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    Wind monitoring masts coming up across Tamil Nadu to assess density

    Chennai, August 30th

    Tailwinds are spurring on the wind power sector in Tamil Nadu. As is well known, Tamil Nadu is the national champion of wind energy, with 7,055 MW of wind power capacity, or about 40 per cent of all wind power capacity in the entire country. In 2011-12, the wind mills in Tamil Nadu produced 9.7 billion units, accounting for 13 per cent of all the energy fed into the grid. On the basis of this solid foundation, a beautiful edifice of renewable energy is being built in the state.

    First, the State is working towards a wind power capacity addition of 6,000 MW by 2017. Indeed, making this happen is a no-brainer. There is a tremendous demand from wind power producers to set up shop in Tamil Nadu, for, unlike what was believed earlier, the onshore potential in the State is far from exhausted. True, the bottleneck today is transmission infrastructure, but it is just a matter of time before that problem is solved.

    But the game-changer lies in what is beginning to happen in the seas. The State has a rich offshore wind potential and it is perhaps a recognition of this that the State electricity board’s Chairman Rajeev Ranjan has been appointed the Chairman of a committee that has been formed by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to look into the prospects of offshore wind energy in the entire country. “It is evident that offshore wind deployment in Tamil Nadu could become commercially viable despite high costs,” says Mr Ranjan.

    It has been estimated that the offshore wind potential off Tamil Nadu coast is as high as 1,27,428 MW. Four companies have submitted proposals for the development of offshore projects in the (range of 500 MW), off the coast of Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari.

    The Government of Tamil Nadu has taken special initiatives towards exploring the feasibility for development of coastal wind power projects. The Tamilnadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) is contemplating entrusting C-WET with a study to assess the wind power density on the entire coast of Tamil Nadu.


    The State Government has asked TEDA to put up wind monitoring masts at several locations. In consultation with the Centre for Wind Energy Technology, a research body under the Government of India, TEDA has just installed and commissioned two 80-m high wind monitoring masts at Ittarai in Erode district and Vellamadam in Tuticorin district. Another will be installed at the hill station of Yercaud shortly. Further, TEDA and C-WET have jointly finalised 10 more locations in various districts where 100-m high wind masts will be put up.

    Despite temporary problems with evacuation, the industry is thronging Tamil Nadu to put up wind mills because the economics work out very favourably here. The tariff has just been hiked to Rs 3.51 a unit and given the windy conditions, power producers obviously find it worthwhile to pitch their mills here.


    The only problem the industry fears is evacuation and, as said earlier, this problem is getting solved. How?

    The present infrastructure can evacuate about 5,000 MW of wind power. “It is necessary to establish dedicated 765/400 kV and 230 kV substations and associated extra high tension lines in Tirunelveli and Udumalpet areas to accommodate the capacity addition of 3,000 MW that is in the pipeline and to further accommodate 10,800 MW under load flow study,” says Mr Ranjan. Accordingly, the government is in the process of setting up 23 dedicated wind farm substations in Tirunelveli area and 16 dedicated wind farm sub stations in Udumalpet area. The government proposes also to establish “regional load despatch centre” exclusively for monitoring and control of wind generation.

    The government is also working on a project to implement a 400 kV wind power corridor. This would comprise setting up of three 400 kV substations and 393 km of 400 kV DC line. The cost of this project has been estimated at Rs 1,076.72 crore.

    The State-owned electricity generation and distribution utility, TANGEDCO, has approached the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for a grant of Rs 4,160 crore out of the National Clean Energy Fund. The Central Electricity Authority has recommended to the Ministry for the release of Rs 2,752 crore for phase-I and Rs 1,408 cror for phase II.

    source: / Home> News> States / by Hindu Bureau / August 30th, 2012

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    August 29th, 2012adminEducation, Science & Technologies


    Pre-project work on the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) will be completed by this year, say scientists working on INO.

    A group of scientists working on INO in the West Bodi Hills in Theni district who were in Madurai to participate in a seminar at The American College said a nodal centre would soon be established for INO near Madurai Kamaraj University in Madurai.

    The Rs-1,356 crore underground Neutrino Observatory is one of the world’s biggest pure science research projects coming up in Bodi Hills, about 110 km west of Madurai.

    Speaking to TOI on the sidelines of the workshop titled “Pathway to  Higgs Boson”, M V N Murthy of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai said the neutrino project, one of the big initiatives of the country in pure science, was on the right track. “The team of scientists is working on pre-project works now, which will be completed by 2012-end. Environment and pollution control board clearances have been obtained for 40 acres in Pottipuram village where the project is coming up,” he said. Excavation of a two-km tunnel in the hills for establishment of the observatory would commence after that.

    Murthy further said a nodal centre was being established near Madurai for INO. “Work is in progress to obtain another 30 acres in Vadapalanji village near Madurai Kamaraj University where the nodal centre for the observatory will be constructed.

    G Rajasekaran, scientific steering committee member of INO, said the pre-project works included setting up of necessary basic infrastructure in Pottipuram village like fencing the land, creating drinking water facilities and access roads. “The scientists team is working on creating a magnetic detector which will be placed inside the cavern in a two km tunnel which will be excavated in the mountain,” he said.

    source: / Home> City> Madurai / August 29th, 2012

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    August 29th, 2012adminSports

    With the first half of the Formula One season over, Narain Karthikeyan has charted out a plan to make the most of the remaining nine races and improve upon his qualifying performances for the Hispania Racing Team (HRT).

    Narain has had some decent results in the races so far with Monaco being the best where the Indian ace finished 15th.

    Into his second season with the HRT, Narain knows what the car and the team is all about, and what to expect in the next few races which also include driving in front of the home crowd during the Indian Grand Prix.

    Narain Karthikeyan is hoping to improve on his performance in the second half of the season / Photo: Reuters

    ‘The second half of the season should be interesting. I haven’t been doing well enough in the qualifying and that’s one area where I am struggling,’ Narain told Mail Today.

    ‘During this break, I have changed my approach and have been analysing a lot of data with the engineers, which should help me in the remaining races. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make all that count,’ he stressed.

    Besides experience, performance in the qualifying is one area which separates Narain from teammate Pedro de La Rosa, who looks far more settled with the Pirelli-McLaren tyres.

    ‘There’s everything to learn from Pedro’s vast experience. The Pirelli-McLaren tyres have been quite difficult and they have been specifically designed to make the races interesting. It is one of the reasons why this season has been so exciting. A lot depends on tyre pressure and temperature and all these aspects need to be taken care of,’ reckoned the Indian.

    Although HRT has been far away from finishing among the points, Narain feels the new car and the changes it has undergone could give the team the necessary boost.

    ‘Some changes were made in the car. The new factory in Madrid has just been completed and it is nothing less than any other Formula One team.

    “It took time to get familiar with the changes and to get used to them (changes). Things will surely improve in the season ahead.’

    Being realistic about his team’s chances, Narain says if he is able to finish all his races and improves upon his qualifying results, he will be a satisfied man when the Championship comes to an end this season.

    Out of the nine races left in the season, Narain will also get a chance to drive in front of his home crowd at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida in October.

    At the inaugural Formula One race in India last year, Narain had a decent success with a 17th-place finish. He rates the BIC as one of his favourite circuit and hopes to come up with an even better show this season.

    ‘It’s one of the best circuit and at par with the best circuits of the world. I expect it to be in even better shape than what it was last year like the pit complex would be nice this time. It always feels good to drive in front of the home crowd and I would like to have a better finish than the last time,’ added Narain.

    Narain also believes that with India now having its own Grand Prix, the perception for motor racing in the country has changed a lot in the last few years.

    ‘Definitely, things have improved a lot. The exposure level has changed manifolds with motor racing in various categories.

    ‘India is a huge manufacturing hub of cars and people understand now that it’s a serious business. We already have so many manufacturers and I know two more manufacturers are also coming into the scene,’ Narain pointed.

    source: / Home> India / by Rahul Rawat / August 25th, 2012

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    Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, (IIT-M) have developed a novel device that can visually detect even a single molecule of TNT used in the making of powerful explosives. Apart from national security, this ultra-sensitive and highly selective detection method will have applications in early identification of diseases and in radiation prevention, the IIT researchers claim.

    IIT-M creates nano-scale device to detect explosions

    Chemistry professor Thalappil Pradeep and his students Ammu Mathew and P.R. Sajanlal reporated the principle behind this device in the online issue of the leading chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie on Aug 22.

    They are now building the device that may be put to practical use soon. The science behind this explosive detector is rather involved and difficult to explain. In simple terms, the detector works somewhat like an alert traffic cop who spots a violator by simply looking at the traffic signal. In other words, if the suspected sample being tested is clean, the detector gives off a red glow on being irradiated with light of a particular wavelength. But if the sample contains the explosive TNT (trinitrotoluene), the signal changes to with a fluorescence microscope has been demonstrated by the IIT team to take place in the presence of even just one molecule of TNT — a lower limit that has not been achieved by any detector so far.

    Pradeep heads IIT’s nanoscience centre and naturally the TNT sensor that his team has developed uses a combination of gold and silver nano-particles, which are particles of extremely small dimensions.

    The entire detector system is just four millionths of a metre in size and its distinct star shape is of particular advantage because it is easy to unmistakably identify the colour change under the microscope, says Pradeep. According to the scientists, their novel approach “can be considered a single-particle, single-molecule detection technique which is probably the ultimate in ultra-trace sensitivity“.

    The researchers have demonstrated that they can also detect extremely low levels of mercury – an environmental contaminant — using the same sensor strategy. They say the concept could also be used for the detection of very low concentration of other substances by incorporating appropriate molecules called “ligands’ on their sensor thereby opening up applications in catalysis, bio-imaging and other areas.


    source: / Home> News> Science & Technology / August 28th, 2012

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    August 29th, 2012adminBusiness & Economy, Education

    The funds were sanctioned for creation of additional infrastructure in 131 government higher secondary schools in these districts

    The National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned Rs 129.82 crore to Tamil Nadu for creating additional infrastructure in schools in all 31 districts, a senior official said today.

    The funds were sanctioned for creation of additional infrastructure in 131 government higher secondary schools in these districts.

    “The project envisages construction of 1,508 classrooms, 112 laboratories, staff rooms, hostel blocks, drinking water facility and toilet blocks,” NABARD Chief General Manager Lalitha Venkatesan said in a statement.

    Over one lakh students are expected to benefit from the exercise, she said.

    Including this amount, NABARD has so far sanctioned Rs 822 crore under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF-XVIII) for 2012-13, she said.

    Some of the other infrastructure development support by NABARD during the current year includes irrigation, laying of roads in rural and setting up of fish farms, she added.

    source: / Home> Economy & Policy / by Press Trust of India / Chennai, August 28th, 2012

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    India has a coffee drinking culture that runs back several hundred years. During this period, people came up with a variety of coffee-based drinks and preparations that go beyond the standard south Indian filter coffee that you get in most Udipi restaurants.

    I was introduced to a few at the recent South Indian Coffee festival at Taj Lands End, Mumbai. “We have several well-travelled guests who come to our hotel, and we wanted offer them something other than regular coffee on our menus,” says Aakanksha Rawal, restaurant manager, Atrium Lounge. “I started by asking our in-house south Indian chefs for ideas, and over three weeks we experimented with various coffees recipes.” In addition to this, the team brought in a large brass filter from Chennai. Coffee powder was sourced from a supplier in Tamil Nadu and for the Kumbakonam coffee, the powder was sourced specifically from the Kumbakonam region of Tamil Nadu.

    At the festival, apart from Kumbakonam coffee, there was Iced Chukukapi, coffee-based infusion of spices, Karp Katti, coffee that’s flavoured with palm jaggery, Ingi Kapi, coffee infused with dry ginger, and Malli Coffee, which is made with sukku powder.

    Chukukapi is the perfect drink to cure the most fearsome cold. Not a hot favourite, really. Hence, I was momentarily taken aback to find that the drink has worked up its way to the posh tables of Taj Lands End. “Chukukapi is made at my home to this day during winters or when somebody is down with cold,” says Chef Arathi who hails from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu.

    Preparing chukukapi is a two-step process. You first boil water, turn the flame off and add ginger, cumin seeds, peppercorns and tulsi to it. The flavours infuse overnight. The next day, you strain the spices and use the water to prepare coffee in the usual way.
    For the coffee festival, the team decided to give it a twist. The chukukapi that I had was a far cry from the ones served at home. Instead, what I had was a hipper version of the drink — iced, without milk and with very little sugar. It was like having a herbal coffee infusion, though I would have preferred some more coffee for that extra kick.

    Karp katti was interesting because it uses palm jaggery as a sweetner instead of sugar. The coffee had a richer flavour than the regular variant. But it was malli coffee that really stood out for me. The coffee is prepared with sukku powder, which is a combination of dry ginger, peppercorns, and coriander seeds. The spices are roasted and ground together, and mixed with the coffee decoction. Milk is then added to it, and after heating the mixture the powder is strained out. The flavours of ginger and coriander dominate the coffee aroma, with the pepper adding just that little zing to the taste.

    Taste, of course, is subjective, and not everyone may like their coffee prepared in such a manner. But it certainly is revealing to know that spices that are freely available in the market, can make coffee taste so good.

    source: / Daily News & Analysis / Home> LifeStyle> Report / by R. Krishna, Place:Mumbai, Agency:DNA / August 26th, 2012

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    August 19th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment


    A couple of years ago, Thandarai, a village near Uttaramerur in Kancheepuram district, witnessed two significant events. The ancient Perumal (Vishnu) temple was pulled down and replaced with an ugly concrete structure by villagers, who were ignorant about its heritage value. Nearby, the Kunteeswarar temple, which would have faced a similar fate, was spared due to the timely intervention of a taxi driver in the locality.

    While one can only see the grand Nayak-style Perumal temple in some old photographs now, the good news for heritage lovers is the renovation work on the Chola-period Kunteeswarar temple.

    No alterations would be made to the original structure. The demolished Perumal temple and the Kunteeswarar temple are managed by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) department.

    “It was a taxi driver, who alerted us that some people were going to demolish the Shiva temple too,” said J Chandrasekaran of REACH Foundation, an NGO working towards creating awareness about heritage and renovation of ancient structures. “When we visited Thandarai, the Perumal temple had been demolished and a new one had been constructed on the spot. We soon sent a letter to the state HR & CE department which gave us permission to renovate the Shiva temple using our own funds,” he said.

    While heritage experts believe a lot of inscriptions and sculptures could have been lost with the demolition of the Perumal temple, they are happy that at least some rare inscriptions on the walls of the Kunteeswarar temple that belong to early Chola and Vijayanagar periods could be preserved.

    “There are a few rare inscriptions in Tamil and Telugu on the walls of the Kunteeswarar temple. The later Chola inscriptions and those belonging to the period of Kampanna Udayar (a Vijayanagar king) and the Nayak reign show the transactions that took place in Kancheepuram during those days. The Nayak kings renamed the village Seetharama Puramu. The Telugu inscriptions on the lintel are testimony to this fact. We are taking maximum care to restore it,” said Chandrasekaran.

    Even though the renovation work is on, it’s not easy as the vegetation had gone deep into the walls between the Arda Mandapa and Maha Mandapa. “The stones were removed and re-laid carefully. We are working on repairing the cracks on the wall and the ceiling. Since 70% of the temple has been ruined, it needs special care,” said S Murugan, a worker who is involved in the renovation.

    Lack of funds, however, has slowed down the progress of the renovation work. “We lost the Perumal temple due to ignorance. We don’t want to see the same thing happening to the Shiva temple. We will constitute a team to generate funds for the renovation work. We will also appeal to the people to donate for this good initiative,” said M Subramaniam, a villager.

    source: / Home> City> Coimbatore / TNN / August 19th, 2012

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    August 18th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    Madras Week is here. The event will let Chennaites understand and recollect the history of the city through various heritage tours. This time, thanks to Cycling Yogi, instead of walks, it’s going to be heritage cycle rides.

    Ramanujar Moulana, the organiser of Madras Week, said, “We will start the trail from Marina Beach at 5 am and cover places in Triplicane and Mylapore.

    From Gandhi statue we shall ride up to the DG office, followed by Chepauk Palace and Madras University or the Senate house.

    Then we will take the cycle past the MA Chidambaram Stadium to the Parthasarathy Temple. We will then visit Bharathiyar’s house and Vivekananda Illam.

    Santhome Church and Kapalishwar temple are also on the itinerary. We will also stop at the Dabba Chetty shop and then cycle all the way to Sri Ramakrishna Math followed by Sanskrit College and then back to Marina Beach.”

    The ride is expected to last for one-and-a-half hours. The groups will stop at each place for five minutes for Ramanujar to brief them.

    “I have studied history in Loyola College and Delhi University, so I am well-versed with the culture of the place.

    I am an active member of the Tamil Nadu Cycling Club and as a part of it I have visited a lot of places of historic and cultural relevance within the state and even outside. We hope that participants ask us questions and we turn it into an interactive session.”

    Ramanujar believes that this could be the perfect platform to spread awareness. “From my personal experience I can say that you can enjoy and experience a place better when you slowly grasp the beauty of it. When travelling in a car, you can catch the sight of place only for a few seconds.

    But when you are riding a cycle, you can take your own time to understand and enjoy the place,” Ramanujar said.

    source: / Home> Tabloid> Chennai / by Vipasha Sinha, DC-Chennai / August 18th, 2012

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    On Friday, a small gathering of 28 families met in the heart of Madurai to celebrate ‘janmashtami’ according to their tradition. It was an occasion for the small association of Sindhis living in Madurai for over half a century to meet each other and bond.

    Hailing from Shikarpur, now in the Sindh province of Pakistan, these people started migrating from their native place after the partition, seeking refuge in many places in India. “We went looking for a livelihood, not settling in one place. Those days were never easy or comfortable,” said Vashdev Gopaldas Talreja, president of the Madurai Sindhi Shikarpur Association. But a few of them chose Madurai as home and settled here just after Independence. He said he had come here as a small boy in 1947, but now Madurai was his home.

    They, however, speak Sindhi at home. “It is the only way in which our dialect is passed on to the next generation. But if you ask us, many of us including the middle agers are more fluent in Tamil than Sindhi,” say Naresh N Chugh and Suraj G Khatri, members of the association. To most of them, Madurai is their home and even the oldest among them, Nanda Lal, has never been to their native place.

    According to the secretary of the community, Suresh B Raheja, their deity is Jhulelal Sai who is the community god of the Sindhis. They also celebrate Guru Nanak Jayanthi in an elaborate way and their temple, situated in Pappan Kinathu Street near the Meenakshi temple, was constructed in 1954. This shrine also serves as their meeting point. Their deities are decorated with flowers and jewels for festivals and they celebrate all Hindu festivals including Diwali and Holi.

    Pandit Basudev Panday performed the rituals for the ‘janmashtami’ pooja, where the idol was decorated for the occasion. Everyone present had a chance to take part in the poojas, from the tiniest child to 75-year-old Nanda Lal. The parents ensure the small ones are brought here so that they can participate in the festivals without fail.

    Being a small community, they go in search of brides and bridegrooms to north India and the marriage celebrations go on for three days.

    Food for the Sindhis is a big affair. “Kadi chawal” and sweet rotis are some of their special dishes with ghee being the main ingredient in many of their delicacies.

    “Thadri”, a festival which is celebrated by them, is one of difference as only food cooked the previous day is served to everyone on that day. “It is a way of giving rest to the god of fire Agni. Hence the fire is not lit for cooking and women also get a day off,” said Priya Chugh.

    These people are diversified in their occupation, some tailors, some in real estate, finance, bankers, business and many others, according to Mahesh Chhabria. They have all contributed to Madurai’s development in their own small way.

    Recently, the ladies joined hands to form the Ladies Chapter of their community, for the purpose of social service. Helping a poor girl with good scores enter engineering college was one of their recent achievements.

    source: / Home> City> Madurai / by Padmini Sivarajah, TNN / August 14th, 2012

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    August 15th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Leaders

    Udhagamandalam (TN) Aug 15 (PTI)

    A huge ceramic mural of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was unveiled at the premises of nearby Wellington Cantonment on the occasion of the 66th Independence Day celebrations.

    Unveiling the mural, Brigadier S S Jadhav, Station Commander, Wellington, paid rich tributes to Manekshaw and described him as one of the country’s greatest generals and military leaders and a true soldier of the Armed forces.

    Jadhav also presented financial assistance to war widows.

    source: / Home> National / by Staff Writer / August 15th, 2012

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