Chennai First

a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Chennai, Tamilians and all the People of TamilNadu – here at Home and Overseas
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    A software engineer is offering guidance to anyone seeking to set up a low-cost rainwater harvesting system

    Sriram Vasudevan, a software engineer, uses his free time for work involving hardware. Not the hardware you associate with computers. He’s working with PVC pipes, L-joints and valves and other material necessary to build rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems. Having set up a self-designed, cost-effective RWH structure at his house in Ramapuram, he is helping others install such structures at theirs.

    He had been researching intensely on how to install cost-effective RWH structures before devising such a model himself. He says this work is motivated by a desire to solve water-related problems in the city. Sometime ago, he posted an announcement on Facebook, expressing his desire to guide anyone who wants to install such an RWH structure. “My friend Balaji set up an RWH structure at his house recently and I was greatly inspired by it. I believe a good RWH structure in each house will help solve many water-related problems in the city,” he says. Here’s how this model works.

    “The rainwater that gets collected in someone’s terrace should be directed to their borewell, well or sump,” he explains. In regular RWH systems, the collected rainwater is directed to a rainwater harvesting pit dug near the house. This pit has a layer of coarse pebbles to help filter impurities and channel the water underground directly. In a variation of this model, Sriram suggests that a valve be placed in the RWH pipes.

    This valve is capable of clearing out the impurities, thereby helping bypass the need for a rainwater harvesting pit.

    Sriram says channeling the collected rainwater directly to the borewell will help improve water quality.

    “There will be a evident change in water quality and taste, post-monsoon,” he says.

    He points out that in case of any overflow in the collection system, an extra tank can always be set up to store excess water.

    Sriram has already helped two residents set up RWH structures at their houses.

    Sriram can be reached at 9944888755

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Anjana Shekar / November 17th, 2017

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    November 16th, 2017adminBusiness & Economy, Records, All
    Tasting success: The pricey delicacy is known for its nutritional and medicinal value

    Tasting success: The pricey delicacy is known for its nutritional and medicinal value

    Fisheries university pushes for official recognition of Ayirai

    Ayirai meen (loach) has so far been known as a pricey delicacy worthy of the gourmet’s palate. Soon, the fish may well get official recognition as the State fish of Tamil Nadu.

    “We are discussing the formalities with the Director of Fisheries and other higher officials. Kerala has already declared Karimeen as the State fish and murrel  has gained that status in Telangana,” Dr. S. Felix, Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Fisheries University (TNFU), told The Hindu on Wednesday.

    He added that the Centre has asked every State to identify its own official fish species.

    TNFU has succeeded in raising the fish through pond culture, and sees potential in the technique. “The fish has huge commercial value and our Finance Secretary K. Shanmugam is keen on developing techniques for cultivation of the fish. We are planning to set up two research centres, one in Madhavaram in Chennai and another in Parakkai in Kanniyakumari district, once we get funds from the government. We have already started functioning in Madhavaram,” said Dr. Felix. Priced between ₹1,200 and ₹1,500 per kg in the market, Ayirai(Lepidocephalichthys thermalis) is available in lakes, ponds and rivers. The fish was first raised successfully in a pond by Pughalendhi, a fish-farmer from Vaduvur in Thanjavur district. The university provided him technical support.

    “Two years ago, he approached me for guidance on raising fish through pond culture. I asked him to try his hand at Ayirai  and it proved to be a great success. He raised Ayirai as an inter-crop with other carp fish species. There is a huge demand for the fish and we have to concentrate on further research to meet market requirements,” said Dr. K. Karl Marx, Dean, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Institute of Post Graduate Studies (IPGS), TNFU, OMR Campus. Scientists of Central Institute of Fresh Water Aquaculture (CIFA) have visited Vaduvur to witness the harvest. “After the harvest, the fish weighing approximately 3 grams each will be conditioned before taken to the market. In this conditioning process, the fish’s gut is cleansed naturally, making it fit for cooking,” said Dr. Marx.

    “The fish has nutritional and medicinal value since it is consumed as a whole. Ayirai consumers get more calcium as the bones are not discarded,” Dr. Marx said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by B. Kolappan / Chennai – November 16th, 2017

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    November 15th, 2017adminSports

    Some of it was sheer bad luck; inevitably there was politics too

    The Singhs of Chennai have been the first family of cricket in the State. Three generations going back to A.G. Ram Singh, hero of the inaugural Ranji Trophy match (he took eleven wickets), have played First Class cricket. Yet, why did this talented bunch of players not get its due? Some of it was sheer bad luck. Inevitably, there was politics too. With the passing of Milkha Singh last week, the question will be asked afresh.

    Stylish southpaw: A.G. Milkha Singh had the grace and flow of a natural. The Hindu Archives

    Stylish southpaw: A.G. Milkha Singh had the grace and flow of a natural. The Hindu Archives

    Ram Singh might have been on the 1936 tour of England. He was 26, had taken wickets and made a century in the Ranji Trophy. But in the days of the quota system, Tamil Nadu were allowed M.J. Gopalan and C. Ramaswami. Two in the squad was reward for backing the right horse in the cricket board!

    Done in by canard

    Ten years later, the senior Nawab of Pataudi, India’s captain, had asked Ram Singh to get his passport ready for the tour of England. Then, during a selection match in Mumbai, Ram Singh asked for a glass of water while batting, and it brought on cramps. A senior player spread the canard that Ram had a heart problem and could not travel.

    For years Ram Singh kept silent over the identity of the player who did this. Then in an interview to me some three decades ago, he revealed the name — Vijay Merchant. Ram Singh outlived both Merchant and the man who went on that tour, the great Vinoo Mankad.

    Ram Singh was a legendary coach — he learnt under the Sussex allrounder Bert Wensley who also coached Mankad — whose passion inspired both the young and the established. Bishan Singh Bedi was already a Test cricketer when Ram Singh made a slight adjustment to his follow-through. He was one of the early influences on Bedi’s career.

    Kripal Singh began with a century on Test debut, and might have led India had his place in the team been assured. Yet, despite leading South Zone and being recognised as one of the best captains in the country, he was never in the running.

    He played his first Test in 1955, and only 13 of the next 43 that India played till his final match a decade later. By then Tiger Pataudi had already led India, and that position was no longer vacant. Kripal’s sons Swaran and Arjan, and his daughter Malavika were also cricketers.

    Years ago in Chennai, Kripal and I would sometimes drive around in his little car, visiting grounds where matches were played. The sticker on his car read, “When I grow up I want to become a Mercedes.” The day following one such trip came the news that Kripal had passed way. He was just 53 and had had a massive heart attack.

    Kripal, a treasure of stories

    Kripal was a treasure house of stories about Indian cricket; he was also a national selector with a keen understanding of a player’s temperament. “Average ability with a big heart will always score over great ability with no heart,” he would say. One of his favourite stories – later confirmed by the then TNCA Secretary Mr S. Sriraman — was how he got the BCCI to postpone a Ranji Trophy final which happened to clash with his university examinations!

    The youngest of the brothers, Satwender might have been in the reckoning had a road accident not held him back; Arjan’s knee injury prevented further progress. He was 27 then.

    For years, the force of Tamil Nadu’s grouse against the national selectors was second only to Bengal’s. In the 1960s, Bengal might have felt hard done by, owing to the treatment meted out to the talented Ambar Roy. Tamil Nadu might have felt the same way about Milkha Singh. Both were attacking left-handers, both belonged to distinguished cricketing families, and each played just four Tests.

    Both were probably kept out by the same player — Mumbai’s Ajit Wadekar, who made his debut for India at 25. Wadekar was born in the same year as Milkha; Roy was four years younger. Milkha was good enough to play for India at 18.

    Milkha, like Kripal, was a jovial soul whose guiding principle seemed to be: “Anything for a laugh”. He enjoyed life hugely, was a popular manager for a side that often had to put up with stuffed shirts who wouldn’t allow youngsters to enjoy the game. He believed that enjoyment was a necessary part of all sport, and laughter enhanced performance.

    When I spoke to Milkha (he was “Micky”, Kripal was “Pally”) about a month ago, he was in good form, as always. He recalled the 1967-68 Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai, and explained where things went wrong for Tamil Nadu.

    But there was no resentment, only a touch of surprise at an umpiring decision half a century later!

    This lack of resentment has been a Singh family feature. It is an important legacy. And no one exemplified this better than Milkha.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Opinion> Columns> Between the Wickets / by Suresh Menon / November 14th, 2017

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    Artistes of Karaikudi, company’s designers, handcrafting the eco-friendly products of Tetewood

    Artistes of Karaikudi, company’s designers, handcrafting the eco-friendly products of Tetewood

    Chennai :

    As fashion progresses towards going green, this Chennai startup went one step further turning spectacle frames biodegradable. Though there are many options for buying spectacle frames in the market today, an online store TeteWood, deals in a unique product — biodegradable wooden frames. ‘When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves, so why not go green, make a cleaner greener environment and make the Earth a better place for our fellow Earthlings’ reads the company’s motto.


    Jayakumar Mamani, (24), CEO, TeteWood, started the company in January 2017. ‘Tete’ stands for Tectonas Texture. He was inspired by a local optical vendor in Karaikudi and that is how it all began. “I am interested in wood and studied a lot about bamboo in Auroville. When I visited Hyderabad, I loved the concept of the wooden house, and wanted to learn more,” he says. “I was always looking forward to creating something innovative that can be used by people on a daily basis. So I thought of making wooden eyewear which is a unique concept in India, and preferred by youngsters,” he says.

    The business is helmed from Chennai and Bengaluru. They also ship orders to  Maldives, Kenya and Australia. Most of their products go to retailers and wholesalers, and the stalls at international optical expos paved way for it. Jayakumar does his business online in other websites like Indiamart and TradeIndia.

    He faced several challenges in the initial stages. “My mother was a house maid; we struggled to eat one square meal a day. I also lost my father in the first month of the launch of our website,” he shares.

    Collecting wooden frames for sampling was also difficult as there were lots of legal formalities. Now, he wants to take Tetewood to the next level and is looking for big investors.

    “Customers can bring any wooden piece to us and we will make the desired spectacle out of it. For instance, even if a broken chair is given to us, we can make multiple frames out of it!” His investors include his friends with whom he plays basketball. “They gave me all that I wanted; they are my genies. One of my friends, Ragu showed great interest in the product and invested Rs 5 lakh for starting the project. Now I have three other individual investors, a sum of Rs 25 lakh on the whole,” he says.
    There are 12 employees in the team and 80% of the work is handcrafted by the traditional artists of Karaikudi. Sonnet and Booze model are in demand in the Indian market and product with customer’s name engraved on it is most liked.

    Tetewood has taken the patent for the patterns/engravings over wooden optical frames, luxury frames — frames with wood and gold costing from Rs 20,000 to Rs 60,000 per frame. In future, he plans to make frames from wood and jean, oxidized plate, metal/stone/linen/other combo with natural prints, wooden phone cases, bowties, wooden certificates, wooden notebooks and  the list goes on.

    Due to the large scale demands of the products, he had to reject few offers as they only produce around 100 pieces of frames as the time and labour invested is more. “We are the first manufacturers in India to build a company exclusively for the wooden eyewear, so there is not much competition for us in the market,” claims Jayakumar.
    To make a strong base offline and market his project he would need Rs 3 crore.

    Rs 5 lakh
    The basic investment Tetewood started  off with

    Rs 25 lakh
    The current capital with which they work on wih three investors on board

    Rs 3 crore

    The amount they  need in investment for venturing into luxury products

    12 employees
    While their products are handcrafted by artistes of Karaikudi.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Priyanka Susil / Express News Service / November 01st, 2017

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    November 13th, 2017adminRecords, All, Sports, World Opinion

    The Coimbatore city shooters, of late, are making their presence felt on the national and international circuit. The 60th National shooting championships held in Pune last December is a case in point. If 21-year-old N Gaayathri won gold in the women’s 3-position rifle event after beating a field comprising seasoned shooters such as Anjali Bhagwat and Tejaswini Sawant, her city mate and pistol shooter P Shri Nivetha pocketed an individual bronze and team silver in the competition.

    Both Gaayathri and Nivetha have made the senior national side on the back of consistent performances on the junior circuit. “Being part of international competitions as members of the Indian junior team provided us a strong footing before making the senior side,” Nivetha told TOI. She won a junior gold in the 10M Air Pistol category of the Asian Airgun championships held in New Delhi in 2015. Gaayathri, on the other hand, made a mark at the junior World Cup in Suhl (Germany) last year – winning a bronze in the 50M rifle prone event.

    The two made the final in their respective events at the recently-concluded Commonwealth Shooting championships in Gold Coast, Australia. While Gaayathri narrowly missed a medal by 0.7 points – finishing fourth – in the women’s rifle 3-Position event, Nivetha ended fifth in the 10m Air Pistol event. “The competition was of the highest order. In such events, it all boils down to how you handle the pressure during crunch situations,” said Nivetha.

    Gaayathri and Nivetha aren’t the only set of shooters to be making waves from the city. “Shooters such as Srinithi Abirami, Namritha Saravana and many others are doing well from Coimbatore. What is heartening to see is that each one of them has managed to find the balance between their studies and shooting. Srinithi is a qualified engineer while Gaayathri and Nivetha have both done their graduation,” said Marudhachalam, vice-president of Coimbatore Rifle Club.

    Marudhachalam also felt that these shooters’ families have supported them to the hilt. “The parents of these shooters understand the rigors of the sport and do everything they possibly can to support them,” Marudhachalam said.

    According to Srinithi, the Coimbatore Rifle club – in existence since 1953 – provides the right environment for shooters. “They conduct regular camps that attract a lot of shooting enthusiasts. I was part of one of the camps back in 2009 and it didn’t take long for me to get hooked to the sport,” said Srinithi, who won silver in the Asian championships at Kuwait in 2015.

    The club, in the midst of getting upgraded to international standards, has already installed electronic targets – a move that has got thumbs up from the shooters. “The club is doing its best to encourage the sport. The installation of electronic targets was certainly helpful for the shooters,” said Nivetha. The renovated club is likely to reopen in the next few weeks.

    From November 15, the likes of Gaayathri, Nivetha and Srinithi will join others in the trials in New Delhi for the upcoming Commonwealth Games next year. Gaayathri has already begun to fine-tune for the same, and the fact that she has chosen to stay away from media commitments for the time being underlines her single-minded focus.

    source: / The Times of India / News> Sports / by Prasad RS / TNN / November 10th, 2017

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    November 12th, 2017adminEducation, Records, All
    Recognition:Mini Shaji Thomas, Director, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchi, receiving the award from Anil Sahasrabuddhe, Chairman, AICTE, in New Delhi.HANDOUT_E_MAIL

    Recognition:Mini Shaji Thomas, Director, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchi, receiving the award from Anil Sahasrabuddhe, Chairman, AICTE, in New Delhi.HANDOUT_E_MAIL

    Achieves hat trick by winning third year in a row at FICCI Educations awards

    National Institute of Technology-Tiruchi (NIT-T) has bagged University of the Year award at FICCI Higher Education Summit held in New Delhi on Thursday.

    Mini Shaji Thomas, Director, NIT-T, received the award presented by Anil Sahasrabuddhe, Chairman, All India Council of Technical Education, in the presence of M. M Sharma, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai. A NIT-T press release said that it had achieved a hat trick at the FICCI Educations awards. In 2015, the institute was recognised for excellence in social responsibility category. In 2016, it won two awards for excellence in employability and visionary idea.

    According to the release, FICCI adopts an elaborate two-stage screening process in selecting top institutes for the awards. Consulting firm Ernst & Young is the knowledge partner for FICCI. The first stage consists of online application which leads to short-listing based on merits of the institute, followed by a final jury evaluation which is based on face-to-face presentation before a high-powered jury chaired by R.A. Mashelkar, an eminent scientist.

    The institute scored high on many of the yardsticks set for the University of Year award, having undertaken a major academic transformation a couple of years back and figuring almost on top of the list in terms of research publications.

    NITT was ranked 11th amongst all technical institutions, including the older IITs and 1st amongst all NITs in the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s National Institutional Ranking Framework during 2017.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> National> Tamil Nadu / by Special Correspondent / Tiruchi – November 11th, 2017

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    Red diamonds, he calls them. The fruits of his labour. And since January, Gopinath Jayaraja and his coterie of city farmers have harvested three tonnes of this precious commodity. Incidentally, it has also made his idli-dosa batter taste spectacular.

    During Pongal 2017, Jayaraja and friends decided to try their hand at community farming on a leased land near Chengalpet, calling the initiative Valam 1.0, after the organic produce store they run in Chennai. Their first crop — the red diamonds, a native rice grain called poongar. “We sell organic products from our Tirunelveli farm but found customers in Chennai were interested in trying their hand at farming. So, for Valam 1.0, we got people to invest in leasing five acres from a farmer to cultivate rice,” says Jayaraja, who farms part-time, and works full-time at an IT firm.

    With 54 investors joining in for round one, Jayaraja has begun preparing ground for Valam 2.0 near Mambakkam. “At the end of the crop cycle, investors share the harvest with everyone taking home a certain amount of organically grown native rice. The idea of farming draws people in. Most of those who put in their money, also put in their time working the land along with the farmer who owns the land,” says Jayaraja.

    The Valam collective is one of several mini urban-rural joint ventures cropping up across TN, which not only encourage organic farming and give city-dwellers a chance to explore their entrepreneurial side, but also help rural farmers who are in dire straits financially.

    Anything that gives financial respite to farmers is an encouraging trend, believes Dr M Maheswaran, director of research, TN Agricultural University, Coimbatore. “Many from the IT industry are getting into organic farming and collaborating with farmers. The government too is facilitating it,” he says.

    At Valam, land is leased from a farmer who also works at the collective, thereby earning him a steady income, apart from what he makes from the rest of his farmland. Divya Shetty and Vishnu Vardhan of Indian Superheroes (ISH) from Coimbatore, started a similar venture a few months ago, where people can rent out a portion of farmland for three months to a year. “We have 823 organic farmers on board and have got several NRIs to book farmlands, which they want to cultivate whenever they come down,” says Shetty, 27, a management graduate whose grandparents were farmers. ISH also runs weekend workshops with farmers to generate interest in sustainable agriculture.

    Ilumurugan, a farmer who has signed on with ISH, says doing workshops has not just given him a second stream of income but a voice too. “When people from the city work on the farm, they understand the effort we put in. I don’t know how much of a steady income it will generate but at least I see respect in their eyes at the end of every interaction,” says the 22-year-old, who has a 15-acre farm where he grows turmeric, cotton and sugarcane.

    At ISupportFarming, a community initiative in Cuddalore and Virudhunagar, co-founders and brothers Vijaykumar and Vasanthkumar Mani see themselves as a “hinge” between the disjointed worlds of the officegoer and the farmer. Here, all the working capital is given by people from the city, and the farmer who owns the land does the work, while we monitor the process, says Vijaykumar, an HR consultant with a farming background.
    “The farmland is evaluated on aspects like water facilities, and farmers on social credibility before they are signed on. After the harvest, farmers get 80% of the returns, investors get 15%, and we take 5%,” says Vijaykumar, adding that they are now working with 80 farmers, 50 investors, and 250 acres of land, growing paddy, maize, groundnut and watermelon.

    Vijakumar says the average investment to cultivate one acre through one crop cycle of three to four months is `25,000. “Most of our investors are IT professionals and each of them usually puts in `5,000. At the end of a quarter, we divide the profit and they can choose to reinvest or pull out,” says Vijaykumar.

    But for investors like Gokulavan Jayaraman, for whom farming is the ‘ultimate dream’, pulling out is nowhere in the picture. “I started a year ago with an investment of `5,000, not expecting anything other than the satisfaction of helping a farmer and spending time working in fields with my family. I was surprised to realise farming was also giving me financial returns, 12% in the first year,” says Jayaraman, lead auditor at a city IT firm.

    “I’m now in this for the long run,” he adds. And of course, the organically grown watermelon he brought home from his farm is just the more mouth-watering piece of that pie.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / TNN / November 11th, 2017

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    Chennai’s contributin to music hailed.

    Chennai’s contributin to music hailed.

    The world body recognises the city’s rich musical tradition.

    It’s a feature Chennai has always flaunted with pride. And now, it has got international recognition. The city has been included in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for its rich musical tradition.

    On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, congratulating the city: “Chennai’s contribution to our rich culture is precious. This is a proud moment for India.”

    A total of 64 cities from 44 countries have joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, the organisation’s website said.

    “They join a network at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development,” it stated.

    Gastronomy, music, crafts and folk art, media arts, design, film and literature are the seven fields of creativity highlighted by the network, which now has a total of 180 cities in 72 countries.

    Jaipur and Varanasi are the other Indian cities that feature on the list.

    Chief Minister thanks PM

    Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, in a statement, said “the people of Chennai love their music and it is a part of their culture and tradition”. He thanked Mr. Modi for “congratulating the people of Chennai for this unique distinction.”

    Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri said, “This truly is a moment to remember each and every artiste of the varied forms who have laid the bricks to build this musical empire. A haven for the classical music, popular music, music for dance and theatre and folk, we revel in the arts.”

    Ghatam vidwan ‘Vikku’ Vinayakram said the city and its sabhas had played a very important role in bringing together Carnatic musicians from all over the country and abroad. “In the beginning, there were very few sabhas, but now, there are many. And even the very small ones help in propagating Carnatic music. The December music season is something very unique to this city and even for persons from other countries; it is a matter of pride to perform during it,” he said.

    Tamil Development Minister Ma Foi K. Pandiarajan said, “Chennai, as a cultural capital of India, is built on its music and dance culture. We are delighted that UNESCO has recognised it.”

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Special Correspondent / Chennai – November 09th, 2017

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    Engineering Export Promotion Council has recognised Coimbatore-based KU Sodalamuthu and Co for the regional export award for 2015-16.

    The company manufactures paper conversion machinery for production of paper cones, tubes, edge protectors and pulp moulded products.

    It claims to be a market leader in India, apart from exporting to more than 60 countries, said its Managing Director K S Balamurugan.

    source: / Business Line / Home> News / The Hindu Bureau / Coimbatore – November 06th, 2017

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    Award-winning geologist C Singaraja explains how what’s happening beneath our feet impacts our lives and health

    It’s Shawshank Redemption in real life. Or, if you prefer, Erin Brockovich. In the first, a banker (Tim Robbins) charged with murder is sent to a high-security prison where he uses his fine knowledge of rocks to dig a tunnel and escape.

    In the second, based on a true story, Erin Brockovich, a law-firm assistant (Julia Roberts) investigates a chemicals company that releases untreated hexavalent chromium thus contaminating groundwater and jeopardising the health of local residents.

    Geologist Dr C Singaraja was recently conferred a Dr APJ Abdul Kalam prize for Young Scientist — 2017, by Marina Labs R&D, Chennai, a Medical Research Center and Biotechnology Company. The award was given in recognition of his study of groundwater. Rocks, water, contamination: how does he join the dots?

    “I did my graduation and post graduation studies in Thoothukudi, and moved to Annamalai University for my M.Phil and doctorate work,” he says. “My paper for MPhil was on how tidal variation affects groundwater along the Cuddalore coast. My PhD thesis on the other hand was on the hydro-geo chemistry of groundwater in Thoothukudi district. This place has sea-water intrusion and heavy-metal pollution by industries. I checked the land for the presence of radon and fluoride and their effect on groundwater.”

    He listed the findings. Groundwater is impacted by salt content in coastal regions. In inland areas the weathering of bed-rock leaches mica, fluorite and fluoro-apatite into groundwater. The report educates panchayats and builders about water quality, and the reasons why it gets contaminated.

    Singaraja also worked as an assistant on a project that surveyed soil in Thoothukudi, Dindigul, Krishnagiri, Nagapattinam, Puducherry and Villuppuram. He prepared a groundwater quality index, and pointed to where people could find good aquifer zones.

    The team tested and labelled water quality region-wise based on scientific parameters. “In Cuddalore district we showed how tidal waves and salt-pans impacted water salinity, and how this affected sea creatures. We devised a method to remove excess fluoride from water using natural materials,” he says

    Since 2009 Singaraja has been part of several soil-testing projects and has written 40 papers on hydro-geology. “Rocks don’t change for millennia, but water content does, indicating what’s happening beneath our feet and how it impacts our lives and health.” He also studies what he calls medical geology. “It looks into the health effects of rocks,” he explains. For example, granite, a source rock, contains naturally-occurring uranium and radon, and exposure to weather makes uranium radio-active and radon into gas. These run into groundwater, making it unsafe.

    Doing research on water quality in 100-plus villages was memorable. “Some villagers noticed the instrument we dipped in the water and accused us of poisoning their sources. Others knew what we were doing and asked us to check the water in wells in their homes. Still others requested us to bore wells for them. We helped farmers identify zones to dig for water.” That’s a lot of passion in someone who calls himself a reluctant geologist. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after school. A cousin had studied Geology and was doing well with the Geological Survey of India. I joined VOC, Thoothukkudi, which has a well-known 85-year-old Geology Department. I soon warmed up to my subject.”

    Talking about the water in Chennai, he says boiling drinking water will make it salt-free. “Store can water in porous mud pots, so the pH increases through air circulation. It’s good for health. Check common water for fluoride. Beyond 1.5 mg/litre it could cause yellowing teeth and problems with bones.”

    He adds, “Never buy land or construct houses without first testing the soil for curability; and water for elements within permissible levels. Certain types of soil swell with water and shake the foundation. The effects of groundwater contamination show up slowly after regular intake. Rain-water harvesting purifies groundwater. So opt for preventive measures.”

    He adds, “Geology is currently an important subject. Future wars will be fought over fresh water… Research on groundwater components can get you two Nobels — for Science and for Peace.”

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Society / by Geeta Padmanabhan / November 06th, 2017

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