council V.S. Velayutham offered their felicitations.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tsunami warning for India

Tsunami warning for India, following a 7.6 magnitude quake [Aug 10, 2009. 19:56 GMT] in Indian Ocean. Inform people near coastal areas, as soon as possible.


[update] As per reuters, this warning is now called off.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Deadline to remove encroachments

Deadline to remove encroachments - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE: Collector P. Seetharaman has fixed August 15 as the deadline for removal of all sorts of encroachments on waterways and water sources.

Following a video-conference session with K. Sathyagopal, Commissioner, Land Management, Chennai, on Friday, the Collector instructed the police and officials to comply with the deadline.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Silver Beach boat house to be renovated

Boat house to be renovated - The Hindu

Staff Reporter

CUDDALORE: The district administration has decided to renovate the boat house on the Silver Beach.

Shortly after inspecting the beach, Cuddalore Collector P. Seetharaman told The Hindu that the administration planned to re-start jolly ride from the beach after renovating the boat house. The ride was stopped after sand accumulated on the boat house, he said.

Sheds at the boat house would be provided sheets that could withstand corrosion, he added.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Cuddalore - Sirkazhi trial run

Gauge conversion between Cuddalore [kadaloor] and Sirkazhi [seerkaazhi] was taken as a part of broad gauge conversion between Villupuram [vizhuppuram] and Mayiladuturai [mayilaaduthu'rai]. Work on this 52KM stretch is complete and the trial run is scheduled for today (31-Jul-2009).

Details of the project as I know from various dailies:

Project cost: Rs. 400 crores
Total Length: 122 KM - between Villupuram and Mayiladuturai
Project start date: January-2007
Phase I: Sirkazhi - Mayiladuturai (22KM)
Phase I completion date: Jan 28, 2009
Phase II: Cuddalore Old Town - Villupuram (48KM)
Phase II completion date: Mar 28, 2009
Phase III: Cuddalore Old Town - Sirkazhi (52KM)
Phase III completion date: Jul 31, 2009
No. of bridges: 32
No. of culverts: 380
No. of gates: 100 (52 - manned, 48 – unmanned)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cuddalore – By the coast

Cuddalore – By the coast by - PondicherryTrip

20kms from Pondicherry, Cuddalore is a short drive away and promises a very different experience for the tourist.

Cuddalore as the name suggests, is a place by the sea. Its association with water goes a step further. The town is also situated at the point where the Rivers Ponnaiyar and the Gadilam often ravage it with flash floods. A sea-port of yore and an important temple town, Cuddalore is also famous for its beaches and its star attraction, the Pichavaram mangrove forest. The British also left their own imprint on the town with various monuments that are now part of the town’s heritage. Industry also plays an important role here with manufacturing units like SIPCOT and the Neyveli Lignite factory near by.

Pondicherry and Chidambaram also promise tourist attractions and have good access from here. Cuddalore is an interesting stop in the Tamil Nadu tourism circuit.

Cuddalore brought under Villupuram town planning office

New local planning authority planned for Tiruvallur region - The Times of India

CHENNAI: The state government has announced the formation of a new local planning authority for Tiruvallur region to give an impetus to the growth of the district headquarters and surrounding areas.

While announcing this in the Assembly on Tuesday, housing minister I Periasami said development had reached many parts of Tiruvallur district because a substantial portion of Chennai Metropolitan Area fell under the adjacent district. It is high time its growth was regulated and hence a local planning authority was essential, he said.

The government has decided to prepare detailed master plans for Mamallapuram, Ariyalur and Sriperumbudur areas with the assistance of geo-informatics system, said Periasami.

He also said the Directorate of Town and Country Planning regional office in Chengalpet would be bifurcated with two headquarters Chengalpet and Villupuram. While Kancheepuram and Sriperumbudur will remain attached to Chengalpet regional office, Cuddalore is being brought under Villupuram regional office.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

CUSECS Pipe Breaks; Village Canal and River Uppanar Contaminated

CUSECS Pipe Breaks; Village Canal and River Uppanar Contaminated -

Cuddalore 9 July 2009: Residents of Eachangadu village reported a breakage and leak in CUSECS pipeline at about 2.30 am today. This pipeline collects water from Pioneer Jellice, Arkema Peroxides, Bayer and Pandian Chemicals. This leak was detected by Shivaraman of Eachangadu village after he noticed a strong rotten dead body like chemical odour at the village entrance. Upon further investigation into the source of the smell, Shivaraman discovered the breakage in the pipeline and the effluent overflow into the Eachangadu canal. The point of overflow was on the western side of the SPIC boundary wall between SPIC and the East Coast Road. SACEM monitors alerted the CUSECS operators at the gates of Pioneer Jellice about the leak at around 2.45 am and subsequently it took the operators almost 3 hours to shut the pump. According to the reports the effluent had a white layer on top and had a very strong rotten dead body odour to it.

A complaint has been sent to the TNPCB and District Administration demanding action on the errant officials and scientific clean up of the contaminated sites.

Pollution update

Below are SIPCOT pollution related news published over past two months in

Provide water to affected SIPCOT villages: Collector says -

CUDDALORE, 20 June, 2009 - SIPCOT villages suffering from shortage of drinking water due to overdrawal of water by SIPCOT and groundwater pollution should be given clean water from the Tamilnadu Water Supply and Drainage Board's joint water project. Any expense for the same should be recovered from SIPCOT industries, said the Cuddalore district collector during a quarterly meeting on health, environment and safety issues of the SIPCOT industrial area held on 18 June, 2009. Attended by elected village representatives, SACEM members, SIPCOT and Factories Inspectorate officials and industry representatives, the meeting covered a range of topics from state of pollution in SIPCOT to progress made on issues discussed at the previous meeting in February 2009 full story>>

Pioneer discharges effluent illegally into River Uppanar -

Cuddalore 9 July 2009: SACEM monitors reported illegal discharge of effluents from Pioneer Jellice Ltd into the Kuttaikaran Koil Viakal (canal) leading to river Uppanar at about 6 am today. This discharge took place just half an hour after the CUSECS pipeline shut its operation due to a breakage near Eachangadu village earlier in the morning. Monitors noticed effluent with white layer and strong rotten dead body odour flowing from the northern side of the unit into the canal.

A complaint has been sent to the TNPCB and District Administration demanding action on the industry for repeatedly resorting to illegal means to discharge their effluent and thereby violating the law.

Buckingham canal revival in limbo

Buckingham canal revival in limbo - The Times of India

CHENNAI: The much-awaited revival of the Buckingham canal as part of the Centre's Inland Waterway Project is in limbo even nine months after the passage of the Inland Waterways Bill in Parliament.

Though the state public works department (PWD) has submitted a proposal at an estimated cost of Rs 25 crore to the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) for the dredging and cleaning of the 50-km stretch from Muttukadu [muttu-k-kaadu] creek to Edaiyur creek near Kalpakkam [kal-paakkam] in the first phase of the project, no headway has been made so far.

"The works have gained momentum in neighbouring Kerala, but the project has been limping along in our state. The first phase of the work was originally scheduled to commence in February this year," official sources said.

The chairman of IWAI visited the proposed sites in November 2008 and asked the PWD to submit a proposal for the dredging and cleaning of the stretch as per guidelines issued by the IWAI. It was also proposed to launch ferry service in the creek on an experimental basis to exploit the tourism potential. But, no progress has been made even after the submission of the proposal.

The revival of Buckingham project has reportedly lost momentum after a change of guard in the Union shipping ministry following elections.

The IWAI has, however, sanctioned Rs 16.63 crore to establish inland waterway terminals at Bolgatty Island and Willingdon Island in areas coming under the Cochin Port Trust in Kerala.

The Buckingham canal, which is to be revived at an estimated cost of Rs 450-500 crore, is falling under the National Waterway - IV connecting Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

Under the project envisaged to promote inland water transport, the north Buckingham Canal will be revived and made naviagable from Arangam village on the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border to Ennore creek for a distance of 58 km and also the south Buckingham canal from Sholinganallur [choazhingga-:nalloor] to Marakkanam [marak-kaa'nam], a distance of 105 km. However, the central portion of the canal, running to a length of 7.1 km, could not be made navigable due to construction of Mass Rapid Transport System and encroachments.

It has also been planned to construct terminals at Pulicat lake, Basin Bridge, Palavakkam [paala-vaakkam], Alamparai [aalamparai], Kazhanchi and Cuddalore [kadaloor] for loading and unloading of goods. While the PWD will take up the dredging and cleaning work, the IWAI will create required infrastructure such as terminals (fixed or floating) and modification of existing bridges and culverts.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Proposal to convert ECR into four lane

Rs.63 lakhs had been allocated for the feasibility report and environmental assessment work for coverting ECR stretch between Chennai and Puducherry [puthuchcheari] into four lanes. This was allocated late last year. If any of you know about the progress of the work, please share us.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fund for port development in Cuddalore district

Rs. 1000 crore is allocated for the development of port in Cuddalore. But it is not clear whether this fund will be spent on Cuddalore Port at Old Town area or on Thiruchopuram [thiruchchoapuram] port (to the south of Cuddalore Port) being developed by Nagarjuna Oil Corporation Limited (NOCL).

Here is a related article:

In principle approval from Centre to construct 4 harbours - Chennai Online

Jul 11, 2009

Chennai, July 10: The Tamil Nadu Government has got in principle approval from the Centre to construct four harbours at a cost of Rs 3,600 crore, minister for highways and minor ports, Vellakovil M P Swaminathan said today.

Replying to demands for the Highways and Minor Ports Department in the assembly, he said the Centre has approved construction of a Rs 1500 crore harbour near Paramankeni village in Kancheepuram district to handle coal needs for the proposed 4,000 MW ultra mega power project in the district.

Swaminathan said another harbour would be built at Udankudi in Tuticorin district at an estimated cost of Rs 350 crore to handle coal requirements of the proposed 1600 MW power station of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.

The Minister said following a request by Marg Swarna Bhoomi Board private Limited, a private harbour would also be constructed near Kanchipuram district at a cost of Rs 750 crore. This harbour would be used to repair ships, he added.

Swaminathan said IL&FS proposed to set up a 4,000 MW power plant in Cuddalore district. "In order to facilitate coal requirement for the plant,the government proposes to construct another harbour at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore in the area", he added. - Agencies

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chennai-Cuddalore east coast railway line updates

The alignment survey results for the proposed Chennai-Cuddalore east coast railway line is out. Perungudi will be the starting point. Guess trains will stop both at Tirupadiripuliyur [thiruppaathirippuliyoor] and Cuddalore [kadaloor] OT junction. A new junction is proposed at Puducherry [puthuchcheari].

Below is the proposed alignment. This can be changed.

01. Perungudi (0 Km)
02. Solinganallur(9.6 Km - Crossing)
03. Kovalam (23.6 Km - Crossing)
04. Tirupporur (30.1 Km - Crossing)
05. Mahabalipuram (43.7 Km - Crossing)
06. Kalpakkam (49.3 Km - Halt)
07. Sadurangappattinam(52.7 Km - Crossing)
08. Kuvattur (64.5 Km - Crossing)
09. Cheyyur (80.2 Km - Crossing)
10. Chunampet (92.8 Km - Halt)
11. Marakkanam (96.6 Km - Crossing)
12. Kunimedu (112 Km - Crossing)
13. Kuilappalayam (125.6 Km - Crossing)
14. Jipmer (131.1 Km - Halt)
15. Pondichery (139.1 Km - Terminal)
16. New Pondichery (147.4 Km - Junction)
17. Bahoor (161.9 Km - Crossing)
18. Varakalpattu (170.2 Km - Existing Station in VM - CUPJ Line - Proposed Junction)
19. Tiruppadirippuliyur (175.3 Km - Existing Crossing Station)
20. Cuddalore Port (179.2 Km - Existing junction)

General expectation of people from Cuddalore and Puducherry will be to start the project from the Cuddalore end, as this will ease the travel between these towns even before the actual project is complete.

As of now it is unclear whether train services between Cuddalore and Puducherry will be introduced. If introduced the travel time could be reduced to 15 minutes.

Source: Indian Railways Southern Zone discussion forum

Related stories:

Indian Railways Southern Zone's discussion forum - Cuddalore Online March 14, 2009

Blueprint for E Coast rail link to Cuddalore ready - The Times of India June 08, 2008

Developements in the proposed Cuddalore - Chennai rail project - Cuddalore Online June 04, 2006

More details on Cuddalore - Chennai rail project - Cuddalore Online October 06, 2005

Cuddalore - Pondicherry connection - Cuddalore Online October 05, 2005

Chennai-Pondicherry rail ? NO it must be Chennai-Cuddalore - Cuddalore Online June 01, 2005

Developments in Cuddalore power project

Sivasankaran looks south for power play - LiveMint

The ace deal maker could take a 26% stake in the 4,000MW project being developed by IL&FS in Tamil Nadu

Baiju Kalesh

Mumbai: Investor C. Sivasankaran, known for buying companies low and selling high, is in talks to buy a 26% stake in a 4,000MW power plant at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, promoted by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd, or IL&FS, three people familiar with the development said.

Sivasankaran, chairman of the Sterling group that operates in businesses as diverse as mobile telephony and coffee bars, will buy the stake through an unlisted group company, Siva Ventures Ltd, they added.

IL&FS, one of India’s leading infrastructure development and finance firms, will build the power project in four phases of 1,000MW each, at an investment of about Rs18,000 crore, a senior IL&FS executive said. Going by the IL&FS estimate, the cost of production of 1MW would be around Rs4.5 crore.

“Sivasankaran is one of the investors and we are taking to eight others,” added the ILF&S executive who asked not to be identified as the deal has not yet been signed with prospective investors.

One of the two other people mentioned in the first instance is involved with the proposed power project and the other is close to Sivasankaran. Both asked not to be identified because the deal is yet to be signed.

IL&FS and Siva Ventures will hold 26% stake each in the proposed power project, the largest private sector power plant in the southern state, and the remaining 48% stake will be sold to several domestic and international investors.

Vaidyanathan Srinivasan, Siva Ventures’s director, said over the phone: “As a private equity fund, we look at various projects. Some discussion must have taken place but nothing has happened as yet.”

At a debt-equity ratio of 70:30, the Rs18,000 crore project will need Rs5,400 crore equity. For their 52% stake, ILF&S and Sivasankaran will bring in Rs1,404 crore each as equity.

The 3,960MW Sasan ultra mega power project in Madhya Pradesh, one of India’s largest coal-based power projects, promoted by the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, has a 75:25 debt-equity ratio. It has recently achieved its financial closure. While banks and financial institutions will lend Rs14,550 crore, the promoters are chipping in Rs4,850 crore in the form of equity.

IL&FS and Sivasankaran have begun discussions with Indonesia’s Bumi Resources Tbk, Asia’s largest coal miner, to source coal for the project and are also scouting for coal mines in Indonesia, Australia and Africa, one of the three people said.

Tata Power Ltd, India’s second largest utility firm by sales, has purchased a 30% stake in Kaltium Prima Coal and Arutumin Coal mines in Indonesia that entitles the company to source 10 million tonnes of coal to fire its 4,000MW ultra mega power project near Mundra port in Gujarat.

The relationship between Sivasankaran and IL&FS dates back to 2000 when the financial institution lent Rs100 crore to Aircel, a cellular firm Sivasankaran sold to Maxis Telecommunications Bhd of Malaysia in 2005.

IL&FS had won a mandate to raise $400 million for the telco from private equity funds and financial investors but Sivasankarn sold his firm before this transaction was completed.

Tamil Nadu has been keen to promote private sector investment in power to bridge its 1,700MW deficit that sometimes causes power cuts as long as eight hours a day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Security tightened around Cuddalore Port

Security tightened around Cuddalore Port - The Hindu


Vital industries under security blanket

Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy
Staying alert: Security personnel inspecting the coast in Cuddalore on Wednesday.

CUDDALORE: Security has been tightened around the Cuddalore Port as part of Operation Barricade. Though the port is defunct, officials are cautious that no strangers gain surreptitious entry into it.

The operation is being kept as a closely guarded secret. But for the top brass, lower-level officials and personnel of various security agencies have no inkling about its true purport.

Unlike other mock drills , Operation Barricade is being carried out in utmost secrecy.
Guarding the sea route

The idea is to take the officials by surprise though an announcement of “infiltration” of anti-social elements who manage to enter the mainland through the sea route. Superintendent of Police Ashwin M. Kotnis told The Hindu that the entire administrative machinery was involved in the operation. Quick reaction teams were deployed at crucial points to guard vital installations.

Personnel of the Coast Guard, Coastal Security Group, local police, Intelligence Bureau and Port officials were involved in the operation, which is being conducted in all coastal villages of the district.
Coastal Vigilance Committees

Mr. Kotnis said that all 43 Coastal Vigilance Committees had been put on alert and their members told to report immediately to the police the citing of any suspicious movement.

Security personnel were doing the rounds at the Cuddalore Port area, Killai, Reddichavadi and so on.

Eleven additional checkpoints had been created to monitor vehicular movement.

Power generating units in the Neyveli Lignite Corporation and the SIPCOT Industrial Estate were now under security blanket. Mr. Kotnis said that at present there was no security threat. But, the operation would keep the personnel on their toes and hone their skills to deal with exigencies.

However, the personnel were not provided weapons to avoid people from panicking, Mr. Kotnis said.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Closure notice issued to Cuddalore pharma unit

Closure notice issued to Cuddalore pharma unit - The Hindu

5 June 2009

Special Correspondent
The Hindu

It produced a chemical without the consent of TNPCB

CUDDALORE: The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has issued closure notice to Aurobindo Pharma Ltd., located in SIPCOT Industrial Estate complex here, for producing a chemical without its consent.

Board sources said that the TNPCB had given permission to the company to produce a chemical product named 6-APA but it started to bring out a new product named 7-AVNA.

Following complaints from the Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation, the Golabal Environment Monitoring and the SIPCOT Area Community Environment Monitoring, the Board inspected the company and detected the violation.

Health hazards

According to M. Nizamudeen, executive secretary of the consumer protection organisation, the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute had already come out with findings that environment in the industrial estate was highly polluted to the extent of causing health hazards to people.

Studies conducted by these three organisations had revealed that certain units in the industrial estate were producing unauthorised products thereby aggravating the problem.

Hence, they took up the issue with the State government and the TNPCB, following which the Cuddalore District Environmental Engineer (DEE) was deputed to inspect the pharma company.

Company records

From records of the company, the DEE found out that the firm had dispatched unauthorised products from its premises on March 26, 31 and April 14 and 19.

The company took the stand that the unit only carried out a trial production of the new product and given an assurance to the TNPCB that it would not go ahead with its production without the latter's consent.

Therefore, the Board sources said that the company had knowingly violated rules.

Hence, invoking Section 33A of the Water (Prevention and control of pollution) Act 1974 and Section 31A of the Air (Prevention and control of pollution) Act 1981, the TNPCB had issued closure notice to the company.

It had also directed the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to stop power supply to the unit forthwith.

Pollution Levels Continue to be High in SIPCOT Cuddalore

Pollution Levels Continue to be High in SIPCOT Cuddalore -

Cuddalore, 20 May 2009: The pollution levels in SIPCOT Cuddalore continue to be very high according to the SACEM monitors. The monitors reported that most of the units including Asian Paints, Maruthi and Loyal Superfabrics are repeatedly releasing heavy smoke during the night time. They also reported extremely high odours from Pioneer Jelice, CUSECS and SPIC Pharmaceuticals.

The monitors report that though they keep the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board informed about all the ongoing violations, they are yet to see strong response from the Board and a proper action on the industries so that these violations are discontinued. The monitors have sought an appointment with the Chairperson of the TNPCB to discuss these ongoing violations and lax role of the local TNPCB.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Cuddalore port to get facelift!

Congress power sharing in TN: Sonia to decide - Asian Tribune
Mon, 2009-06-01 03:25

Gopal Ethiraj from Chennai

Chennai, 01 May, ( Congress power sharing The Union Minister of Shipping G.K. VasanThe Union Minister of Shipping G.K. Vasanin Tamil Nadu with its alliance partner DMK is gathering momentum. This is Congress men’s long-pending demand.

The Union Minister of Shipping, G.K. Vasan, who came to Chennai after taking charge, said AICC President Sonia Gandhi would decide on it. "Her decision on share in Tamil Nadu cabinet would be final."

The Congress Leader of the Floor, D.Sudarsanam, has recently stirred the hornet’s nest, expressing the feelings of his party-men. Since then the talk of sharing ministry in the state is gaining currency.

Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project is a dream project which would benefit Tamil Nadu and the country as well, Vasan said and added that certain obstacles in implementing the project has to be removed. He also said he was expecting the Pachauri Committee, which was constituted to look into it, to submit its report.

Vasan said that the roads connecting ports would be laid, and he is convening a meeting with officials concerned in this connection. The ports in Kanyakumari, Cuddalore, Ennore and Marakkanam would get facelift, he added.

On the Sri Lankan issue Vasan said the time has come for the Tamils to enjoy equal rights on par with the Sinhalese. The Centre has sanctioned Rs. 500 crore for rehabilitating the Lankan Tamils, he said. "All the essential items have been sent to Lanka for the Tamils."

It is not clear what their "facelift" means. In worst case it could two high mast lamps and a part by the side of port trust office.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Call to check dumping of chemical waste

Call to check dumping of chemical waste - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE: The Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation has voiced concern over indiscriminate dumping of chemical waste by unscrupulous tanker-lorry drivers in residential areas.

In a representation addressed to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, the Association’s executive secretary, M. Nizamudeen, said that a tanker lorry emptied its contents on Monday night on a piece of land near a marriage hall on the way to Soorappa Naicken Chavadi here.

It emitted unbearable stench in the nearby areas.

Mr. Nizamudeen therefore called upon the TNPCB to keep a proper check on chemical waste disposal.

If there was any likelihood of ecological damage by such reckless acts, the TNPCB should take measures to neutralise the adverse effects and initiate penal action against those responsible for it.

The Association also called upon the TNPCB to have a dedicated phone line on which complaints could be lodged round the clock and to depute staff immediately to take remedial measures.

Unidentified Tanker Lorry Dumps SIPCOT Effluent in Cuddalore Town

Unidentified Tanker Lorry Dumps SIPCOT Effluent in Cuddalore Town -

Cuddalore 26 May, 2009: In another incident of continued blatant violation of environmental regulations in SIPCOT, Cuddalore town residents yesterday discovered an effluent dumped next TVM Marriage Hall compound by an unidentified tanker lorry. According to the sources, the effluent dump was discovered around 7.30 pm on 25 May 2009 only after people noticed very strong mosquito coil like odour from the region. The matter was immediately brought to the notice of the SACEM monitors who rushed the spot and also informed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) officials. Since it was dark in the evening the colour and extent of the effluent could not be properly determined. While the residents suspected one of the SIPCOT units to dump this effluent, any conclusive evidence of the source of effluent would only come after a proper scientific analysis of the samples.

District Environment Engineer and Assistant Environment Engineer of the TNPCB arrived at the spot within half hour and have promised to investigate the matter. More information is awaited.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mosquito trap

Something Cuddalore needs very badly at the moment.

A ‘trap’ to prevent mosquito breeding - The Hindu

Shastry V. Mallady
— Photo: K. Ganesan
The ‘trap’ will be of great use in rubber plantations.

MADURAI: A simple ‘trap’ to prevent breeding of mosquitoes, designed at the Centre for Research in Medical Entomology (CRME) here, a laboratory under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is getting ready to be patented.

An anti-breeding trap with easy to handle mechanical design would be of great use, particularly in rubber plantations of Kerala, where the breeding of Aedes albopictus mosquito is the root cause of dengue, according to CRME entomologists.

“This mosquito is a transmitter of vector-borne diseases like dengue. It breeds in rubber plantations and then becomes disease carrier. So, we have come out with a simple solution to a major problem,” B.K. Tyagi, Officer in-charge, CRME, told The Hindu here on Thursday.

The anti-Aedes albopictus breeding trap would be put on rubber collection cups in plantations. It would be able to prevent breeding because of the “simple engineering work” done with regard to the mesh, netting, slider and gauge. The cost of this trap would be just around Rs.100 and materials used by the CRME would be familiar to plantation workers. “We have experimented with the trap locally and found that mosquito breeding did not occur in places where it was tested,” he said. Documentary evidence was sent to the ICMR requesting to initiate the process for getting a patent.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Commercial complex at busstand premises demolished

After a long struggle the commercial complex in Cuddalore bus stand premises is demolished.

Related article:
Everyone's eye set on next move

Inaction From TNPCB Helps SIPCOT Unit Cover Up Illegality

Inaction From TNPCB Helps SIPCOT Unit Cover Up Illegality -

Cuddalore 27 April 2009: Local monitors report that delay from the TNPCB in taking action on the illegal operations of Aurobindo Pharma may have helped the unit cover up its illegalities and escape punishment. According to the sources the unit has been producing a chemical (7AVMA) without valid permissions under the Consent to Establish and Operate for the past few months. On the evening of 22 April 2009 Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation (CDCPO) brought this illegality to the notice of the DEE Cuddalore through a fax. In its letter CDCPO also mentioned that the unit had constructed a 500 tonne storage tank as opposed to the 100 tonnes permitted by the TNPCB. Even though the DEE was alerted about this illegality in the evening of 22nd April, he did not make a site visit to investigate the complaint until the evening of the 24th April thus giving time to the unit to cover its tracks. After visiting the unit the DEE informed the complainant on the phone that the unit had undertaken trial runs of the product without valid permission but did not mention or assure about his course of action on the unit for this violation. Even after the site visit no action has been taken on the unit so far.

Moreover it is now learnt from the workers inside the unit that on the evening of 26th April 2009, the unit illegally transported one tanker lorry of the chemical (7AVMA) to Banguluru to escape punishment. Residents believe that the delay in the investigations and action of TNPCB officials have led to this situation where the unit has adopted measures to cover up its illegalities and is likely to escape punishment.

Illegal operations and delay in the action of the TNPCB has been highlighted in several cases before. This case merely reinforces the lack of political will of the TNPCB to take action on the violators. A complaint on this incident has been filed with the Chairperson of TNPCB specifically demanding enquiry on the role of the DEE in implementing the environmental law in the SIPCOT region.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Tamil film directors to campaign in Cuddalore

Tamil directors jump into poll campaigning - The Times of India
2 May 2009, 0509 hrs IST, TNN

CHENNAI: A section of the film fraternity, led by director Bharathiraja, has decided to take a plunge into electioneering. Not for canvassing
votes but to seek support for the Eelam cause.

Tamil film directors including Bharatiraja, R K Selvamani, R Sundarrajan, Seeman, Ameer, Cheran, Selvabharathy , actors Vadivelu, Manivannan and poets Arivumathi and Snehan all members of the newly-constituted Tamil Film World Tamil Eelam Supporters' Movement would be touring Congress bastions and constituencies where the party has fielded its candidates. They will camapign in the state from May 4 to 11.

"We have come together not for vote gathering, but to garner support for our Tamil brethren in Sri Lanka. Our agenda is to identify those politicians we consider as hostile to the plight of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka," said Bharatiraja, in a veiled reference to Congress leaders. However, he refused to identify them.

The campaign would kick off from Anna Statue in Kancheepuram before proceeding to Salem, Thiruppur, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Tenkasi, Thiurnelveli, Cuddalore and Pudhicerry. The director also affirmed that the movement would oppose the visit of Sonia Gandhi to Tamil Nadu "until she gives a call to stop the war."

Lankan Tamils saved near Cuddalore coast

Oil ship personnel save two Lankan Tamils from mid-sea - The Hindu

Rameswaram (PTI): Two Sri Lankan Tamils, who were drifting in the mid-sea off Cuddalore coast in South Arcot district, were saved by the personnel of an oil ship, on Saturday night.

According to Q-branch police officials, Athan (27) and Dansan (39) were slowly moving in the mid-sea in a boat, after the engine of their boat fell into the sea four days back.

The personnel of the ship, which was transporting oil for Reliance, handed both of them to the Coast Guard and they were brought to the Mandapam camp on Sunday.

Athan and Dansan had fled the battle ridden island nation fearing for their lives and the engine of their boat fell into the sea, according to police.

They said the army was attacking Kudiyiruppu area in Mullaitivu when they left the country. Some persons who were fleeing from the area had been shot dead by the army, they claimed.

Some people were escaping by boats to Mathalai and from there to Trincomallee and surrendering before the army, they added.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Sachet

An article on the revolutionary business man from Cuddalore that appeared in LiveMint.

The sachet

When schoolteacher Chinni Krishnan made a career change to run a pharma company in the early 1970s, he had a simple business plan in mind: making medicines affordable to the common man. His factory in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, made medicines and healing salts packaged in 5g packets that were otherwise available in the markets in 100g packets.
Krishnan may not have known it then, but he laid the groundwork for the sachet concept, India’s biggest marketing revolution. Years later, in the late 1970s, his son C.K. Rajkumarextended the concept by introducing Velvette-branded shampoos in sachets at affordable price points (as low as Rs2) and creating an addressable market running into millions not touched by sales of the product in bottles. Rajkumar’s brother C.K. Ranganathan(present chairman and managing director of consumer products firm CavinKarePvt. Ltd) came up with a product, branded Chikshampoo, stretching the market size even further.

Read full article>>

Photographs of Tom Pietrasik

Tom Pietrasik is a British photographer who visits India quiet often. His photographs are regularly featured in The Times Magazine, National Geographic Adventure and many other reputed magazine.

Tom Pietrasik had visited Cuddalore and photographed tsunami orphans.

Visit (and click Tsunami Lives) to find his photographs taken in Cuddalore.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Narikkorava community demands right to vote

Narikkorava community demands right to vote - The Hindu

Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu) (IANS): Over 100 tribals of Tamil Nadu's Narikkorava community held a demonstration here Wednesday, demanding the right to vote, police said.

"This near illiterate gypsy tribe could not cast their votes so far due to their nomadic character, though they were issued ration cards 10 years ago. We are assuring them all help this time," a police official said after persuading the tribals to give up their protest.

"We have a history going back thousands of years and are as much citizens of this nation as others. Yet, we have been marginalised, termed untouchables and (have) never voted. Now we want to assert our rights," a spokesman of the group, Domba Raja, said.

The state's Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta said the poll panel will look into the community's grievances.

"We are particular that nobody should be denied the right to vote and will take immediate action if representations from this group reaches us directly or the district administration," Gupta told IANS on phone from Chennai.

The tribe's origins are traced to European Roma gypsies and to several others from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Orissa, according to accounts published by Edgar Thurston in 1909.

According to the police, most members of the tribe live in Tamil Nadu and parts of Kerala. They used to be trappers and hunters, but hunting has now been banned. One of their traditional handicarfts is the making of bead garlands.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Trial run on broadgauge section between Cuddalore and Villupuram

Trial run on broadgauge section today - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE: A trial run will be conducted on the newly-laid broadgauge section between Cuddalore and Villupuram on Saturday.

Southern Railway sources told The Hindu that the 120-km stretch would have 11 major bridges, 100 minor bridges, 25 level-crossings and seven stations, including Thirupadiripuliyur, Varakkalpattu, Nellikuppam, Melpattampakkam, Panruti, Thiruthuraiyur and Sendanur.

This section is part of the Villupuram-Mayiladuthurai gauge conversion project and services are likely to begin on this route by June.

The project is about a year behind schedule for various reasons.

For instance, a railway bridge across the Kollidam linking Chidambaram and Sirkazhi was posing difficulties in erecting concrete pillars owing to frequent floods.

The sources said that the Cuddalore-Villupuram section was executed by the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. However, the level-crossing on Lawrence Road in the heart of Cuddalore town remained a contentious issue.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Red effluent in Uppanaar

Uppanar Pollution: Fishermen find Red Effluent in Water, Report Skin Problems -

Cuddalore, 25 March 2009: The fishermen fishing early in the morning in the river Uppanar reported red effluent near Kudikadu village today. According to the local fishermen they entered the water at about 3 am and suffered from severe itching on the skin after coming to contact with the water. This prompted them to come back at a later hour to check the reasons for such skin reactions. When the fishermen came to the same site at about 6 pm they saw a red sludge like layer floating on the water (see picture). No smell was reported from the effluent.

A complaint has been filed with the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Board is yet to respond or investigate into the incident.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Groundwater pollution “alarming”

Groundwater pollution “alarming” in different parts of State, warns report - The Hindu

T. Ramakrishnan

Marked deterioration noticed in quality of shallow groundwater

— File Photo

Stream of distress: Untreated effluents from leather tanneries pose a hazard to groundwater. A scene at Pammal near Chennai.

CHENNAI: The magnitude of groundwater pollution due to indiscriminate discharge of solid and liquid waste by the industry and fertilizers/pesticides used excessively by farmers have reached an “alarming stage” in the State, according to a paper presented at a recent workshop organised by the Central Groundwater Board.

The affected areas include Dindigul, Ranipet-Ambur-Vaniyambadi-Pernambut in Vellore district; Sembattu in Tiruchi district and parts of Erode district and Chromepet near Chennai (known for the presence of tannery units); Tiruppur (knitwear and hosiery); parts of Karur and Erode districts (textile and weaving units); and parts of Salem and Namakkal (tapioca processing units).

While aquaculture has been cited as the reason for the pollution in coastal tracts of Nagapattinam district, the presence of engineering industries at Ambattur near Chennai and Coimbatore city and surrounding areas is said to have caused the pollution. The Manali industrial area in Tiruvallur district, where petrochemical units and refineries are located, is another affected area the paper said.
Undesirable change

Submitted by scientist at the CGWB K. Ravichandran, the paper stated that special studies carried out by the Board in and around tannery belts between 2002 and 2008 revealed that an undesirable change in physical and chemical characteristics of soil and groundwater had been noticed, rendering thousands of hectares of fertile land sterile. In other areas, the study began in the year 2000.

A study of analytical results of groundwater quality tested by the Board and the State government’s agencies showed that the quality of shallow groundwater, in general, had deteriorated much. The concentration of dissolved solids and chlorides in water samples collected from dug wells was extremely high, ranging between 20,000 milligram per litre and 35,000 mg/l, especially in the tannery belts.

Studies in Dindigul indicated that the common effluent treatment plant had not been effective in reducing total dissolved solids to permissible limit for domestic use. Describing the Ranipet region as an “endangered area,” the paper called for strong measures from the government to arrest the deterioration. Groundwater in Chromepet was highly mineralised and excessively hard. In Manali, toxic heavy metals were present in the industrial effluents and surface water sources.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Reconstruction of roads under way in Cuddalore

Reconstruction of roads under way in Cuddalore - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE: The Cuddalore municipality has taken up the road relaying works in stretches, in all the 45 wards, according to N. Ravichandran, Municipal Commissioner.

The residents are concerned over the condition of roads that are fully damaged by heavy rains in the past three years. The roads are full of potholes, and hence, pose great inconvenience to the commuters.

The tarred surface has been fully eroded in many places and big stones are protruding out. The problem is compounded by the slow implementation of the underground drainage project.

The Commissioner said the reconstruction of roads had been taken up from the flood relief funds amounting to Rs. 2 crore provided by Collector Rajendra Ratnoo. After studying the condition of the roads in the entire municipal limits, the stretches that needed immediate attention were identified. These were mostly the major roads which carried heavy traffic. In all, 12 km length of roads would be re-laid with bitumen tar surface.

A few stretches at Reddichathram Street, Market Colony, Chinnaponnu Nagar, Pillaiyar Koil Street, Palla Street, Kodikkalkuppam, Kuttakara Cross Street, Vaithialingam Street and Seeman Thotal will get cement concrete pavement.

Care had been taken that the newly laid roads would not be dug again for giving household connections to the underground drainage system.

All these works would be completed in a month, Mr. Ravichandran said.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Embroidery at Cuddalore Central Prison

No bar on them in unfettering creativity and mastering art - The Hindu

Special Correspondent

19 life term convicts learn the art of embroidery at Cuddalore Central Prison

— Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy
Changing patterns: Inmates of Cuddalore Central Prison learning the ropes of embroidery in a training session.

CUDDALORE: It is paradoxical but true that the persons whose raw passion has landed them in trouble and pushed them behind bars are mastering intricate needle works.

They believe that learning the art of embroidery will occupy them fully and eliminate the thinking that they are simply slogging within the four walls of the prison.

This is the domineering feeling of a batch of 19 convicts who are serving their life term in the Cuddalore Central Prison. Instead of whiling away time and brooding over misfortunes these inmates are eager to learn certain skills that would give them a sort of solace and a sense of direction and purpose in life.

Jail Superintendent R.Kanagaraj told The Hindu that the authorities were favourably disposed to the idea of the inmates taking up certain skill-oriented pursuits.

Grabbing the opportunity a 45-year-old inmate Krishnaraj (name changed to camouflage the identity), a lifer in a murder case, mooted the idea of starting an embroidery training centre in the prison.

Before conviction Krishnaraj was in the trade for years and hence, he was well versed to assume the role of the trainer. Soon, 18 other inmates had expressed their willingness to learn the ropes.

Therefore, the jail authorities procured them the required materials such as pieces of colourful cloth, needles and chumkis. The Jail Superintendent said it was a highly creative work meant for those who have the patience to sit through for hours together.

0They undergo the training with the hope that after their release they could take up the trade to lead a dignified life.

In the carpentry section 20 other inmates were busy cutting the wooden reapers and nailing them to make rectangular boxes. A private fabric dealer at Kurinjipadi had provided the materials from which the boxes of required sizes were being made.

For every completed box Rs.8 was being given as wages. Satisfied with the finished products the dealer had promised to place orders continuously.

The Jail Superintendent said such profitable occupation enabled the inmates to overcome the remorse of their misdeeds and instilled in them the hope that once out of the prison they could take up decent living.