February 2012

HC tells Centre, govt to spell out relief measures on Thane

 Chennai, Feb 29 (PTI): The Madras High Court today directed the Centre and Tamil Nadu government to spell out the specific relief measures being taken by them to alleviate hardships of those hit by cyclone 'Thane' in the state in the last week of December 2011. The First Bench of Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam, gave the direction on a petition by advocate Ananthi Saravanan, seeking relief for victims of the December 30 cyclone in Cuddalore and neighbouring Villupuram districts. The court directed Saravanan to serve the petition to counsel for the Centre and state government 'to enable them to file their respective affidavits, stating specifically as to what steps are being taken by the respondents for giving relief to the cyclone victims and also a preliminary report. Detailing the havoc caused in the two districts due to the cyclone between Dec 27 and 30, the petitioner, a resident of Cuddalore district and victim, claimed it had destroyed over 3.49 lakh houses and thatched structures, besides disrupting power supply, communication systems and thousands of hectares of various fruits and nuts including jackfruit, mango, palm oil trees, and groundnut. Standing paddy crop on over 96,000 hectares and 30,469 hectares of cashew were damaged, he said, adding that about 40 persons had died in the state, about 30 in Cuddalore district alone and five in Villupuram district. The losses suffered by the state due to high velocity winds and rain was about Rs 5,000 crore, the petitioner said. Saravanan sought a direction to the government to pay Rs 20,000 per hectare per year to farmers for the next 10 years, a mediclaim policy of upto Rs five lakh each year per affected family for 10 years and Rs 10,000 for each agricultural worker who did not possess land,for the next five years.

Ennore Expressway to have three new groynes


In an effort to help accumulation of sand along the Ennore Expressway, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has started work on construction of the first of three groynes at a total cost of Rs.8 crore. The three structures of 150-m length each would require 1.5 lakh tonnes of rocks of various sizes, including those weighing four tonnes. According to sources, the work is expected to be completed before the onset of north-east monsoon.

“We have started work on the northern side. Once this is completed, work on the next groynes on the south would be taken up,” an official of the NHAI said. “These structures were planned for protecting human habitations in the area near the Pattinathar Samadhi,” the official said. The structures would also help to reduce instant wave energy, particularly during monsoon and arrest sea erosion.

Short film on relief works

 The Public Relations Department has made a short film on relief and rehabilitation works of the State government in cyclone-affected areas.

Social audit of cyclone damage, relief distribution sought

 The Federation of Consumer Organisations in Cuddalore district has called for a social audit of the magnitude of losses inflicted by cyclone ‘Thane' and the relief given so far to affected people. The Federation that met here under the chairmanship of Rajavel adopted a resolution.

According to M. Nizamudeen, general secretary of Consumer Federation-Tamil Nadu, the resolution noted that neither the extent of damage caused by the cyclone was properly assessed nor adequate relief given.

There were allegations that in the absence of a full-fledged official estimation, elected representatives of local bodies had assumed the responsibility of giving away relief. In such an informal and unscientific set-up, the genuinely affected people were left out and only those who were close to the powers-that-be were benefited. At many places, there was no relevance between the extent of damage and the relief amount given.

Capturing the despair in the wake of cyclone ‘Thane'

 A short film – ‘The harvest of Cyclone Thane' - made by Thankar Bachan highlights the magnitude of the havoc caused by the natural disaster in Cuddalore district. Since the calamity occurred in the early hours of December 29 when every body was fast asleep, its ferocity could not be captured live.

However, an effort was made to proclaim to the world the trail of devastation left behind by the cyclone, according to Mr Bachan. The title signifies the toll taken by the cyclone on the agricultural and horticultural crops. Mr Bachan further said that since the perennial crops, raised on vast stretches of lands were uprooted, the 2012 Pongal festival was a drab affair because no one felt like celebrating amidst all the ruins around.

A potter sitting in pensive mood among his wares symbolically signifies the despair that prevailed over large parts of the district that the district that had witnessed the havoc was not in a mood to indulge in festivities as it had affected the livelihood of the small time potters too.

Corporation Council to adopt Action Plan to fight disasters, climate change

 Almost a year after the city's Climate Action Plan was prepared, the Chennai Corporation will finally adopt it in its council meeting next month.

The Plan, if approved by the State government, will provide a comprehensive prevention and action plan for the city to cope with disasters associated with climate change.

In a recent meeting of senior officials with the team of experts which developed the plan, experts stressed the need for prompt adoption and implementation.

The plan was submitted to the civic body by a team comprising experts from Japan and the Chennai Corporation in February 2011. But, its formal adoption was delayed owing to Assembly and Corporation Council elections last year.

Head for project to rehabilitate cyclone-hit farmers appointed

 Veera Raghava Rao, who is of the rank of Additional Collector, will be attached to the Cuddalore District Collectorate

Tiruchi Corporation Commissioner K. Veera Raghava Rao will head the Project Management Unit (PMU) for implementing and monitoring the special programme for the rehabilitation of farmers affected by cyclone ‘Thane'.

Mr. Rao, who is of the rank of Additional Collector, will be attached to the Cuddalore District Collectorate.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, during her reply to the motion to thank Governor for his address to the Assembly early this month, had announced that her government would implement the programme at a cost of Rs.790 crore and constitute a PMU. [This was apart from a relief package of Rs. 850 crore announced immediately after the cyclone struck the coast in December].

NGOs to discuss massive green clearances to projects

 NEW DELHI: Over 100 NGOs from across India will come together on one platform with government and industry representatives this week to discuss the issue of large number of environment and forestclearances issued in the last few years.

Rs 112 cr recd as relief for cyclone Thane

 Chennai: A total of around Rs 112 crore has been receieved by the state government towards cyclone Thane relief. 

State Ministers B Valarmathi and BV Ramana besides others, including Coimbatore Mayor S M Velusamy submitted a total contribution of over Rs five crore to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today at the Secretariat. 

An official release said a sum of Rs 112.28 crore has been received to Chief Minister's General Relief Fund so far. 

The Tamil Nadu government had also made a plea for Central assistance of over Rs 5,000 crore.

Students turn Cyclone Thanes remnants into art

 PUDUCHERRY: The creative talent of children has no limit and, when properly nurtured, can produce fantastic creations, taking everyone by surprise.

The students of Artchouna Soupraya Naikar government school at Mudaliarpet� here came up with some amazing craft work, made out of the debris of Cyclone Thane, which devastated the region on December 30, 2011.

The children picked up the dried parts of� coconuts and other trees, which got uprooted in the cyclone. Under the guidance of their teachers V Arikesavan, A Thangaraju and R Savithri, they gave shape to the “bits and pieces” of the debris, turning them into beautiful craft items.