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    Chennai  :

    The first indigenous airconditioned 12-car rake (EMU) designed and manufactured for Mumbai suburban network at the Integral Coach Factory, Perambur, was flagged off on Thursday. The train was flagged off by the general manager Ashok Agarwal in the furnishing division of the factory at 5.30pm.

    He also flagged off a conventional coach – one of the eight that was turned out today – to mark manufacture of 2000th coach by the factory in the financial year 2015-16. ICF manufactured a record 2005 coaches this year.

    An official said, “The airconditioned suburban rake will be moved to Southern Railway’s yard probably on Monday for checks and certification required to attach it to a locomotive for shifting to Mumbai. The rake shows that we are ready to make airconditioned suburban trains which can be on a par with metro rail rakes made by foreign companies.”

    The first rake with two driver motor cars and 2 non-driver motor cars with eight trailers will be put up for trials on Western Railway. Green signal will be given only after observing rake in service for three months. If the trials are successful in Mumbai, production of the remaining nine airconditioned rakes will begin.

    The EMU train set has several features, including a 15-tonne roof-mounted package units for air and a 15-tonne AC will provide cooling in six coaches. A/C will cut off when temperature reaches 23 degrees Celsius and switch on at 25degree centigrade. Fans are also provided.

    The stainless steel body coach has electrically operated automatic sliding doors, air-tight gangways in all trailer coaches, wide and large double-seated glass windows for panoramic view and GPS-based LED display for passenger information and announcement system.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India /News Home> City> Chennai / by U. Tejonmayam / TNN / March 31st, 2016

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    Desks and shelf made from scrap by Suzlon was donated to a primary school in Coimbatore district recently.

    Desks and shelf made from scrap by Suzlon was donated to a primary school in Coimbatore district recently.

    Large quantities of packaging material that goes as scrap has been recycled by Suzlon here and made into desks and shelves and distributed to schools in five villages in the district.

    Recycled

    According to a spokesperson of Suzlon, which has installed 2,000 MW of wind turbines in the State, 1,240 kg of wooden scrap was recycled into 40 desks and 20 shelves.

    Suzlon group has a panel manufacturing unit in Coimbatore district.

    The packaging material used at the panel unit usually goes as scrap after use.

    These have been made into school furniture with resources available in-house and distributed to schools as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity.

    Good response

    The spokesperson said that since the response from the schools was also good, the group plans to make more school furniture using the material.

    It distributed 20 desks and five shelves so far to five elementary schools so that children can sit around the desk and take up learning activities.

    Activities

    Suzlon foundation conducts CSR activities such as health camp, skill training, developing kitchen garden, and cleaning of overhead tanks in select villages in the district.

    “This is the first time that we have tried recycling the scrap material and we plan to do more of if,” the spokesperson said.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / by M. Soundariya Preetha / Coimbatore – March 30th, 2016

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    Veteran playback singer P. Susheela. File photo: Thulasi Kakkat / The Hindu

    Veteran playback singer P. Susheela. File photo: Thulasi Kakkat / The Hindu

    ‘The queen of melodies’ has been officially credited by Guinness Book of Records for singing 17, 695 songs in 12 Indian languages.

    Renowned playback singer P. Susheela Mohan, who has won many awards and earned accolades in a career spanning five decades, has added two more to her awards cabinet.

    She has now been recognised by both the Guinness Book of World Records and Asia Book of Records for singing most number of songs in Indian languages. The usually reticent singer met journalists in Chennai on Tuesday to celebrate her new award.

    While Guinness Book of Records has officially credited her for singing 17, 695 songs (solo, duet and chorus backed songs) in twelve Indian languages, Asia Book of Records has recognised her for singing close to 17, 330 songs.

    Speaking about the awards, P. Susheela reminded everyone present that the adjudicators had only considered songs she had song from 1960s. “Please remember that I started singing from 1951,” she said.

    None of this would have been possible without the work of her fans, who, by setting up psusheela.org, painstakingly catalogued the songs that she has sung over the last few decades and sent it to the adjudicators of the award.

    Reflecting on the recognition, the singer said that she views it as an acknowledgement of her hard work. “There is a lot of hard work that has gone behind this achievement. Today, with so many television channels and newspapers, a talented singer can shine through quickly. But when I was singing, it was very slow and I had work my way up , step by step,” she said.

    Crediting her husband for her success, she said that her husband, a doctor, was a corner stone in her life. “He fell in love with my voice and sacrificed his life so that I have a great career in playback singing,” she said.

    She was candid in her response when asked why she had never considered a career in acting. “I was offered a chance to act by several directors, but I refused saying that I wouldn’t want to act even if I was paid a crore,” she said, adding, “My heart was in music.”

    When asked why she is not singing anymore, the singer said that she would love to sing in movies if someone offered a good song. When she was nudged by journalists to sing her favourite song, she ended the press conference by singing Ennai pada sonnal, enna paada thondrum from Pudhiya Paravai, a hit song of 1964.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Entertainment / by Udhav Naig / Chennai – March 29th, 2016

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    Chennai:

    Chennai-based filmmaker Amshan Kumar’s ‘Yazhpanam Thedchanamoorthy Music Beyond Boundaries, won the National Award under the art/culture documentary category. The filmmaker who has made more than 20 documentaries such as Third Theatre and Subramania Bharati, was also director of the feature film ‘Oruthi’ (2003) which was picked to be showcased in the Indian Panorama.

    He hopes the recognition will enthuse documentary filmmakers in the state. Kumar said, “There is no institutional support from the state government or any corporate bodies when it comes to documentary filmmaking. There is a severe lack of forums to exhibit them.”

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Chennai / TNN / March 30th, 2016

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    K. Karuppiah, Deputy Superintending Epigraphist, at the exhibition on Sunday —Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

    K. Karuppiah, Deputy Superintending Epigraphist, at the exhibition on Sunday —Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

    Permanent museum-cum-exhibition named after Indologist E. Hultzsch

    Lovers of heritage and students of history can now head to Fort St. George and visit a newly-created centre that has impressions of inscriptions from all over India on display.

    Estampages, as these impressions of inscriptions are called, are displayed at the newly-created Eugen Julius Theodor Hultzsch Memorial Museum-cum-Epigraphical Photo Exhibition at the historic fort. The permanent museum-cum-exhibition has been named after E. Hultzsch, a German Indologist and epigraphist, known for his work in deciphering the inscriptions of Ashoka, officials said.

    The museum has been created by the Epigraphy branch of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Southern Zone, as part of its cultural awareness programmes on the occasion of the 159th birth anniversary celebrations of Dr. Hultzsch and also the silver jubilee year (1990-2015) celebrations of ASI, Southern Zone.

    “We have displayed the estampages of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions from across the nation,” K. Karuppiah, Deputy Superintending Epigraphist, ASI, told The Hindu . The inscriptions are from the period between the third century B.C. and second century A.D. “They are in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Sanskrit, and Prakrit. The nature of these inscriptions is donative records and hero worship. The staff of the Epigraphy branch visit villages across India, copy the inscriptions and decipher them. The most important deciphered inscriptions are highlighted in Epigraphia Indica, a quarterly journal of the ASI,” he said.

    Through Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, ASI gets a lot of information about Chera, Chola, and Pandya kings, he added.

    The exhibition will be formally inaugurated at the ASI Office, Clive Building, Fort St. George, on Tuesday.

    It will remain open on all working days and entry is free. For details, contact the ASI on Ph: 25675783

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by T.S.Atul Swaminathan / Chennai – March 29th, 2016

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    Anuradha Balaji at her farm in Thiruvallur district D Sampath Kumar

    Anuradha Balaji at her farm in Thiruvallur district D Sampath Kumar

    Chennai :

    When we talk of women breaking social barriers, we hardly think of them as farmers. But that’s what Anuradha Balaji of Villivakkam has done. She bought a piece of land in neighbouring Tiruvallur district, set up a farm there, and manages it almost single-handedly. She travels an hour every day to the farm at Periyapalayam and supervises the workers.

    “Many people in this locality thought I’m a soft-spoken Brahmin woman who would be scared of problems and soon sell the land. But I chose to fight and asked thorough questions to get the benefits,” Anuradha Balaji tells City Express. She narrates an incident when officials asked for unnecessary documents to provide benefits to farmers. “I realised that being a woman farmer is not easy. But I fought the discrimination with support from my husband and family,” she says.

    Anuradha02CF29mar2016

    Even as she speaks to the reporter, she instructs the farm workers to stop the flow of water. “It’s afternoon; don’t water plants and trees now,” she tells them and adds that her farm (eight acres of land) is an organic farm.

    “We use organic ingredients for manure, including a mix of cow urine, dung and dry leaves,” she says. How did the 43-year-old with a masters degree in library and information science and a career as a librarian in Saudi Arabia take up farming?

    “I worked there for 10 years. But when I got back, the first thing I wanted to do was farming. With my husband’s help, I bought the land near Vadamadurai. My uncle too encouraged me and I finally set up this farm in 2008,” she recalls.

    “Both of us were interested in organic farming for several years. My wife decided to start doing what we always wished to. I support her financially,” says Balaji, adding that he might be able to help her even more when he returns from Saudi Arabia, where he now works.

    But Anuradha doesn’t depend on her husband alone. She works in such a way that the farm sustains itself. She does inter-crop cultivation, so if one crop fails, the other crop would her make ends meet. She also makes value-added products from farm produce.

    “If the market for gooseberries is poor, we make candy and pickle. We also grow rice and other grains and vegetables. We also plan to grow herbal plants for medicinal use. Right now, we are laying the foundation. My failures have taught me how to manage a farm. Without my family’s support, I wouldn’t be able to do what I had always dreamed of,” she smiles.

    Shankar, a chemical engineer who quit his job to assist her, explains, “We want to do integrated farming. We plan to bring in native cows also, which will help in farming and (provide) manure. Man, land and animals are interconnected and we should preserve them.”

    Couple share the same passion

    “Both of us were interested in organic farming for several years. My wife decided to start doing what we always wished to. I support her financially,” says Balaji, adding that he might be able to help her even more when he returns from Saudi Arabia, where he now works.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Sremathi M / March 29th, 2016

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    The crew with Superstar Rajinikanth / Special Arrangement / The Hindu

    The crew with Superstar Rajinikanth / Special Arrangement / The Hindu

    Sudhir Srinivasan talks to writer-producer Dhananjayan about his documentary on veteran screenwriter and producer, Panchu Arunachalam

    The censor board wasn’t pleased when they learned they had to certify A Creator with Midas Touch, writer-producer Dhananjayan’s documentary on Panchu Arunachalam. For one, the screening was scheduled on New Year’s eve. Two, it was a documentary, over two hours long. But according to Dhananjayan, when the film ended at 10:30 that night, the officials were unanimous in expressing that they couldn’t have ended 2015 in a better way. “It turns out even they were unaware of the extent of Panchu’s contribution to Tamil cinema.”

    Panchu Arunachalam has written close to 100 films, including Murattu Kaalai, Sakalakala Vallavanand Apoorva Sagodharargal, “of which at least 70 turned out to be profitable.” A nephew of celebrated lyricist Kannadasan, he is also known for introducing Ilaiyaraaja, and taking Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth to the masses. “Balachander may have introduced me, but Panchu made me an artist,” says Rajinikanth. Dhananjayan’s original plan was to make a documentary about Balachander, but it didn’t happen “due to financial reasons”. He was then approached by two financiers to make a documentary about Panchu, an opportunity he jumped at. “India recognises Salim-Javed’s contribution to cinema, but not Panchu’s, even though he has written at least twice the number of films they did.”

    Dhananjayan’s film has many film personalities—Rajinikanth, S. P. Muthuraman, Bharathiraja, Mahendran—talking about their experiences with the veteran scriptwriter. Dhananjayan is disheartened that Kamal Haasan couldn’t be convinced to feature in the documentary. “I don’t want to speculate on his reasons for deciding not to participate. We were also this close to getting M. S. Viswanathan and K. S. Gopalakrishnan, but the veterans sadly passed away before we could fix up a meeting.”

    Dhananjeyan with Legendary Paanchu

    Dhananjeyan with Legendary Paanchu

    Made at a budget of Rs. 15 lakh, the documentary traces Panchu’s childhood at Karaikudi, his apprenticeship under uncle Kannadasan, and his rise in Tamil cinema. The film ends on a tragic note, when it notes that the Panchu family has suffered many losses during the last two decades. “There’s a lesson to be learnt here. If your trust is misplaced, you will end up losing everything,” says Dhananjayan. In the case of Panchu, an independent house has now been reduced to a two-bedroom apartment. “His family has no fancy car, even though he was instrumental in many actors becoming crorepatis. We have plenty of footage that explains how Panchu trusted certain actors and directors in vain. But I wasn’t sure if we needed to stir trouble, and so ended up not using it.”

    After some coaxing, Dhananjayan reveals that chief among the films that caused severe losses to the Panchu family is Vasanth’s Poovellam Kettuppar. “The movie overshot its budget by at least four-five times. But Panchu wouldn’t stop the project midway. ‘What would happen to Sivakumar’s son? What would happen to Ilaiyaraaja’s son?’ he’d ask. He cared about people far too much to be a good businessman.” Dhananjayan, of course, admits that this information is anecdotal, and that the directors could well have their own version of these stories. “That’s why I thought it best not to retain these bits in the film.”

    It wasn’t always so bleak for Panchu. His Veera was the first Tamil film to collect Rs. 1 crore in the NSC area (North Arcot, South Arcot and Chengalpattu). Rajini wanted to remake his dear friend Mohan Babu’s Telugu film, Allari Mogudu. But Suresh Krissna didn’t think the Telugu film was even half decent. “Panchu redeemed the script. He asked Suresh Krissna for a couple of days, and gave him a modified script he couldn’t refuse. He could see the good in the bad… even in scripts.”

    Our Team with Shiva Kumar

    Our Team with Shiva Kumar

    Dhananjayan disagrees that Panchu Arunachalam is mainly known for his work in commercial films likeVeera. “What about films like Bhuvana Oru Kelvi Kuri, Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai, Engeyo Ketta Kural and Mayangukiral Oru Maadhu? He was capable of writing such sensible stories too.” But Panchu was ever the producer’s writer. “If they insisted that he change parts of his story, he would happily oblige. He was all for the producers making a profit.” Dhananjayan calls Panchu a rare variety of writer: one without ego. “After he wrote Niram Maaratha Pookkal, Bharathiraja approached his close friend Bhagyaraj for advice. The latter rewrote the screenplay. Another writer would have been offended, but when Panchu learned of this, he read Bhagyaraj’s version and recommended that it be made into a film.”

    Dhananjayan, who plans to make a feature film next year, intends to submit this documentary for the National Awards. “I hope that it will get Panchu some much-needed recognition.” A few television channels are already vying for the documentary’s rights, and you can see why. “I have sixteen hours of footage, with lots of controversial anecdotes.” The television channels are eager to air the portions that he has removed from his documentary. But Dhananjayan doesn’t mind. “Whatever it takes for people to recognise the immeasurable contributions Panchu has made to Tamil cinema.”

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> Cinema / by Sudhir Srinivasan / March 26th, 2016

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    March 28th, 2016adminArts, Culture & Entertainment
    Historian K R A Narasiah giving the first copy of Joe D’Cruz’s (third from left) novel to Agriculture Department Commissioner M Rajendran, as critic Chitra Balasubramanian looks on | d sampathkumar

    Historian K R A Narasiah giving the first copy of Joe D’Cruz’s (third from left) novel to Agriculture Department Commissioner M Rajendran, as critic Chitra Balasubramanian looks on | d sampathkumar

    Chennai :

    Sahitya Akademi-winning Tamil writer, R N Joe D’Cruz on Saturday said his third and latest novel, Asthinapuram based on the shipping and logistics industry would be his last.

    The announcement has come nine months after the writer was taken to court over his alleged negative portrayal of fishermen and Christianity in his second novel, Korkai, which won him the Sahitya Akademi award in 2013.

    The writer will, however, continue writing essays and articles in magazines, he said at the launch of Asthinapuram. “I do not see myself as a writer to feel the necessity not to cease writing. I am a common man who shared my experiences in life in the form of novels. I don’t have much to share anymore,” D’Cruz told Express on his decision.

    Asthinapuram attempts to throw light on the functioning of the shipping and logistics sector, in which he has first-hand experience, he said. “The public have been oblivious to the life inside harbours and ports. I have tried to explore it. My novel is a small drop in the mighty ocean that the field is,” he added.

    Dismissing the controversies surrounding his two earlier works, the writer said that they have not affected him much. “There is a personal agenda behind all my novels, I agree,” he said even while denying that his latest work is a political novel, as pointed out by more than one speakers in the event.

    “I leave that to the readers’ perception, but I would say it is a work of literature,” he said. A Facebook post on April 2014 in support of the then PM candidate Narendra Modi stalled the English translation of his first novel, Aazhi Soozh Ulahu as the Delhi-based publishing house, Navayana, cancelled the agreement.

    D’Cruz, who also faced backlash from a section of writers and critics over his pro-Modi stance before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, started his speech at Asthinapuram’s launch by saying he likened his position to that of a student awaiting exam results, similar to what Modi had said ahead of this year’s fiscal budget.

    Senior historian K R A Narasiah released the first copy of the novel as senior IAS officer M Natarajan received it.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Srikkanth Dhasarathy  / March 27th, 2016

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    Chennai:

    Celebrating women icons, Raindropss conducted its 4th annual women achiever awards on Saturday at a ceremony presided over by its brand ambassador and music composer AR Raihanah.

    Raindropss is a youth-based social organization.

    It gave away awards to project director of Agni and ‘Missile Woman of India’ Dr Tessy Thomas, first Indian woman fire officer Meenakshi Vijayakumar, musician Sudha Ranganathan, acid attack fighter and model Laxmi Agarwal and film director Sudha Kongara. tnn

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Chennai / TNN / March 28th, 2016

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    Social activist Anna Hazare and actor Suriya at the launch of Noyyalai Nokki , an initiative to restore the Noyyal, in Coimbatore on Saturday.— Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

    Social activist Anna Hazare and actor Suriya at the launch of Noyyalai Nokki , an initiative to restore the Noyyal, in Coimbatore on Saturday.— Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

    It was a festive occasion at Kooduthurai (Alandurai) near the foothills of the Western Ghats, here on Saturday evening.

    Hundreds gathered for the launch of Noyyalai Nokki , a people’s initiative to restore the 160-km long river.

    The river originates in the Western Ghats and passes through Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, and Karur districts to join the Cauvery at Noyyal village.

    “I want to come after two years to see the Noyyal restored,” said social activist Anna Hazare at the launch function. It is important to focus on conservation of land and water resources for development, he said.

    Earlier, he told reporters that linking of rivers was good if it was done scientifically. It was important to plan water management, conserve natural resources, take up rainwater harvesting and restore rivers.

    Actor Suriya, who participated at the inaugural of Noyyalai Nokki , said the confidence of the people gathered in restoring the river gave hope for restoration of more rivers across the State. It was necessary to take up such projects and conserve water bodies for the benefit of the future generations.

    According to Vanitha Mohan, Managing Trustee of Siruthuli, it was a joint project by the public to restore the river.

    C.R. Swaminathan, chairman of Noyyal River Restoration Federation, said the project would be implemented on divide-distribute-develop model by forming committees for every 500 metres of the river. Volunteers, educational institutions, non-governmental organisations and the government will be involved. To begin with, a survey of the river would be taken up and an estimate of the project would be prepared. Steps would be taken to install sewage treatment plants to prevent waste water from entering the river, said S.V. Balasubramaniam, chairman of Siruthuli.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / by Special Correspondent / Coimbatore f- March 27th, 2016

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