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Book release: Tsunami and one year after
On behalf of first Tsunami anniversary (26th December 2005), the District Administration - Cuddalore released a book on "TSUNAMI AND ONE YEAR AFTER" compiled by Mr. M.S. Shanumugam, DRO-RR, Cuddalore District and Mr. Sherine David SA, NUNV, DRF, Cuddalore & Villupuram, UNTRS-TN.
In this 65 page book, they had documented the immediate aftermath of Tsunami and subsequent efforts taken in Cuddalore District from an Administrator's point of view. Hope this book will be a useful resource for the people working in the field of Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction - Cuddalore District.
TSUNAMI – ONE YEAR AFTER

Last year, this time, the giant killer waves of Tsunami struck the coasts along eleven nations, killing nearly 2,00,000 people and destroying properties worth billions of dollars. The earthquake of 8.9 Richter magnitude originated in the Indian Ocean just north of Simeulue island, off the western coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The resulting Tsunami devastated the shores of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and other countries with waves up to 30 m (100 ft). Of the 13 districts that were struck by the tidal waves along Tamil Nadu's coastline, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Kanyakumari were the worst affected. Nagapattinam alone accounted for 6,065 deaths in the catastrophe, which was 76 per cent of Tamil Nadu's total toll.
All the countries around the Indian Ocean, from Indonesia to Somalia, are observing the first anniversary of the tsunami with memorial services and silent prayers.

To commemorate the first Anniversary of the incident, the Districts affected by Tsunami in Tamil Nadu, India are observing the day, today (Monday, 26th December 2005). Year on, a huge reconstruction operation has brought hope to hundreds of thousands living in temporary shelters. This commemoration is not only to remember the past incident, but also focuses on the future development, to prepare for such occurrence in the coming years.

Hit by Disaster – Cuddalore:
Tsunami caused a serious damage in the coast of Cuddalore district. 99,704 persons belonging to fifty-one fishing hamlets in Cuddalore and Chidambaram Taluks were affected severely due to Tsunami Disaster in Cuddalore District. A total number of 11,804 families were affected and 61,054 persons were evacuated and provided shelter in temporary camps as a part of rescue and relief operations. 610 people lost their lives due to this tragedy and 38 were reported missing. 2100 farmers were affected directly due to Tsunami and 1592.98.2 hectares of land turned saline and unfit for agriculture.

Tsunami Anniversary – Cuddalore:
In order to commemorate first Tsunami anniversary, the community along with the NGO’s working in their particular affected communities, planned the programmes with guidance from District Administration – Cuddalore. Mr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Collector, Cuddalore District and Mr. Shanmugam, District Revenue Officer, Relief and Rehabilitation, Cuddalore District are visiting the special programmes organized by the respective communites. Some of the progammes organized by community are given below:
Hit by Disaster – Villupuram:
72840 persons belonging to fifty-one fishing hamlets in Vanur and Dindivanam Taluks were affected severely due to Tsunami Disaster in Villupuram District. A total number of 9.500 families were affected. 47 people lost their lives due to this tragedy and 1 was reported missing. 1588.2 hectares of land turned saline and unfit for agriculture.

Tsunami Anniversary – Villupuram:
First Tsunami anniversary day is observed on 26.12.2005 at Koonimedukuppam under the auspicious Chairman ship of the Collector, Viluppuram District. Programme started at 8.30 a.m. today & will prolong through out the day.
Tsunami changes tribals' life for better
Sam Daniel
Thursday, December 22, 2005 (Kalainar Nagar)

Last year's devastating tsunami has been a blessing in disguise for the Irula tribe in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu.
Once an impoverished primitive community, now they have been provided with boats and nets.
Traditionally snake catchers, this community was forced to change occupations when the government banned snake catching. So while they moved to fishing, they had neither boats nor nets and remained frozen on the margins of society.
Dramatic change
The tsunami brought with it a dramatic change for the better. The Irulas were noticed by the district administration and given free boats and nets by NGOs, which have made a huge difference to their lives.
"Only after the tsunami, authorities got to know our plight. Although the country got freedom a long time ago, only the tsunami got us freedom," said a tribesman.
"After the tsunami our lives have turned better. Now we get to eat something regularly," said another tribe member.
Huge challenge
Not everyone in this 2,000 strong community, though, has been touched by change and drawing the adivasis into the mainstream has been a huge challenge for the district administration.
"Still the condition of Irula tribe is extremely backward. A lot needs to be done. This was an opportunity for us to improve their living conditions in consultation with them," said Gagandeep Singh Bedi, collector.
In the next few weeks, many of the Irulas will move from their huts to pucca structures thanks to the rehabilitation schemes.
The Irulas could possibly be the only community that could consider the tsunami to be a blessing in disguise. Their lives have undergone a sea change and they say they shall ever remain indebted to the tsunami for extricating them from the clutches of poverty.
Tsunami survivors yet to find homes
Thursday, December 22, 2005 (Banda Aceh):

As the first anniversary of the December 26 tsunami approaches, many survivors in hard-struck Indonesian province of Aceh are still living in makeshift shelters, with little hope of a permanent roof in the near future.

Rista, a 39-year-old fisherman from the village of Kakap, on Cermin beach, lost his wife and two children in the tsunami.

He now lives a life of solitude, still residing in the make shift shelter that has housed him since the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated the western coast of Indonesia's Aceh province.

The disaster killed more than 130,000 people in Indonesia. Nearly 25,000 are listed as missing.

Long term assistance:

Just days after the tsunami struck, aid agencies and governments from around the world rushed in food, water and medicine to desperate people stranded along the Aceh coast, saving thousands of lives.

But one year on, survivors are complaining that little of the long-term assistance has materialised.

Rista says that where alternative housing has been made available it is too faraway from his place of work, so he has no choice but to remain in his tent.

"It's better to be here than at the barracks. As a fisherman, it is easier for me to do my daily activities. The barracks are too far away and I don't have transportation to get me here everyday," Rista said.

Without the support of a family Rista is now forced to cook and clean for himself too, something he has had to learn to do.

Alone a great deal of the time, Rista finds comfort in listening to his radio. Although things are tough he has never given up.

He has sent out requests for help to build a new house but received only promises in return.

"Thousands of promises are given (by the government and Non Governmental Organisations) but until now they have not materialised. We have also received many offers of help, but again, it never happened," Rista said.

Rista is not alone in his predicament in the Kakap village. Many people can be seen living in tents, and villagers can see no evidence that the situation will change soon. (AP)
Chennai property prices regain ground
Tuesday, December 20, 2005 (Chennai)
Sanjay Pinto

For owners of expensive beach front property in Chennai, the tsunami in December 2004 brought a nightmare of a different kind.
Post tsunami, the prices of beach properties in the area nose dived. A 2,400 square feet plot, priced at Rs 75 lakh, crashed to Rs 40 lakh.
To add to the problem was that there were very few takers.
Bounce back
However, the downward spiral was short lived as the real estate business has now bounced back.
"Tsunami created a flutter for a short time. People were in a mood to withdraw from the bookings already made. But that didn't last," said P V Sanmugam, MD, Kgeyes Builders.
Even in areas like Kottivakkam, the rate for a 2,400 square feet plot is now Rs 25 lakh, up from the Rs 10 lakh it had dropped to after the tsunami.
"The value of property with approved layouts built closer to the sea has doubled in the past six to seven months," says C Subba Reddy, MD, Ceebros Properties.
Norms flouted
The government's Coastal Regulatory Zone prohibits settlements upto 500 metres from the sea but many houses here violate this rule, which affected the market post tsunami.
And even now many new homes are still being built, totally violating environmental norms.
"People want to buy only if there is an approval. The funding agencies too would give loans only for approved places. But most of the houses built are unapproved," says Suhail Sarushi, VP, Chennai Real Estate Agents Association.
These beach houses are usually the second or third home for many who live here and clearly, nature's wrath is not deterrent enough for them.
Minutes of Meeting for
Formation of Cuddalore Resource/ Documentation Centre (22/12/2005)


The preliminary meeting among NGOs for the formation of Cuddalore Resource/ Documentaion Centre (henceforth ‘Centre’) was held on 22nd December 2005 at the IGSSS office venue, Cuddalore.

Participants:

Mr.Joseph, IGSSS
Mr. Valan S. , ADRA
Mr.Ranganathan, Save the Children
Ms.Rajalakshmi, ICMA
Mr.Winston, EFFICOR
Mr.Joshua, CASA
Mr.Jayakumar, World Vision
Mr. Sherine David, DRF/ UNV
Ms.Uma Parvathy, UNV
Mr.Rahul Pandit, UNDP
& K.M. Parivelan,, TNTRC

The rationale for the formation of ‘Centre’ was explained in the introduction of the meeting; even though the district administration is doing the relief, rehabilitation and recovery coordination well, there is need for independent ‘Centre’ which provides vital information on gaps identification and avoiding duplications. The Centre could be a one point source for all information pertaining to recovery process. The UNDP & TNTRC representatives meeting with Mr.Shanmugam, DRO-R&R on 22/12/2006, and the district administration approval in principle for the formation of Resource/ Documentation Centre was shared among the participants of the meeting. Earlier during the meeting Mr. Shanmugam, suggested that there is urgent need for village wise mapping of ‘sector’ information. He further shared the need for ‘documentation’ booklet, which could be collated from data/ information collected from NGOs, district administration, and community as well.

During the discussion:

Mr. Valan, ADRA, opined that there is need for coordination and resource centre as there are various limitations while implementing various recovery programmes due to lack of proper information. He suggested that the ‘Centre’ should be located in separate venue, so as to maintain its autonomous functioning. The Centre could be useful for replicating best practices and knowledge sharing from other districts and vice-versa. He also committed that ADRA could participate in ‘programmatic funding’.

Mr. Joseph, IGSSS, shared their previous experience of conducting coordination meeting. He nevertheless welcomed the present need of independent Resource/ Documentation Centre. He emphasised the need for ‘Data Directory’, which comprehensively provides various information sector wise.

Mr.Winston, EFFICOR, suggested that the ‘Centre’ could utilise post-meeting timings, conducted by district administration along with NGOs, which are regularly held on Mondays as appropriate time for interaction and information sharing among NGOs, this he felt could save the NGOs time.

Mr.Ranganathan, Save the Children, assured that ‘full support could be extended’ from his organisation. He shared the view that ‘Block level’ and ‘Village level’ information is very essential for field level implementation of recovery programmes, so in his opinion, the ‘Centre’ could take this up. He also committed that his organisation could provide programmatic support to the ‘Centre’.

Ms.Rajalakshmi, ICMA, felt the need for district specific, NGO mapping in detail. The TNTRC CSO Database was explained to her. She also opined that even before the formal inauguration of the Centre, the data collection, documentation works, etc, could be started.

Mr. Rahul, UNDP, explained the importance of Public-private partnership in post disaster context and highlighted the ‘TNTRC model’ as collective initiative of UNDP, NGOs, and Govt. of Tamil Nadu. He explained the need for independent Resource/ Documentation centre at the Cuddalore district, which will complement the role of district administration and various recovery players.

Mr. Sherine, DRF/ UNV, highlighted the importance of disaster preparedness component to be taken up by the Centre, besides this, many orientation programmes/ workshops could be conducted for district administration staff.

Outcome of the meeting:

All the participants unanimously agreed to support the formation of ‘Resource/ Documentation Centre’ at Cuddalore district.
The next meeting among the participants is fixed for 5th January 2006, for follow up action.
The ‘Concept note’ and terms of reference for Centre to be prepared by Rahul and Pari and processed with Cuddalore district administration.
Roughly between 15 and 31 January 2006, the Cuddalore District ‘Centre’ should be initiated, for its full fledged operation.
- Pari
Damaged boat - Sonankuppam - Cuddalore District

Mechanised boats in shed - Sonankuppam fishing hamlet, Cuddalore District


Mechanised boats in shed - Sonankuppam fishing hamlet, Cuddalore District
Deep Depression over Southwest Bay of Bengal

Coastal Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry are likely to experience widespread rainfall in the next 48 hours with yesterday's depression over Southwest Bay. The deep depression over southwest Bay of Bengal remained practically stationary and lay centered at 2330 hrs. IST of 17th December, 2005, near Lat. 8.50 N and Long. 83.50 E about 500 km southeast of Nagapattinam. The system is likely to intensify further and move in a west-northwesterly direction.

The numerical weather prediction products suggest that this system is likely to move towards Tamilnadu coast during the next 48 hours after crossing / skirting north Srilanka coast.

Under its influence fairly widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy fall is likely along Tamilnadu coast during next 48 hours. Strong winds with speed reaching 50-60 kmph also likely along and off Tamilnadu coast during the same period.

State of sea will be rough to very rough along and off Tamilnadu coast. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea.
Heavy Rainfall Warning:

“Isolated heavy to very heavy falls is likely along Tamil Nadu coast and isolated heavy falls over south coastal Andhra Pradesh during next 48 hours. Strong winds with speed reaching 50-60 kmph also likely along and off Tamil Nadu coast during the same period. State of sea will be rough to very rough along and off Tamil Nadu coast. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea” – Indian Meteorological Department

In the District:

The people of the Cuddalore District had already been alerted and necessary steps have been taken for rescue and relief operations, if needed. A close vigil was also being maintained at tank and lake bunds. Adequate number of sand bags and casuarina poles had been collected to strengthen bunds in case of any breach. The fishermen also have been asked not to venture in to the sea.
Proceedings of the Meeting on Enrollment Drive of Children in Schools with Government Functionaries and INGOs / Local NGOs

Organized by Save the Children

Date: 29-06-2005
Time: 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Venue: Town Hall, Bharathi Road,
Manjakuppam, Cuddalore-607 001.

Agenda for the Meeting:

· Welcome and Self-Introduction

· Sharing of Experiences and current scenario on Children Enrollment

- Obstacles/Issues came across during the enrollment
- Challenges Faced and Strategies adopted

· Sharing of education services by the District Education Functionaries

· Identification of Strategy to be adopted for coordination among the stakeholders

· Working on Action-Plan towards ensuring that all Children are enrolled in School.

· Follow-up Meeting

· Summation

Background

The tendency of children being dropped from School due to dislocation and other reasons has been an issue of concern as children has to be given due consideration to see that all the children are enrolled and at the same time have the right to schooling. Simultaneously the current need that is being felt is to restart the child focused coordination to strengthen the response and delivery system across various concerned agencies and the District Administration. At this juncture it was felt that there is a need for those who are involved towards Child Protection and Child Welfare to meet, reflect, address and evolve strategies to work collectively to ensure that every child enrolled in school and those dropped out of school in the aftermath of Tsunami again are back to school.

Proceedings of the Meeting:

Louis Joseph, Progamme Manager, Save the Children welcomed the participants to the meeting. He briefed about the need to meet as a group and work collectively with the District Administration to ensure 100% children enrollment in Cuddalore District. It was also mentioned that the participants could chalk down the obstacles faced at the time of enrollment, so that the officials from the district administration can guide us as well clarify the doubts.

This was followed by the Self-introduction by the participants. Thirty-Three participants attended the meeting with representatives from the INGOs, NGOs and the District Education Department.

Sharing of Experiences:

The participants shared their experiences on the success and obstacles faced by the them at the time of enrolling the children in the schools. They also briefed on the activities of their organization in a nutshell. All the issues were listed one-by-one and agreed upon a collective counsenses, which is as follows:

* Both the Government/Aided Schools demand for school fees.
* The private schools insist on collection of fees to bear their management costs and Salaries to the staff.
* Few Children could not attend school though they are interested because they have to lead the family after the loss of their parents.
* Dropout rate high due to the loss of single parent to supplement the family income.
* Children getting dropped from Secondary Education due to lack of Mobility/Transportation facility to attend far-of-schools.
* Few participants also expressed issues on College Education.

The participants also aired their view that the School authority at the Village level present false statistical data on 100% school enrollment.

To this, Mr. A. Vincent, Deputy Inspector of Schools stated that this is because the teachers have to show the figure to avoid management issue of the school. He fully agreed that there is no 100% attendance and also conscious about it. It was also mentioned that the Long Absentees List that is kept in every school has to be referred to identify the actual number of dropouts. Few participants also raised their opinion that the school teachers should play a vital role in helping the NGO staff to motivate the child’s family and the children to attend school.

The District administration personnel mentioned that the Child Enrollment would take place till 31st July 2005. He put his commitment that the district administration will support all the persons in case they come across any obstacles/issues either from the School authorities. He also gave his communication address and phone number for immediate information. He asked the participants to identify children and prepare a list of all who are not enrolled due to fees problem and give to him before 15th July 2005 to make sure that all of them are enrolled. He also mentioned that there is no necessity of producing proof of identification to get enrolled in the present stature. He assured that he would take immediate action to see that the children are enrolled.

For Information: Address/Phone of Mr. Vincent for further communication.

Mr. A. Vincent,
Dep. Inspector of Schools,
DEO’s Office,
Cuddalore.
Mobile: 94437-87718

He further explained the functioning of Cluster Resource Centres (CRC) in the Cuddalore District, to promote quality education at the block level. The participants requested to give the details of the CRC’s for which he assured the it will be given in a day’s time. He will give the details of CRC’s pertaining to three blocks to Save the Children to circulate among the participants.

Finally, the participants framed few issues that have to be given concern and priority by the Government Functionaries in-line with the local stakeholders. The points are as follows:

* For Government schools/Aided schools and colleges communication from DEO to the Schools required for exemption of fees. This is because the school authorities demand the parents or the NGO staff to get authentic information about the Government Order.
* Unified presentation of information on the Sarva Siksha Abhayan (SSA) and other exemptions suggested to the DEO functionaries.
* Survey on Vulnerable children has to be conducted to explore the GAPS.

After the tea session the participants tried to explore ways of collective cooperation and coordination between the members to achieve 100% enrollment in cuddalore. After a brief discussion, it was decided that an Enrollment Task Force has to be setup to further strengthen the process of Enrollment Drive. The participants decided among themselves and selected one member from their organization to initiate the process. Henceforth, the Enrollment Task Force evolved with the following members depicted in the table.

S.No
Name of the MemberOrganization from
Contact Number
1. Satya, BLESS (0414 - 227254)
2.Rajeshwari,ASEEFA(04144-231485)
3.Damayanteran,OFFER(9844346142)
4.Deivanesan,LEAD (294392)
5.R. Gowri Priya,MNTN(9842610980)
6.Brinda,CARD(960325826)
7.Joseph,World Vision(04142-225474)
8.Nanda Kumar,CCF(9367632378)
9.Ranganathan,Save the Children(044-55713427)
10.Kumar,TNTDS(9443815234)


The members of the Enrollment Task Force decided to meet again with the following information from their respective organizations for strategic planning.

* Dropout children list of their Project areas.
* School list that demand Collection of Fees for enrollment.

World Vision offered to organize the next meeting in their office premises on
12th July 2005 at 10:30AM at World Vision, Cuddalore office.

The meeting ended with a commitment to meet again on 12th July 2005

minutes by " savethechildren" team
Kalam to visit Nagai on Thursday
Thursday June 30 2005 00:00 IST

NAGAPATTINAM: President A P J Abdul Kalam is scheduled to visit Nagapattinam district on Thursday and interact with the tsunami-affected people and inspect the rehabilitation work being carried out by the government.

As per the tentative programme, the President arrives by 8.30 am at the Nagapattinam Armed Reserve Police grounds by a special helicopter from Tiruchy.

District Collector J Radhakrishnan and SP Abdul Rahuf will receive him.

Later, Kalam will discuss the relief and rehabilitation measures with the officials at the Collector’s Office.

He will visit Vailankanni, meet the affected people and interact with the fishermen and their children at the temporary shelters.

The President will visit Our Lady’s Shrine at Vailankanni between 10.25 and 10.42 am.

He will then interact with the fishermen at Keechankuppam and disburse disburse relief measures to the handicapped at Akkaraipettai. He is also scheduled to visit a local temple.

After a brief rest at the Guest House in Narimanam, the President will attend the centenary functions of the National Higher Secondary School in Nagapattinam and interact with the children housed in temporary shelters at Kaadampadi.

He will inspect the construction of permanent houses for tsunami survivors by 5.05 p.m.

After a visit to the Nagore Silladi Dargah and night halt at the Guest House in Narimanam, the dignitary will leave Nagapattinam for Tiruchy by 8 a.m. on Friday.
Raids on hazardous industries lead to release of six child labourers in Tiruchi
Staff Reporter (Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 )

* Education, Labour departments involved in the drive to declare Tiruchi district child labour-free

TIRUCHI: : A series of raids on hazardous industries in and around Tiruchi in the past fortnight have led to the release of six child labourers.

A special squad comprising officials from various departments including Education, Labour and Revenue besides the National Child Labour Project-sponsored Child Labour Elimination and Effective Rehabilitation Society (CHEERS) conducted the raids on various industrial units including modern rice mills, aluminium and stainless steel workshops, brick-kiln units and automobile industry in Crawford, Sangilandapuram, Ariyamangalam and Lalgudi.

The Labour Department, in its bid to abolish the evil of child labour by the end of this year, observed the `child labour abolition enforcement month' last month, when 10 children were rescued from the evil clutches of labour.

Encouraged by the success of the drive, the Collector, K. Nanda Kishore, advised the officials to continue the surprise raids for some more time to relieve more children from the clutches of hazardous industries. It has been planned to declare Tiruchi a child labour-free district by the end of this year.

"Many children toil in small industries such as modern rice mills and automobile units", points out the Inspector of Labour, Tiruchi, M. Solaimuthu, who led the raids at various units in the district.

He said legal action would be initiated against the owners of the industrial units under Sec.3 of the Child Labour (Abolition and Regulation) Act.

Mr. Solaimuthu said that preliminary enquiry with the affected children revealed that they were attached to the industries only for a few weeks or months. "But, the actual period of their employment would be known only during the course of subsequent and detailed enquiry", he said.

Mr. Solairaj pointed out that proposals had been sent to the State Government to declare Pudukottai and Perambalur child labour-free districts, based on the statistics received from the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) authorities. Approval from the State Government was being awaited, he added.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Petrol bunk reopened
Special Correspondent ( Saturday, Jun 18, 2005 )

CUDDALORE: The Cuddalore Collector, Gagandeep Singh Bedi, today inaugurated the petrol bunk at Annankoil, near Parangipettai, to cater to the needs of the fishermen in nine coastal villages.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Earthquake of moderate intensity occurs in Sumatra
Saturday, 18 June , 2005, 08:54

New Delhi: An earthquake of moderate intensity occurred at Indonesia's Northern Sumatra early Saturday.

The quake, measuring 5.3 on the Richter Scale, struck at 0256 hrs IST, India Meteorological Department said.

The epicentre is situated at 2 degree North Latitude and 97.8 degree East Longitude.


© Copyright Sify Ltd, 1998-2004
24 acres of land allotted for construction of 500 houses
Staff Reporter (Friday, Jun 17, 2005)

* For the tsunami-hit fishermen in Colachel and Simon Colony

NAGERCOIL: : The Government has allotted 24 acres of land at Colachel saltpans to construct 500 houses for tsunami-hit fishermen in Colachel and Simon colony areas, said the Collector, Sunil Paliwal.

Presiding over the `boomi pooja,' organised by the Kottar Social Service Society on Wednesday, he said that the houses would be constructed on a 360 square feet plinth area at a cost of Rs. 2.65 lakh per unit.

While three NGOs — Caritas India, KSSS and Catholic Rehabilitation Society — have taken up construction of 500 permanent shelters in Colachel, a total of 13 NGOs have been involved in construction of 2,500 permanent houses in the district. House site pattas would be distributed to the beneficiaries of the 500 houses and owners of all houses that existed at the saltpan areas. A total of 46,000 houses in the district had been identified as lying within the first km of high tide line, 38,000 houses within the first half km and other 8,000 within the second half. The district administration had identified 825 houses lying within 40 feet of high tide line in Neerodi near Kerela.

New houses would be constructed for the families living in these houses at a new location.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Construction work caused balwadi wall collapse?
Staff Reporter (Friday, Jun 17, 2005 )

* `Mud dug out for laying foundation for an apartment fell on the wall'
* IN A POOR STATE: The balwadi at VOC Nagar in Alandur, where a wall and supporting pillars collapsed. — Photo: K Manikandan


TAMBARAM: The walls and supporting pillars of a balwadi collapsed at V.O.C. Nagar in Alandur late on Wednesday night. Though no one was hurt, residents said the collapse was a result of construction of a huge apartment complex adjacent to the balwadi.

Residents said heaps of mud dug out for laying the foundation for the complex was placed near the balwadi. The mud slid and fell on the compound wall separating the construction site and the balwadi. The compound wall collapsed on the balwadi triggering the wall collapse.

A concrete pillar supporting the tiled roof was completely damaged and the walls had cracks at many places. The damaged walls were noticed when staff opened the balwadi around 8 a.m.

Despite the damage, the staff prepared the noon meal for the children. Temporary arrangements were made by the municipality authorities to accommodate the children.
Residents recalled that the Alandur Municipality's balwadi was opened in 1982 and at any given time, had more than 70 children in the age group of two-five years. "Alandur" Bhaskar of the Rajiv Gandhi Narpani Mandram said his organisation would submit a petition to the police urging the builder to carry out repairs.

The Mandram had provided new floor in the balwadi a few years ago as part of voluntary community activities.

Builder's version

However, the builder of the apartment complex denied that the wall collapse was due to the mudslide.

He alleged that miscreants demolished the compound wall, which caused the collapse.
The compound wall was at least four feet away from the balwadi and the mudslide could not have damaged either the compound wall or the balwadi.

The builder said he offered to renovate the balwadi on a request by K. Kalyani, DMK Councillor of Ward No 38 of Alandur Municipality.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Meeting on measures to face natural disasters
Staff Reporter (Friday, Jun 17, 2005)

NAGAPATTINAM: M. Veera Shanmugha Moni, the Collector of Thanjavur, who is holding additional charge as Nagapattinam Collector, on Wednesday convened a meeting of Revenue, Police and other officials and discussed the preventive measures to be taken to face the natural disasters.Mr Veera Shanmugha Moni said that Nagapattinam being a coastal district was prone to cyclone and flood and pointed out 211 villages out of 523 in the district were prone to such calamities.

N.Ranganathan and N. Chandramohan, both MLAs, K.A. Abdul Rahuff, Superintendent of Police, K. Baskaran, District Revenue Officer and G. Radha, Project Officer, DRDA attended.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Catamarans donated to fishermen
Special Correspondent (Friday, Jun 17, 2005 )

CHENNAI: The AMM Murugappa Chettiar Research Centre handed over two high-density polyethylene (HDPE) catamarans to fishermen belonging to the fishing hamlets of Tiruvanmiyur and Injambakkam.

"These catamarans are specifically designed to withstand harsh marine environments and can move fast even in rough seas. They are more durable than wooden ones and have a design life of over 25 years. They are based on a tried and tested technology," said M. V. Murugappan, chairman of the centre, while handing over the catamarans here on Thursday.

Each sail-mounted catamaran weighed 240 kg and cost Rs. 35,000. They could also be motorised after modifications and could carry three persons in addition to 500 kg, including fishing nets. The centre also offered insurance for the catamarans and the fishermen.
Similar catamarans had also been handed over to fishermen in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, Mr. Murugappan said.

P.N. Raju, acting director of the centre, was present.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Admissions open in government homes for orphan children
Staff Reporter (Friday, Jun 17, 2005)

CHENNAI: Admissions are open in government homes meant for orphan and destitute children. Boys aged between 5 and 10 and girls aged between 5 and 8 in Chennai are eligible to be admitted in these homes that provide free shelter and education.

For details, contact the superintendent, Government Children Home-1, 1, Ponnappan Lane, Waltax Road, Park Town, or the superintendent, Government Children Home-2, 35, Sachidanandam Street, Chennai-12. The District Social Welfare Officer, 123, Eldams Road, Teynampet, can also be contacted.

The Directorate of Social Defence has called for applications from social workers to be deputed as the honorary social worker member of the Juvenile Justice Board in Chennai District, established under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2000. The department deputes two honorary members.

Candidates living in Chennai must have been involved in juvenile health, education or other welfare activities for seven years. They should be aged between 35 and 65. The present honorary members are also eligible to apply for a second term. To download applications, log on to www.tn.nic.in/socialdefence. For further information, contact Social Defence Department Director, 300, Purasawalkam High Road, Kellys, Chennai-10. Ph: 26426421/ 7022.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Admissions open in government homes for orphan children
Staff Reporter (Friday, Jun 17, 2005)

CHENNAI: Admissions are open in government homes meant for orphan and destitute children. Boys aged between 5 and 10 and girls aged between 5 and 8 in Chennai are eligible to be admitted in these homes that provide free shelter and education.

For details, contact the superintendent, Government Children Home-1, 1, Ponnappan Lane, Waltax Road, Park Town, or the superintendent, Government Children Home-2, 35, Sachidanandam Street, Chennai-12. The District Social Welfare Officer, 123, Eldams Road, Teynampet, can also be contacted.

The Directorate of Social Defence has called for applications from social workers to be deputed as the honorary social worker member of the Juvenile Justice Board in Chennai District, established under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2000. The department deputes two honorary members.

Candidates living in Chennai must have been involved in juvenile health, education or other welfare activities for seven years. They should be aged between 35 and 65. The present honorary members are also eligible to apply for a second term. To download applications, log on to www.tn.nic.in/socialdefence. For further information, contact Social Defence Department Director, 300, Purasawalkam High Road, Kellys, Chennai-10. Ph: 26426421/ 7022.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
They now go to school
K. Lakshmi

* 575 slum children will get education, thanks to initiative by Asha Nivas
* PROUD POSSESSION: Children of the city Corporation schools with new uniforms they received from Asha Nivas on Thursday.

CHENNAI: Six-year-old Saritha from a slum in Otteri used to play on the pavement and never knew what school was till a year ago. Now she is one of 575 children from similar backgrounds who will join school.

It was a happy evening on Thursday for the children who assembled at the Samarpana Shelter Home for Boys at Otteri to take home new uniforms and school kits provided by Asha Nivas.
The organisation has enrolled street children and school dropouts in city corporation schools. While 300 street children had earlier had non-formal schooling at 15 centres operated by Asha Nivas, 275 school dropouts attended alternate schools with a specified syllabus from Chennai Corporation.

Lily Josephine, chief coordinator of Asha Nivas, said many of the children, who came from slums from Mylapore, Perambur, Guindy and Saidapet, were rag pickers earning between Rs. 5 and Rs. 10 a day. They were convinced to study in non-formal schools run by the organisation. While the street children were educated in the evening under the Integrated Development Programme supported by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, school dropouts were educated under the "Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan" programme monitored by Chennai Corporation.

After undergoing education at these centres for one or two years, the children were then admitted to Corporation schools in classes depending on their abilities.

Kurian Thomas, founder and director of Asha Nivas, gave away the school kits to the children who were admitted for regular schooling on June 1. About 300 social workers of the organisation are involved in identifying children without proper schooling.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Madurai to be declared child labour free district
Staff Reporter

* Various departments have been involved in the exercise

MADURAI: The district is all set to be declared child labour free on June 30.
Based on an action plan formulated by the district administration, the authorities here are swiftly taking steps to identify child labourers, put them back in regular schools and rehabilitate their families.

The District Inspector of Labour, V. Ayyanar, said on Sunday that several steps have been initiated to eradicate child labour in the district and that the district is being declared child labour free for the first time. Various government departments have been involved in the exercise and the Collector, D. Raajendiran, has been consistently tracking the progress of the implementation of the plan, he said.

According to the 2004 records, there were 197 child labourers in the district and the process of putting them in schools had been undertaken by the administration. Welfare measures were initiated under the poverty alleviation programme and departments such as the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing and Development Corporation (THADCO) and the Department of Child Welfare have been involved in giving financial assistance and taking rehabilitation measures.

Massive rally taken out :

Hundreds of school students and representatives from various organisations and self-help groups took out a massive rally to mark the Anti-Child Labour Day observed on Sunday. The Collector flagged off the rally at Goripalayam and walked with the students, who raised slogans against child labour.

The District Chief Educational Officer, K. Sridevi, said the aim of the rally was to create a larger public awareness against child labour and ensure that the children had the right kind of childhood. Representatives from the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by its president, S. Rethinavelu, and members of the Hotel Owners' Association took part in the rally. Officials of the Education Department, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and other government departments and voluntary organisations also took part in the rally.

Important role for parents :

Later, addressing participants at the culmination of the rally at Gandhi Museum, Mr. Rethinavelu said that parents played an important role in eliminating the menace as they are responsible for sending their children to school.

"If parents look for short-term benefits the children will become a burden to the parents and society in future because of the lack of education," he pointed out. The chamber members did not employ child labour in their business units, he said.

The Assistant Elementary Educational Officer, S. Madhavan, said competitions were conducted for schoolchildren and that the prizes would be distributed to the winners at the Collectorate on Monday.

Pledge taken:

The Mayor, C. Ramachandran, the Commissioner (in-charge), C. Rajamani, the Deputy Mayor, Ghouse Batcha, officials and employees of the Madurai Corporation took an anti child labour pledge on Friday in connection with the Anti-Child Labour Day.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Bonded labour: demand to collect compensation from employers
Special Correspondent (Monday, Jun 13, 2005)

SALEM: Activists and speakers, who participated in the Zonal Conference on the `Total Abolition of Bonded Labour', urged the Government to collect compensation from those who employ bonded labourers in their firms.

This move, they strongly believed, would play an effective deterrent role against the employment of bonded labour. Sudarshan Nachiappan , MP, inaugurated.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Educational aids given
Special Correspondent (Monday, Jun 13, 2005 )

CUDDALORE: : The child welfare unit of Loyola College, Chennai, gave away furniture and educational aids, worth Rs 1.72 lakhs, to 30 anganwadis in the tsunami-hit areas here on Saturday.

Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi, also participated at the function held at Thevanampattinam.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Balwadis for tsunami-hit children re-open in city
Staff Reporter (Monday, Jun 13, 2005 )

* NGO helps renovate three centres at a cost of Rs. 2.50 lakhs

* IN A PLAYFUL MOOD : Children at the renovated ICDS balwadi at Nochikuppam, near Light House, on Saturday. — Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

CHENNAI: : A section of Nochikuppam residents are a happy lot, for the balwadis built under the Integrated Child Development Scheme has been renovated after the December 26, 2004 tsunami.

Thanks to the efforts of Asha for Education, a non-governmental organisation, three balwadis have been renovated at a cost of Rs 2.50 lakhs. They were opened on Saturday.

Dhilshath, a teacher in one of the balwadis, said that when the tsunami struck, half of the building went under water. It was badly damaged. About 50 children used to stay in the centre.
One of the mothers said that after the devastation, the number of children visiting the balwadi had come down. With the renovation, she hoped, more would come.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Clash in fishing - Devanampattinam - 4 arrested (daily thanthi dated 09/06/2005)

visit: http://www.dailythanthi.com/article.asp?NewsID=189054&disdate=6/10/2005&advt=2 for more information


© Daily Thanthi 1999.
Primary school students clean toilets
R. Sundaram (Friday, Jun 10, 2005 )

ERODE: Ganapathypalayam Panchayat Primary School, 15 km here, has taken the concept of "dignity of labour" too far: Barefoot students have been ordered to clean the school toilets by the authorities.

Two students, studying in III and IV standards, were found cleaning the toilets on Thursday by District Collector D. Karthikeyan.

Nobody knows how long the practice has been going on. But it came to light by chance on the day the Collector came on a visit to the school.

Mr. Karthikeyan was in the village to inaugurate a district-level intensive motivation campaign for school children. Even as classes were going on, the two students were busy cleaning the school toilets. They admitted to the Collector that their teacher had deputed them to do the task. In fact, students took turns to clean the toilets and the classrooms, the Collector was told.
In a district that is striving to eradicate child labour in any form, children were being forced to clean toilets.

The school authorities later presented new stainless steel plates to students covered by the noon meal scheme.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.

Private mini-bus services in Chennai
S. Vydhianathan (Thursday, Jun 09, 2005)


*Operators allowed in three key stretches due to the rise in the number of commuters
*More permits for mini buses in districts to be issued
*Major change in transport policy of Government


CHENNAI: The State Government has decided to allow private operators to ply mini buses within the Chennai metropolitan area but outside the city Corporation limit. The Government plans to increase the presence of mini buses in some districts. The maximum number of mini-bus permits will be increased from the existing 250 to 350 in three districts and to 300 in six districts. In the remaining 19 districts, there will be no change in the existing number of 250 permits. This is being done to meet the growing transport needs of the commuters, senior officials said.

According to a Government gazette notification issued on June 2, the area of operation of mini buses will be expanded. Mini buses will now be permitted to operate up to 25 km from the present 20 km, subject to a condition that the services should operate at least 5 km in the unserved rural area with an overlapping distance of 8 km on routes where stage carriage services are provided.

The notification marks a major change in the transport policy of the Government. Private operators will be allowed to run services from Poonamallee High Road to Koyambedu Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus via Koyambedu market, from East Coast Road in the south to Thiruvanmiyur bus stand via Maruntheeswarar Temple and from Old Mahabalipuram Road to Tiruvanmiyur bus stand via C.P.T. Road and West Avenue. The maximum number of permits for these routes has been fixed at 500. The move to allow private operators in the three key stretches in the Chennai Metropolitan area, according to officials, followed a spurt in the number of housing colonies in these areas where people depend on private van operators or share autos.
The State transport undertakings and persons likely to be affected by the notification can send their representations to the Home Secretary within 30 days of the notification, and their petitions will be taken up for consideration at a hearing by the Home Secretary to be held in the Secretariat on July 8.

Meanwhile, the Government is also taking steps to vacate the High Court stay order against partial privatisation of bus services. Transport unions had challenged the Government notification and a stay was granted by the High Court.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.

Collector cancels 47 works
Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005

CUDDALORE: The Collector, Gagandeep Singh Bedi, has cancelled 47 works sanctioned under the National Food-for-Work scheme to the panchayat unions in Cuddalore district. The order was issued at a meeting of officials here on May 31. Though administrative sanction was accorded for the execution of the works at an estimated cost of Rs. 50.85 lakhs, certain panchayat unions were lax in their implementation, and hence, the cancellation.

Mr. Bedi said all the sanctioned works should be completed by June 30. If there was any delay, a penalty of 5 per cent (on the cost of work) would be levied. In case, no improvement was noticed on the works, these would be terminated.

The Collector said only manual labour should be employed in these works.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Relief sought for non-fishing families
Staff Reporter (Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005)

Makkal Ezhuchi Iyakkam protests government inaction, stages fast

CHENNAI: Makkal Ezhuchi Iyakkam activists staged a fast on Monday demanding compensation for tsunami-hit families at Srinivasapuram, Mullima Nagar, Nambikkai Nagar, Thideer Nagar and Kannagi Nagar in Thorapakkam.

P. Velumani, coordinator, Makkal Ezhuchi Iyakkam, said the residents did not belong to the fishing community and were living in rented houses in the tsunami-hit areas. After the tsunami, the fishermen alone were provided relief and these people were ignored.

About 2,000 families living in Srinivasapuram, Mullima Nagar, Nambikkai Nagar, Thideer Nagar and Kannagi Nagar, Thorapakkam, did not receive any compensation from the Government after the tsunami. Moreover, after the catastrophe, they lost their jobs and till today many were unemployed. They had also lost their belongings and rendered homeless. The Iyakkam wanted the authorities to provide them housing also.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Trust to build permanent houses to tsunami-hit
Special Correspondent (Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005)

CHENNAI: Shri Vallabh Foundation Trust has come forward to construct permanent houses to the tsunami victims with the help of Prem Puri Ashram Trust, Mumbai and other philanthropists at Ollai Kottaimedu in Sirkazhi Taluk in Tamil Nadu.

A bhoomi pooja was organised recently. The Nagapattinam District Collector, J. Radhakrishnan, and Ranvir Prasad, Relief and Rehabilitation Collector, participated in the function.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Collector and Shri Vallabh Foundation Trust for acquisition of land for construction of houses.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Jaya seeks excise levy exemption in tsunami affected areas
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 : 1230 Hrs

Chennai, June 7 (UNI):Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today urged the Centre to issue a notification granting a 10-year-exemption from excise levies for excisable goods manufactured by the new industrial units to be set up in the tsunami affected districts of the state.

In a demi official letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday, copies of which were released to the press here today, she said this was necessary to promote growth and give a big push to revitalising the economy of the tsunami affected districts.

She pointed out that similar excise duty exemptions were given for industrial units in Kutch, Gujarat, after the massive earthquake in January 2001 and to Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal to accelerate the pace of industrial development.

She sought the personal intervention of the Prime Minister for issuing a notification for granting exemption from excise levies for a period of ten years from the date of commercial production on all excisable goods manufactured by the new industrial units established within three years from the date of notification.

Ms Jayalalithaa also urged Mr Singh to intervene to grant exemption from excise levies on steel, cement, pipes and other construction materials and equipment used for establishing new industrial units and building infrastructure like ports and roads for a period of three years in the tsunami affected districts of the State.

These measures would attract large scale investments from Corporate industrial houses to restore and improve the infrastructural facilities and establish new industrial units in the tsunami battered districts.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Mega-tsunami: Wave of Destruction
BBC Two 9.30pm 12 October 2000
Revisited: BBC Four 7pm 24 May 2003



Scattered across the world’s oceans are a handful of rare geological time-bombs. Once unleashed they create an extraordinary phenomenon, a gigantic tidal wave, far bigger than any normal tsunami, able to cross oceans and ravage countries on the other side of the world. Only recently have scientists realised the next episode is likely to begin at the Canary Islands, off North Africa, where a wall of water will one day be created which will race across the entire Atlantic ocean at the speed of a jet airliner to devastate the east coast of the United States. America will have been struck by a mega-tsunami.

Back in 1953 two geologists travelled to a remote bay in Alaska looking for oil. They gradually realised that in the past the bay had been struck by huge waves, and wondered what could have possibly caused them. Five years later, they got their answer. In 1958 there was a landslide, in which a towering cliff collapsed into the bay, creating a wave half a kilometre high, higher than any skyscraper on Earth. The true destructive potential of landslide-generated tsunami, which scientists named "Mega-tsunami", suddenly began to be appreciated. If a modest-sized landslide in Alaska could create a wave of this size, what havoc could a really huge landslide cause?

Scientists now realise that the greatest danger comes from large volcanic islands, which are particularly prone to these massive landslides. Geologists began to look for evidence of past landslides on the sea bed, and what they saw astonished them. The sea floor around Hawaii, for instance, was covered with the remains of millions of years’ worth of ancient landslides, colossal in size.

But huge landslides and the mega-tsunami that they cause are extremely rare - the last one happened 4,000 years ago on the island of RĂ©union. The growing concern is that the ideal conditions for just such a landslide - and consequent mega-tsunami - now exist on the island of La Palma in the Canaries. In 1949 the southern volcano on the island erupted. During the eruption an enormous crack appeared across one side of the volcano, as the western half slipped a few metres towards the Atlantic before stopping in its tracks. Although the volcano presents no danger while it is quiescent, scientists believe the western flank will give way completely during some future eruption on the summit of the volcano. In other words, any time in the next few thousand years a huge section of southern La Palma, weighing 500 thousand million tonnes, will fall into the Atlantic ocean.

What will happen when the volcano on La Palma collapses? Scientists predict that it will generate a wave that will be almost inconceivably destructive, far bigger than anything ever witnessed in modern times. It will surge across the entire Atlantic in a matter of hours, engulfing the whole US east coast, sweeping away everything in its path up to 20km inland. Boston would be hit first, followed by New York, then all the way down the coast to Miami and the Caribbean.

copyright@bbc
11 world biggest earthquakes since 1900

Source: USGS National Earthquake Information
Centerhttp://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/10maps_world.html

Location Date Magnitude Coordinates
1. Chile 1960 05 22 9.5 38.24 S 73.05 W
2. Prince William Sound, Alaska 1964 03 28 9.2 61.02 N 147.65 W
3. Andreanof Islands, Alaska 1957 03 09 9.1 51.56 N 175.39 W
4. Kamchatka 1952 11 04 9.0 52.76 N 160.06 E
5. Off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra 2004 12 26 9.0 3.30 N 95.78 E
6. Off the Coast of Ecuador 1906 01 31 8.8 1.0 N 81.5 W
7. Rat Islands, Alaska 1965 02 04 8.7 51.21 N 178.50 E
8. Assam - Tibet 1950 08 15 8.6 28.5 N 96.5 E
9. Kamchatka 1923 02 03 8.5 54.0 N 161.0 E
10. Banda Sea, Indonesia 1938 02 01 8.5 5.05 S 131.62 E
11. Kuril Islands 1963 10 13 8.5 44.9 N 149.6 E
Boats distributed to 120 fishermen
Staff Reporter

NAGERCOIL: The Collector, Sunil Paliwal, distributed boats and other implements worth Rs.65 lakhs to 120 tsunami-affected fishermen in the coastal areas of Kanyakumari district, at a function organised by the Fish Worker's Union on Wednesday.

Speaking to presspersons here, he said the Government had spent more than Rs.74 crores for relief, rescue and rehabilitation measures for the benefit of tsunami-hit fishermen. Of the total amount of Rs.74 crores, Rs.15 crores had been distributed to 1100 women self-help groups as loan to undertake economic activities.

Moreover, the Government decided to construct permanent houses to 537 tsunami-affected fishermen in Colachel areas. In the meantime, the district administration acquired 24 acres for constructing permanent houses at Colachel, said the Collector.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Novel way to educate the tsunami-hit
K. Subramanian

NAGAPATTINAM: A novel method of educating hundreds of tsunami-affected children living in temporary shelters and partially damaged homes in the district, on the topics of health, sanitation and hygiene through puppetry and rural games was launched by the Exnora International, Chennai, here on Wednesday.

Exnora International had also organised a three-day workshop for 70 volunteers now working in tsunami-affected areas about how to convey the message of the importance of sanitation, waste management and a clean environment besides the protection of flora and fauna using puppetry and rural games.

The resource persons, Bhanumathi from the Pavai Centre for Puppetry and Sheela of Kreeda, explained how anganwadi workers, change-makers and health and field animators could convey through play-way method the importance of personal hygiene, improve their knowledge of environment protection among other topics.

Naina Shah, Vice-Chairman of Exnora International said the volunteers would organise more than 70 programmes on health awareness in the tsunami-hit areas. T. Vijay Anand, programme coordinator and V.Ganapathy, Tiruchi District Exnora Advisor, explained the various features of the programme.

V. Murthi of Nagapattinam Exnora Innovators Club, presided. V.Chakrapani, Commissioner, Nagapattinam Municipality, Sooryakala, District Social Welfare Officer, appreciated Exnora for its timely training programme. V. Selvam proposed a vote of thanks.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Celebs with a cause

BANGALORE: A 360 degree Campaign on Women and HIV/AIDS Launched by Breakthrough The majority of HIV/AIDS infected women in India are married women and not commercial sex workers! Breakthrough, an international human rights organization, is launching a 360 degree media campaign, What Kind of Man Are You? to bring public attention to the growing number of married women in India infected by HIV/AIDS.

The campaign has been created by Prasoon Joshi of McCann Erickson and also includes the efforts of key figures like Mandira Bedi, Samir Soni, Arjun Chandramohan Bali, Sujit Sircar and many others. While a lot of effort has gone into spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS among high-risk categories like commercial sex workers, very little has been done to sensitize women in the general public who are vulnerable to the infection from their husbands. According to Prasoon Joshi, Creative Director – South and Southeast Asia, McCann Erickson, “Creating a campaign on women and HIV/AIDS was a real challenge and I tried to understand what a woman would say to her husband in a complex situation like this.

This is the first time that a campaign encourages married couples to get involved in dialogue on gender relations and HIV/AIDS.” What Kind of Man Are You? is a 360 degree integrated communications campaign (TV, radio, print, internet, movie theatres, and transportation) which encourages dialogue on HIV/AIDS among married couples in seven languages: Bengali, Hindi, English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi.

The campaign also includes a music video to the song Maati from Breakthrough’s album Mann ke Manjeere (EMI-Virgin) sung by Shubha Mudgal, written by Prasoon Joshi and composed by Shantanu Moitra. The video features Mandira Bedi and Samir Soni and has been directed by Arjun Chandramohan Bali of Red Ice Films.

Copyright © 2005, INDIATIMES NEWS NETWORK[ THURSDAY, JUNE 02, 2005 03:59:11 PM ]
Celebs with a cause

BANGALORE: A 360 degree Campaign on Women and HIV/AIDS Launched by Breakthrough The majority of HIV/AIDS infected women in India are married women and not commercial sex workers! Breakthrough, an international human rights organization, is launching a 360 degree media campaign, What Kind of Man Are You? to bring public attention to the growing number of married women in India infected by HIV/AIDS.

The campaign has been created by Prasoon Joshi of McCann Erickson and also includes the efforts of key figures like Mandira Bedi, Samir Soni, Arjun Chandramohan Bali, Sujit Sircar and many others. While a lot of effort has gone into spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS among high-risk categories like commercial sex workers, very little has been done to sensitize women in the general public who are vulnerable to the infection from their husbands. According to Prasoon Joshi, Creative Director – South and Southeast Asia, McCann Erickson, “Creating a campaign on women and HIV/AIDS was a real challenge and I tried to understand what a woman would say to her husband in a complex situation like this.

This is the first time that a campaign encourages married couples to get involved in dialogue on gender relations and HIV/AIDS.” What Kind of Man Are You? is a 360 degree integrated communications campaign (TV, radio, print, internet, movie theatres, and transportation) which encourages dialogue on HIV/AIDS among married couples in seven languages: Bengali, Hindi, English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi.

The campaign also includes a music video to the song Maati from Breakthrough’s album Mann ke Manjeere (EMI-Virgin) sung by Shubha Mudgal, written by Prasoon Joshi and composed by Shantanu Moitra. The video features Mandira Bedi and Samir Soni and has been directed by Arjun Chandramohan Bali of Red Ice Films.

Copyright © 2005, INDIATIMES NEWS NETWORK[ THURSDAY, JUNE 02, 2005 03:59:11 PM ]
Fishing resumes in Cuddalore
Special Correspondent

Collector flags off mechanised boats

CUDDALORE: Fishermen resumed fishing, setting out in 100 mechanised boats from Singarathope near here on Wednesday. The Cuddlaore Port area, the takeoff point, reverberated with the thrum of engines when the boats departed.

The District Collector, Gagandeep Singh Bedi, flagged off the boats in the presence of the District Revenue Officer (Relief and Rehabilitation), M.S. Shanmugham, the Revenue Divisional Officer, Prabhakar, the executive director of the Pondicherry Multipurpose Service Society, Ratchagar, and the community leaders.

The Cuddalore Port area wore a festive look with festoons and shamiana put up for the occasion.
As per the statistics, there are 520 mechanised boats in the district, of which 52 are STBs (Stern Trawler Boats), 225 IBs (Illuhasan Boats) and 243 fibre-reinforced plastic boats with engines.
The dithering on the mode of relief and the repair works to be undertaken to damaged boats delayed the launching of the boats. Moreover, the annual ban on deep-sea fishing from April 15 to May 31 also kept the fishermen out of the sea.

Mr. Bedi said the Government had so far given away relief amounting to Rs 6.46 crores for making the mechanised boats (Rs 91.71 lakhs to 51 STBs, Rs 3.71 crores to 215 IBs and Rs 1.82 crores to FRPs) seaworthy.

In response to the plea for dredging the Uppanar, the waterway that leads to the sea mouth, for the smooth sailing and berthing of the boats, Mr Bedi said the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board would take up the task, and funds would be drawn from the Rs. 15-crore aid given by the Asian Development Bank.

The president of the Sonankuppam panchayat, K.N. Thangamani, demanded roads and other facilities.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Three students design learning system for visually challenged
Staff Reporter

Range of solutions can be customised according to individual needs, say inventors Range of solutions can be customised according to individual needs
* Team gets short-listed for design contest
* Users can learn through voice commands
* Obstacle detection system to guide way

CHENNAI: Arjun, Mayur and Karthick wanted to come up with solutions for the visually impaired using "basic technology" they learnt in classrooms.

The package of solutions developed by the trio from SSN College of Engineering has also got them short-listed for an international design competition organised by the U.S.-based IEEE Computer Society.

"Vision: Engineering Solutions for the Visually Challenged" consists of a computer-assisted interactive e-learning system which helps a visually impaired person learn through voice commands and getting information via a speech engine.

"It is dynamic enough to be customised according to the needs of the person or a blind school," says M. Mayur, a final year student of computer science.

The range of solutions starts with helping a visually impaired person negotiate his way. The "Sonar Obstacle Detection System" based on sound waves, would be mounted on the cap or stick of a visually impaired person. "It will provide voice feedback to persons wearing a blue tooth headset about objects in their way so they can enter a new environment," said Mayur. The next step is "I-Say," say V.S. Arjun and S. Karthick. A person armed with a blue tooth headset and a transmitter could start operating the applications in the room. The team has also developed an attachable Braille key skin.

The idea of helping the visually challenged conceived of by Arjun during a national exhibition, became a project after Mayur got an e-mail from his brother about the design competition.
In September 2004, they sent e-mails to each other on how to go "Beyond Boundaries," the theme of the competition. By April 2005, they were able to put together three modules that would use technology to aid the visually impaired. The sole Indian team, accompanied by their mentor V. Seshadri, will compete with nine other groups from all over the world on June 28 at the Washington DC finals.

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.
Ramakrishna Math to construct houses for fishermen
Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The foundation stones for constructing 164 houses in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts by the Sri Ramakrishna Math for tsunami affected fishermen, were laid by the math President, Swami Gautamananda, a few days ago.

While 104 houses are to be constructed at Vadakku Mudasal Odai village in Cuddalore district, 60 houses will come up at Neithal Nagar in Nagapattinam.

The total cost of the projects, which include community hall, water tank and Narendra Park, is Rs.3.5 crores, according to a math press release

Copyright © 2005, The Hindu.

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