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    Trichy :

    Most of the elected women representatives in local bodies are usually prevented from acting on their own by their male family members. Though the officials have issued warning against such practice, it still persists in many parts of Trichy and neighbouring districts. Nevertheless, some of the women break such barriers and act on their own. A group of elected women representatives from six districts of Dharmapuri, Tirupur, Madurai, Cuddalore, Erode and Pudukkottai converged at an event in Trichy on Thursday to share their successful stride in public life. Surprisingly, no woman representative from Trichy turned up for the meet. The women expressed satisfaction in serving the people on their own by not depending on their male family members.

    T Pasupathi, the president of Pullaneri village panchayat in Madurai district told TOI, “The encouragement from my family was a key to contest in election and to succeed. But I never depend on my family members to execute my work as a president. I want the women to shine in their life equal to men. In my career as a president, I stopped four child marriages in our area. Further, my service for the welfare of the women would continue.”

    The aim of Dhanuskodi Saivarasu, the president of Mangathevanpatti village panchayat in Pudukkottai district is to strive hard towards getting 50% reservation for women. She said, “After creating awareness, most of the elected women representatives are prevented by husbands, children and fathers. In my case, my husband is helpful and does not interfere in my work.”

    The story of C Nagalakshmi is an example for many women how to strive hard in life without support from others. Nagalakshami, a deserted woman, having two children won the election for ward member in Uppiliyakudi village panchayat. She said, “Though my husband separated from me, I hope that I would succeed in my life. With support from our people, I won the election. Despite many hurdles from men, I still want to serve for the people.”

    Even though some of the women are brave enough to struggle in public life, there are many cases in Trichy where the male family members of the elected local body women representatives take care of the official duties of the women. District collector Jayashree Muralidharan last year issued a circular to all local bodies warning against the practice. Nevertheless, it continues in Trichy, told an official of the panchayat department in Trichy.

    It can be mentioned in the context that the Trichy district administration cancelled the cheque signing power of 13 village panchayat presidents under Section 203 of  Tamil Nadu  Panchayat Act 1994 on charges of alleged irregularities.

    Surprisingly, most of the ‘punished’ presidents in Trichy are women. The officials say that the irregularities were done by their husbands or other members of their family.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Madurai / by R. Gokul, TNN / April 19th, 2013

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    The district administration has taken measures to provide electricity and water connection to the tribal villagers in Melvalasai, Kezhilvasai and Akkarapatti.

    The administration had also directed the village panchayat to constitute the Forest Rights Committee, to speed up the process of making these basic amenities available to the villagers. District Collector Dr Vijay Pingale, who visited the tribal villages on Wednesday, by walking nearly 8 kms on the steep Kalvaranyan hills, told Express,“We are taking steps to provide electricity to the tribal villages within a month. Power now is available in Kodaram, two-kms from the villages, in Villupuram district.”

    After electricity connections are provided, the villagers would get drinking water too. “We will also make efforts to repair the solar lighting facility, which had not been functioning for the last two years,” he said. Further, Pingale said, “We are also planning to bring the tribals to the plains, if they are interested in accepting the house pattas and agriculture lands on the foothills.”

    The village panchayat has been directed to form the Forest Rights Committee, comprising two-thirds of women, to avail the basic amenities.

    “The committee is entitled to pass a resolution to avail 13 basic needs such as establishing ration shops, formation of roads, health centres and creating water sources,”  District Forest Officer, Tiruvannamalai (South), V Naganathan said.

    “We have asked the tribals to pass a resolution seeking drinking water and electricity facilities after forming the Committee. It will be taken into consideration and suitable action will be taken to fulfil their demands,” the Collector added.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by J. Shanmugha Sundaram / ENS – Tiruvannamalai / April 19th, 2013

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    Chocolate lovers at the newly-opened museum in Ooty. / -  DC

    Chocolate lovers at the newly-opened museum in Ooty. / – DC


    If it is A.R. Rahman for music, then it is Rahman brothers in the Nilgiris hills for home-made chocolates. The choco-brothers, well-known in the home-made chocoloate industry, have opened a new chapter in the annals of home-made chocolates as they have set up their chocolate museum — M&N Chocolate Museum — on Mysore Road, near HPF factory.

    The brothers claim it’s a first-of-its-kind in the country and it gives an insight into the history of chocolate-making, especially the home-made chocolate.

    The museum, with its vintage architecture and interiors that remind one of British country architecture, also boasts of models of horse carts, boat, idols, chocolate fountain, ancient chocolate making implements, cocoa seeds and the photographs of three Swiss men who were pioneers in home-made chocolate-making, along with signages on the health benefits of chocolates, besides a counter to house varieties of home-made chocolates.

    Fazloor, the younger of the duo, who completed a course on chocolate-making at Ecolechocolate Institute in Canada and who conducted quite a few innovative shows on home-made chocolates here in the past, said home-made chocolates are a roaring confectionery industry now as people from all walks of life like them.

    “The cool weather profile in Ooty gives a special flavour and taste to the home-made chocolates. We make a little more than 100 varieties of home-made chocolates using nuts, resins, dry fruits and even some herbs. Home-made chocolates need special touch of the hands to bring out the desired taste.

    Of course, Ooty is famed for its nature, flowers, vegetables, spices and fruits. Home-made chocolates of Ooty, which carved a name for themselves, are extra-natural attraction in the field of confectionery with a touch of delicacy. That is why they easily attract the locals and tourists,” he added.

    His brother Abdul, a mechanical engineer by profession who turned a chocolatier with some inspiration and help from his brother, said the chocolate museum is an attempt to give the much-needed insight into the history of chocolate-making which dates back to the Mayan era.

    The Mayans were known to be the first users of cocoa. Cocoa is the basic ingredient in chocolates and in these modern times, home-made chocolate-making has leavened by vari-
    ous innovations.

    source: / Deccan Chronicle / Home> News> Current Affairs / by B. Ravichandran, DC / April 27th, 2013

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    PIECES FROM THE PAST: At the sandhai. Photos: M. Periasamy / The Hindu

    PIECES FROM THE PAST: At the sandhai. Photos: M. Periasamy / The Hindu

    Every Sunday for nine years now, Shahul Ameen arrives at 8 a.m. on N.H. Road with cardboard boxes too full to tape shut. He spreads a tarpaulin sheet by the pavement outside a shuttered shop, hoists two poles on the road, throws another tarpaulin sheet over them and settles down in this makeshift shanty to unpack his wares.

    Out come worn DVD players, Japanese headphones, mobile phone covers, chargers, ancient tape recorders, rusted sound mixers, dismantled mixies and second-hand CDs. Along the length of N.H. Road, others like Shahul slowly begin setting up the Sunday-only sandhai of second-hand electrical and electronics goods. With his products now neatly ordered and his morning chai downed, Shahul plonks cross-legged on a cane charpai, almost to say, “Let the haggling begin.”

    Pic: M. Periasamy / The Hindu

    Pic: M. Periasamy / The Hindu

    “1,500!” says Babu. “800,” says the customer. “1,300!” snaps Babu. “1,000,” begs the customer. They meet at Rs. 1,100 and the customer walks off with a massive set of boombox speakers, its cloth covering bearing tell-tale holes. “People come here from all over Coimbatore every Sunday because there are at least 20 stalls to choose almost anything electronic from,” says Babu, who’s been a part of the sandhai for five years.

    While most other sellers stay on till 8 p.m. when the market officially closes, Babu packs up once he’s made a decent sale. Babu spends his week going house to house in colonies across Coimbatore buying old electronic goods by weight. “Sometimes we buy from kabadi-wallas as well,” he says. Shahul finds his wares through similar methods but frequents exchange melas across the city and outside as well.

    Unlike these two, Babu, owner of an electronics service unit just off N.H. Road sells at the sandhai the leftovers from his centre. “I have products which are too old to be fixed, so I bring them here and mechanics and other electricians buy them for the spare parts,” he says. Another hot product is mobile phones and their accessories, both new and second-hand. “Many sellers have small cellphone outlets elsewhere. When they accumulate models which are no longer manufactured or sold by mobile brands, they bring them here and sell it for half-price without guarantee cards,” explains Shahul. “They get rid of their stock and we get mobiles that work,” says Shashidharan, a regular customer at the sandhai for the last five years.

    A long shot

    It’s a hit-and-miss affair with products here, adds Shashidharan. He once bought a second-hand remote that claimed to work on any television set but didn’t do so. His spoil for today is a clock backlit by fluorescent lights shining through water with floating plastic fish in it. Through the years he’s frequented the sandhai, Shashidharan says he’s seen it expand to include stalls that sell more than just electronics. Some electronic stalls now stock new film DVDs and music CDs; others have cardboard boxes full of old cassettes with Tamil songs and well-used VCD tapes. Those like Pandian have set up stalls selling rubber chappals for Rs. 20, feeding off the sandhai’s constant crowd. “Through the week we sell at Race Course and we bring the excess here on Sundays,” he says. He is accompanied by a chat-walla, mosambi-juice seller and others peddling clothes.

    The sandhai gets most of its footfall thanks to the buses that stop on N.H. Road and make their way to the heart of Town Hall. “Each of us gets 90 to 100 customers and altogether at least a 1,000 people come through each Sunday,” says Shahul.

    Each stall usually has a huge crowd milling around it, few among them buying though, most just looking to replicate the bargains others make. Eavesdrop on a few conversations and you’ll hear a fair smattering of Hindi, for many migrant labourers from North India come to the sandhai for second-hand products that could make their short stay here more comfortable. Besides those buying, there are those looking to sell old goods too. As we speak, a man offers Shahul a walkman from the 90s. “Not interested,” says Shahul pointing to the walkmans he’s already got to sell. As others stand in the unforgiving heat, peering over Shahul’s wares, he gets himself a lime juice to last him through the second half of this sandhai Sunday.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / by Esther Elias / Coimbatore, April 30th, 2013

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    Judo Rathnam with actor Rajinikanth in a Tamil film. / DC

    Judo Rathnam with actor Rajinikanth in a Tamil film. / DC


    Stunt master Judo Rath­nam of Gudiyattam, who performed stunts for more than 1,500 films, has now found time to pen his biography in Tamil — Thama­raikulam Mudhal Thalain­agaram Varai which is set  be released on May 3 in Chennai.

    “Thamaraikulam was my first film in which I appeared in a small role, and Thalainagaram was my last film, though I am working for two or three films now. Modern Thea­tres Sundaram gave me the chance to become stunt master in Vallavan Oru­van, Vallavanukku Va­ll­a­van and many other films produced in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. I wanted to write my memoirs and it took two years to share them with the public,” said K.K. Rathnam, who was given the title ‘Judo’ by Modern Theatres owner T.R. Sundaram.

    Rathnam has done 49 films with Rajini, 16 with Kamal Hassan, 69 with Kannada Rajkumar, 4 with Amitabh Bachchan, 16 with NTR and had worked in a couple of English films. But, he laments, he didn’t get to work with MGR.

    “Writer Manohar has written dramatically the instances in my life. As I found the work tedious, I wanted to give up the idea of writing half-way, but my wife R. Govindammal (73) forced me to complete the book.”

    His wife Govindammal interrupts, “My husband is very shy. I used to ask him to act in films, but he was adamant about stunt direction.” Rathnam (84) is still agile because he does yoga every day. He has eight, well-settled children.

    source: / Deccan Chronicle / Home> News> Current Affairs / by N. Thygarajan , DC / April 27th, 2013

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    April 30th, 2013adminEducation, Nature, Science & Technologies

    Coimbatore :

    Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) on Friday entered into a MOU with Bio Control Research Lab (BCRL), the R and D division of Pest Control of India, for a cooperative work in the field of biological control of crop pests and diseases.

    BCRL, as part of this Public-priavate Partnership, will help in accomodating TNAU UG students for internships and PG Students to do part aof their research in their lab on topics like Pheromone technology and urban pest management in both education and research, a university release said here.

    source: / The Times of India /  Home> Education /  by  PTI / April 27th, 2013

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    April 29th, 2013adminEducation, World Opinion

    Keelakarai :

    The US is helping India realise one of its goals of establishing 100 community colleges under a new area of collaboration, Consul  General of US Consulate, Chennai, Jennifer Mcintyre , said today.

    Participating at the Founders’ Day celebrations of the  Mohamed Sathak  College of Engineering   here, she said the US also supports India’s launch of a high education web portal to disseminate information on education collaboration and exchanges.

    (US helping India to set up…)

    (US helping India to set up…)

    She said she expects the number of college and university representatives visiting India to increase manifold in future.

    The US representatives were seeking to increase international student enrolment to prepare their graduates for better leadership in the new global economy.

    Mcintyre said about a year ago eight grants were awarded for joint studies in the fields of Energy, sustainable community development, environment , education and public health, of which three were given to South Indian institutions.

    She also said India has the largest number of Fulbright scholar exchange Programmes worldwide with more than 17,000 fellowships and other grants awarded to Indians and Americans.

    “The goal of preparing our youth to meet the challenges of the 21st Century is the one that the US and India share,” she said.

    Mcintyre suggested that people in faraway areas like Kilakarai contact USIEF ( United States India Educational Foundation )  through the consul website to get information on education opportunities in the United States.

    source: / The Economic Times / Home> News> News By Industry> Services / April 03rd, 2013

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    Madurai :

    The Madurai District Legal Services Authority (MDLSA) has set up legal-aid clinics (LACs) at the offices of the top civil and police functionaries in the district. They will function three days in a week at the collectorate and in the offices of commissioner of police (CoP) and the superintendent of police (SP).

    Madurai district judge B Gokuldass inaugurated the LACs at the collectorate and the police commissionerate on Wednesday. Chief judicial magistrate S Saravanan Perumal unveiled the clinic  at the SP office in the city. Collector Anshul Misra, commissioner of police S Sanjay Mathur, SP T Jayachandran  and secretary of MDLSA sub-judge Jacintha Martin were present.

    MDLSA has been establishing LACs at several places in the district to provide basic legal services to the people. They have come up in Madurai, Vadipatty, Usilampatti, Thirumangalam and Melur taluks where people face geographical, social and other barriers for accessing legal services.

    The clinic at the district collectorate will function on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, while the clinics at the offices of city police commissioner and SP will function on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Each clinic will work with one legal-aid counsel who will be assisted by a para-legal volunteer trained by the MDLSA, said the sub-judge Jacintha.

    With the three new LACs, the Madurai city now has 14 LACs, said the sub-judge. Besides, four more clinics will be set up in this weekend, said the sub-judge.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Madurai / TNN / April 04th, 2013

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    April 28th, 2013adminEducation
    Chugging along: A view of Tambaram railway station. / Photo: M Srinath / The Hindu

    Chugging along: A view of Tambaram railway station. / Photo: M Srinath / The Hindu

    The tide turned for Tambaram in 1931 when it got a railway station. Ever since, it has sped down the tracks of development on its way to becoming a bustling mini metropolis, writes K. Manikandan

    The Tambaram railway station occupies a pre-eminent place on the suburban electric train map of Chennai. Considering the physical size of the city’s suburban train services and its passenger volumes, this is no mean thing. The railway station was born in 1931, when the operation of electric train services from Chennai Beach got underway. With the advent of the station, Tambaram began to shed its rural character. It became the commercial nerve centre for several dozen villages, near and far. It was chosen as the new place for the Madras Christian College, which was being shifted out of George Town. And yes, the addition of Indian Air Force Station further enhanced Tambaram’s growing significance.

    Soon, the five villages of Tambaram, Selaiyur, Irumbuliyur, Kadaperi and Pulikuradu were merged to create Tambaram Municipality. It was under these circumstances Tambaram became the transport hub: probably the biggest outside Chennai’s city limits.

    The steadily rising importance of the station seemed to reflect the growth of Tambaram.

    For generations, the metre gauge trains connected people to different parts of the city until they were replaced by broad gauge trains in 1998-99. The metre gauge trains were initially operated on a rake of 6 coaches before Southern Railway added 3 coaches to cater to the increasing number of passengers.

    Prior to gauge conversion, there were only four platforms, against the present 9. Long time residents of Tambaram will still recall the days when steam engines were in operation, even until the late 1980’s, to shunt goods wagons and even the rakes of passenger trains. A huge turn table, which has now vanished, would be the centre of attraction for all the waiting passengers, those travelling on the narrow foot over bridge and wonder struck school children. Hauling of coal on the steam engines and their subsequent cooling by a massive shower were a delight for children.

    Nearly 250 suburban services and about 40 long distance trains operate through Tambaram everyday, transporting several lakh people making it the busiest as well as the highest revenue-earning station in the suburban sector, next only to Moore Market Complex (suburban).

    The turn tables have gone along with the steam engines, the manual changing of lines through the railroad switch lever have been replaced by sophisticated signalling systems, the elegant metre gauge rakes have given way to 12-coach broad gauge rakes, yet Tambaram has managed to retain the elegance and charm of its past.

    There are still plenty of problems relating to hygiene and sanitation, disposal of waste generated in the platforms, issues related to neatness in the concourse and waiting areas. But greater and brighter days lie ahead, as Tambaram is all set to become a coaching hub for new long distance trains for southern districts of Tamil Nadu.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by K. Manikandan / April 03rd, 2013

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    April 28th, 2013adminBusiness & Economy

    Chennai :

    As part of its efforts to meet the growing demand for dwelling units in urban areas, the Tamil Nadu government on Thursday announced a satellite township on the outskirts of Madurai at a cost of Rs 120 crore and proposed to build 4,454 houses in several other districts.

    Making a suo motu statement in the assembly, chief minister J Jayalalithaa  said the township would be created some 15 kms away from Madurai along Madurai-Tirunelveli highway near the airport.

    The township would be created over 586.86 acre presently owned by Tamil Nadu Housing Board in Thoppur-Uchappatti, she said.

    The township would have 19,500 plots to be developed at a cost of Rs 120 crore with basic amenities like drinking water, roads, drainage system, street light, rain water harvesting facilities and parks.

    Of this, 14,300, 2,500, 750 and 1,950 plots would be alloted to low, middle, high income groups and economically weaker sections respectively, she said.

    The township would be complete with schools, commercial complexes, police station, post office, primary health centre, fire station and upgraded industrial houses funded by Tamil Nadu Housing Board, she added.

    The chief minister also announced that 1,500 flats would be built at Sholinganallur here, using ‘pre fab technology’ at a cost of Rs 612 crore.

    The 10-storeyed building would have separate sections for low, middle and higher income groups.

    “With the using of this new technology (pre fab technology) being followed in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, the construction time frame be reduced up to 25 per cent and expenditure between 10 and 15 per cent,” she added.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Chennai / by PTI / April 04th, 2013

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