Saturday, April 23, 2011

Most complaints under RTE Act relate to dirty toilets

Most complaints under RTE Act relate to dirty toilets


NEW DELHI, April 22, 2011

In addition to instances of gross violation of the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, like fee/fund collection and corporal punishment, a large number of complaints lodged with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) pertain to non-functional, dirty toilets.

Over 206 of the 800 complaints filed with the NCPCR at a 'jan sunwai' (public hearing) held here were about such toilets, prompting the five-member jury to direct the administration to submit a report on the status of toilets in all schools at the earliest.

Besides issuing case-specific directions, the Commission also issued a set of general recommendations to the State on developing policies for safety and health in schools.

The jury comprised NCPCR chairperson Shanta Sinha, National Advisory Council member Farah Naqvi, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti president Vinod Raina, NCPCR member Yogesh Dube and national co-ordinator, RTE Division, NCPCR, Kiran Bhatty.

The jury heard complaints on issues relating to the negligence of school authorities, leading to corporal punishment, collection of fees/funds, denial of admissions/scholarships, and the poor quality of education, classroom transactions, infrastructure and mid-day meal.

Community response

The jury said it was overwhelmed by the community's response and that it was heartening to see 1,400 people sit through the entire day and come forth to depose before the jury.

Shocking injury

In a particularly shocking case, a boy was found to have suffered a permanent hand injury during an unsupervised class hour.

Delay in taking him to hospital and also refusal by the Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, according to the victim's family, further aggravated the injury.

The panel was taken aback by the "insensitive" remarks made by the school's vice-principal, as well as his general disregard to the seriousness of the matter.

The jury recommended that there be a detailed investigation by the Commission and that the school maintain a record of such incidents.

Zero tolerance

After hearing a number of cases of children having been asked to sweep, clean and lift construction material, the jury said there would be zero tolerance towards corporal punishment and discrimination and said strict action would be taken in each case.


Dhoni ranked higher than Obama in Time list

Dhoni ranked higher than Obama in Time list

NEW YORK, April 22, 2011


Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who inspired the country to its first World Cup title in 28 years, found himself ranked above global football icon Lionel Messi and U.S. President Barack Obama in the Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world for the year 2010.

M.S. Dhoni


Dhoni, ranked 52nd in the chart, was the only Indian sportsperson to make the list which also included four of his compatriots in "Titan of Industry" Mukesh Ambani (61), "Brain Mapper" V.S. Ramachandran (79), "Philanthropist" Azim Premji (88) and "Change Agent" Aruna Roy (89).

He found himself way above Messi who was just below Obama at the 87th spot in a list topped by Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who became the "Spokesman for a Revolution" in Egypt.

It was under him that the Indian cricket team won the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship in 2007.

The magazine described him as "captain fantastic."

"Dhoni is now universally acknowledged as India's best captain ever. He's also its most likable, exuding both cool confidence and down-to-earth humility.

"As astonishing as Dhoni's talent is his background. Indian success stories are usually associated with pedigree, connections and power. Dhoni, from a small-town family of modest means, had none of these, but he's shown India that you can make it with only one thing: excellence," read the accompanying profile penned by acclaimed author Chetan Bhagat.

"Dhoni doesn't just lead a cricket team; he's also India's captain of hope. And he didn't just win India the World Cup; he also taught India how to win."

Only the second

The highest-ranked Indian in the latest Time list, he is only the second Indian sportsman after Sachin Tendulkar to make it there.

The other global celebrities included are U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is incidentally ranked higher than Obama at 43rd, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (6), and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (9).

Moment of joy: Munda

A report from Ranchi said Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda hailed Dhoni's inclusion in the list as a moment of joy.

"Congratulations to Dhoni. We are happy to see his name in the Time magazine's list. The cricketer continues to make Jharkhand and the country proud with his performance," Mr. Munda said, in the presence of JMM chief Shibu Soren and two Deputy Chief Ministers Sudesh Mahto and Hemant Soren.


"We feel elated to find his name in the famous list. We discussed how Dhoni must be even happier to be bracketed with football star Messi because he has been a football lover too," said the former Ranji cricketer, Adil Hussein, under whom Dhoni had played for Central Coalfields Limited in tournaments like Sheesh Mahal trophy.

"Some of us old teammates recalled the early playing days with him and are happy to see him becoming a sports ambassador for our country," Hussein said.

Chanchal Bhattacharya, who is among the three former coaches of Dhoni during his formative years, said, "Earlier, people referred to Ranchi as a town with two mental hospitals. But now that perception has changed with Dhoni making Ranchi popular with his game."

"And his name in Time magazine is the ultimate recognition of his contribution in making small towns popular," he added.


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Friday, April 22, 2011

Pupils cleaning School Toilets: HC ordered to probe

கழிவறைகளை சுத்தம் செய்யும் மாணவர்கள்: விசாரணை நடத்த சென்னை ஐகோர்ட் உத்தரவு

பதிவு செய்த நாள் : ஏப்ரல் 21, 2011, 23:03 IST

சென்னை: பள்ளிகளில் கழிவறைகளை சுத்தம் செய்வது, ஆசிரியர்களின் சாப்பாட்டு தட்டுகளை கழுவுவது போன்ற செயல்களில் மாணவர்கள் ஈடுபடுத்தப்படுவது குறித்து விசாரணை நடத்த சென்னை ஐகோர்ட் உத்தரவிட்டுள்ளது.

திருவண்ணாமலை மாவட்டம் ஆரணி தாலுகாவில் உள்ள விள்ளை கிராமத்தைச் சேர்ந்த தனசேகரன் என்பவர் தாக்கல் செய்த மனுவை, தலைமை நீதிபதி இக்பால், நீதிபதி சிவஞானம் அடங்கிய, "முதல் பெஞ்ச்' விசாரித்தது. மனுதாரர் சார்பில் வக்கீல் அமர்தீப், அரசு சார்பில் அரசு பிளீடர் ராஜா கலிபுல்லா, அரசு வக்கீல் சிநேகா ஆஜராகினர். "முதல் பெஞ்ச்' பிறப்பித்த உத்தரவு:பள்ளிகளில் படிக்கும் மாணவர்களை பல்வேறு விதமாக, வேலைகளை வாங்குவதாக மனுதாரர் குற்றம் சாட்டியுள்ளார். கழிவறைகளை சுத்தம் செய்வது, ஆசிரியர்களின் சாப்பாட்டு தட்டுகளை கழுவுவது, வாகனங்களை துடைப்பது, தின்பண்டங்கள் வாங்கி வருவது என, பல்வேறு செயல்களில் பள்ளி மாணவர்களை ஈடுபடுத்துவதாக குற்றச்சாட்டுகள் கூறப்பட்டுள்ளன. இப்பணிகளை செய்யாத மாணவர்களை அடிப்பதாகவும் கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது.இந்த குற்றச்சாட்டுக்கள் தொடர்பாக அதிகாரிகளுக்கு மனுதாரர் மனு அனுப்பியுள்ளார். இதுகுறித்து விரிவான விசாரணை நடத்தப்பட்டு, தவறு செய்தவர்கள் மீது துறை நடவடிக்கை எடுக்க உத்தரவிடப்பட்டிருப்பதாக, திருவண்ணாமலையில் உள்ள மாவட்ட தொடக்கக் கல்வி அதிகாரி பதிலளித்துள்ளார்.இப்பிரச்னை மிகவும் சீரியசானது. 

இந்த விஷயத்தில் முழு விசாரணை நடத்த தொடக்கக் கல்வி இயக்குனருக்கு உத்தரவிடப்படுகிறது. இத்தகைய நடவடிக்கைகளில் ஈடுபடாமல் இருக்க தகுந்த உத்தரவுகளை, வழிமுறைகளை தொடக்கக் கல்வி இயக்குனர் பிறப்பிக்க வேண்டும். மூன்று மாதங்களுக்குள் இந்த நடவடிக்கையை முடிக்க வேண்டும்.இவ்வாறு, "முதல் பெஞ்ச்' உத்தரவிட்டுள்ளது.ஆரணி தாலுகா விள்ளை கிராமத்தைச் சேர்ந்த தனசேகரன் தாக்கல் செய்த மனுவில், "விள்ளை கிராமத்தில் பஞ்சாயத்து ஒன்றிய நடுநிலைப் பள்ளி உள்ளது. 

இங்கு, 161 மாணவர்கள் படிக்கின்றனர். ஆறு ஆசிரியர்கள் உள்ளனர். கழிவறைகளை சுத்தம் செய்வது, ஆசிரியர்களின் சாப்பாட்டு தட்டு கழுவுவது என மாணவர்களை பல்வேறு செயல்களில் ஈடுபடுத்துகின்றனர். தமிழகத்தில் உள்ள பள்ளிகளில் ஆசிரியர்களால் மாணவர்களுக்கு ஏற்படும் இன்னல்களை தடுக்க, அரசு திட்டம் வகுக்க உத்தரவிட வேண்டும். மாவட்ட அளவில் கண்காணிக்க அதிகாரிகள் அல்லாத தனிப்பட்ட குழுக்களை அமைக்க உத்தரவிட வேண்டும்' என, கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது.


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Probe students' exploitation by school teachers: court


CHENNAI, April 21, 2011

The Madras High Court has directed the Director of Elementary Education, Chennai, to hold a full-fledged enquiry into the alleged exploitation of students by school teachers and issue appropriate instructions and guidelines to all concerned. The exercise should be completed within three months.

The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, passed the order while disposing a public interest litigation petition by V.G. Dhanasekaran of Villai Village, Arani, in Tiruvannamalai district.

The petitioner prayed for a direction to the Tamil Nadu government to frame a scheme to stop the abuse of village students by teachers in the State. He also sought a direction for appointing independent non-bureaucratic committees at the district-level to prevent such practice.

The petitioner alleged that teachers of different schools exploited pupils by asking them to clean their toilets and vehicles.

The teaching staff also asked the students to get tea and snacks.

Those who refused were beaten.

He had sent representations to the authorities concerned.

The Bench said that since the matter appeared to be serious, it was directing the Director of Elementary Education to enquire into the matter so that those indulging in such abominable activities would be deterred from doing so.


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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

குழந்தைகளை தாக்கும் பல் நோய்கள்

குழந்தைகளை தாக்கும் பல் நோய்கள்.........

Maalaimalar ePaper 

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Earth-like planet found, but 1 year is just 37 days

Earth-like planet found, but 1 year is just 37 days


A team of planet hunters led by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington has announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet (three times the mass of Earth) orbiting a nearby star at a distance that places it squarely in the middle of the star's "habitable zone," where liquid water could exist on the planet's surface. If confirmed, this would be the most Earth-like exoplanet yet discovered and the first strong case for a potentially habitable one.

This undated handout artist rendering provided by Lynette Cook, National Science Foundation, shows a new planet, right. Astronomers have found a planet that is in the Goldilocks zone _ just right for life. AP Photo

To astronomers, a "potentially habitable" planet is one that could sustain life, not necessarily one that humans would consider a nice place to live. Habitability depends on many factors, but liquid water and an atmosphere are among the most important.

But there are still many unanswered questions about this strange planet. It is about three times the mass of Earth, slightly larger in width and much closer to its star 14 million miles away versus 93 million. It's so close to its version of the sun that it orbits every 37 days. And it doesn't rotate much, so one side is almost always bright, the other dark.

Temperatures can be as hot as 160 degrees or as frigid as 25 degrees below zero, but in between in the land of constant sunrise it would be shirt-sleeve weather, said co-discoverer Steven Vogt of the University of California at Santa Cruz.

The Antennae galaxies, located about 62 million light years from Earth, are shown in this composite image from NASA's Great Observatories--the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), the Hubble Space Telescope (gold and brown), and the Spitzer Space Telescope (red). The Antennae galaxies take their name from the long antenna-like "arms," seen in wide-angle views of the system. These features were produced by tidal forces generated in the collision.

"Our findings offer a very compelling case for a potentially habitable planet," said Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. "The fact that we were able to detect this planet so quickly and so nearby tells us that planets like this must be really common."

The planet is tidally locked to the star, meaning that one side is always facing the star and basking in perpetual daylight, while the side facing away from the star is in perpetual darkness. One effect of this is to stabilize the planet's surface climates, according to Vogt. The most habitable zone on the planet's surface would be the line between shadow and light (known as the "terminator"), with surface temperatures decreasing toward the dark side and increasing toward the light side.

"Any emerging life forms would have a wide range of stable climates to choose from and to evolve around, depending on their longitude," Vogt said.

This handout photo released by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) shows a montage of young and hot stars located in the Tarantula nebula taken with a 2.2-metre telescope. AFP

The researchers estimate that the average surface temperature of the planet is between -24 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-31 to -12 degrees Celsius). Actual temperatures would range from blazing hot on the side facing the star to freezing cold on the dark side.

If Gliese 581g has a rocky composition similar to the Earth's, its diameter would be about 1.2 to 1.4 times that of the Earth. The surface gravity would be about the same or slightly higher than Earth's, so that a person could easily walk upright on the planet, Vogt said.

The findings are based on 11 years of observations at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. "Advanced techniques combined with old-fashioned ground-based telescopes continue to lead the exoplanet revolution," said Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution. "Our ability to find potentially habitable worlds is now limited only by our telescope time."

Vogt and Butler lead the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey. The team's new findings are reported in a paper to be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

This handout photo released by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) shows a montage of young and hot stars located in the Tarantula nebula taken with a 2.2-metre telescope. AFP

The paper reports the discovery of two new planets around the nearby red dwarf star Gliese 581. This brings the total number of known planets around this star to six, the most yet discovered in a planetary system other than our own solar system. Like our solar system, the planets around Gliese 581 have nearly circular orbits.

The most interesting of the two new planets is Gliese 581g, with a mass three to four times that of the Earth and an orbital period of just under 37 days. Its mass indicates that it is probably a rocky planet with a definite surface and that it has enough gravity to hold on to an atmosphere, according to Vogt.

This image of the Tarantula Nebula was obtained with the near-infrared optics. Using a combination of instruments on ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have discovered the most massive stars to date, one weighing at birth more than 300 times the mass of the Sun, or twice as much as the currently accepted limit of 150 solar masses. AFP

Gliese 581, located 20 light years away from Earth in the constellation Libra, has a somewhat chequered history of habitable-planet claims. Two previously detected planets in the system lie at the edges of the habitable zone, one on the hot side (planet c) and one on the cold side (planet d). While some astronomers still think planet d may be habitable if it has a thick atmosphere with a strong greenhouse effect to warm it up, others are skeptical. The newly discovered planet g, however, lies right in the middle of the habitable zone.

"We had planets on both sides of the habitable zone--one too hot and one too cold--and now we have one in the middle that's just right," Vogt said.

"It's really hard to detect a planet like this," Vogt said.

Scientists have aimed Hubble to take a snapshot of a dazzling region of celestial birth and renewal. Hubble peered into a small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074. The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. It lies about 170 000 light-years away near the Tarantula nebula, one of the most active star-forming regions in our local group of galaxies. In this representative color image, red shows emission from sulphur atoms, green from glowing hydrogen, and blue from glowing oxygen. AP FILE PHOTO

The researchers also explored the implications of this discovery with respect to the number of stars that are likely to have at least one potentially habitable planet. Given the relatively small number of stars that have been carefully monitored by planet hunters, this discovery has come surprisingly soon.

"If these are rare, we shouldn't have found one so quickly and so nearby," Vogt said. "The number of systems with potentially habitable planets is probably on the order of 10 or 20 percent, and when you multiply that by the hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way, that's a large number. There could be tens of billions of these systems in our galaxy."

Source: University of California Santa Cruz


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Astronomers discovers similar planetary system

ESO discovers most similar planetary system to our own

Posted on Aug 25th 2010 by Emma Woollacott

Astronomers have discovered a planetary system containing at least five and possibly seven planets, orbiting the Sun-like star HD 10180.  It makes the system the most similar to our own yet discovered.

The team also found evidence that the distances of the planets from their star follow a regular pattern, as also seen in our Solar System.

"We have found what is most likely the system with the most planets yet discovered," says Christophe Lovis, lead author of the paper reporting the result.

"Studies of planetary motions in the new system reveal complex gravitational interactions between the planets and give us insights into the long-term evolution of the system."

The team used the HARPS spectrograph, attached to ESO's 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla, Chile, for a six-year-long study of HD 10180, located 127 light-years away in the southern constellation of Hydrus.

The astronomers detected the tiny motions of the star caused by the gravitational attractions from five or more planets. The five strongest signals indicate planets with roughly the mass of Neptune, which orbit with periods ranging from six to 600 days. They lie between 0.06 and 1.4 times the Earth–Sun distance from their star.

"We also have good reasons to believe that two other planets are present," says Lovis.

One would be a Saturn-like planet orbiting in 2,200 days. The other would be the smallest exoplanet yet discovered, with a mass about 1.4 times that of the Earth. It's very close to its host star, at just two percent of the Earth–Sun distance.

"This object causes a wobble of its star of only about three kilometers per hour — slower than walking speed — and this motion is very hard to measure," says team member Damien Ségransan. If confirmed, it would be a hot rocky planet, similar to Corot-7b.

The inner region of the system is more populated than our own. It probably has no Jupiter-like gas giant. Unlike in our solar system, all the planets seem to have almost circular orbits.

So far, astronomers know of fifteen systems with at least three planets. The last record-holder was 55 Cancri, which contains five, two of them being giant planets. "Systems of low-mass planets like the one around HD 10180 appear to be quite common, but their formation history remains a puzzle," says Lovis.

Using the new discovery as well as data for other planetary systems, the astronomers found an equivalent of the Titius–Bode law that exists in our Solar System: the distances of the planets from their star seem to follow a regular pattern.

They also found a relationship between the mass of a planetary system and the nature of its host star.

All very massive planetary systems are found around massive and metal-rich stars, while the four lowest-mass systems are found around lower-mass, metal-poor stars. Such properties confirm current theoretical models.

"This remarkable discovery also highlights the fact that we are now entering a new era in exoplanet research: the study of complex planetary systems and not just of individual planets," says Lovis.


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Monday, April 18, 2011

தினமணி: கோடையில் ஐஸ்கிரீம் நல்லதா?

Dinamani ePaper

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April 18: World Heritage Day

What is World Heritage Day?

IANS | Apr 18, 2011, 03.46 pm IST

As the country celebrates World Heritage Day on Monday, here's how it all started. 

In 1982, a symposium organised by the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in Tunisia proposed observing an "International Day for Monuments and Sites" across the world. 

The proposal for an annual day was then approved by the UNESCO general conference in November 1983 that April 18 should be declared the International Monuments and Sites Day. The day is traditionally called the 'World Heritage Day'. 

In 2010, international cooperation within the context of world heritage was the subject at a lecture by Simon Richard Molesworth, honorary chairman of the executive committee of the International National Trusts Organisation. 

Molesworth said, "a day dedicated to world heritage offered an opportunity to raise public awareness about natural and cultural heritage." 

Celebrating the life of Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib and a talk on rethinking restoration in India were some of the highlights of World Heritage Day. 

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture organised an exhibition on Mirza Ghalib's works with at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. It will be accompanied by a movie on the life of Ghalib by Sair-e-Nizamuddin, a young group of heritage volunteers. A ghazal recital by Begum Muneer Khatoon was organised at the India International Centre. 

The capital's National Museum, one of the the country's largest repositories of tangible heritage, listed its efforts at conservation. It organised a lecture by Professor K.V. Thomas, the union minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution. 

Plans are afoot by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the state archaeology department to restore many of the city monuments. Work is in progress in Hauz Khas, Adilabad Fort and Lodhi Gardens. 

A rethink on the way to restore and conserve the country's heritage was the crux of the third Pupul Jayakar Memorial Lecture at the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). 

The state INTACH chapters organised heritage walks in cities like Bengaluru, Amritsar, Chandigarh and in neighbouring Gurgaon. 

In Gurgaon, the spotlight was on traditional water harvesting methods and monuments associated with storage of water. The capital and surrounding areas have several "baolis" or historical step wells which were used for storing water.


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Friday, April 8, 2011

இந்தியா சென்ற ராஜபட்சவுக்கு மரியாதை கிடைக்கவில்லை: இலங்கை

இந்தியா சென்ற ராஜபட்சவுக்கு மரியாதை கிடைக்கவில்லை: இலங்கை

First Published : 08 Apr 2011 12:23:03 PM IST

கொழும்பு, ஏப்.8: உலகக் கோப்பை இறுதிப் போட்டியைக் காணச் சென்ற இலங்கை அதிபர் ராஜபட்சவை இந்திய அரசு சரிவர கவனிக்கவில்லை என இலங்கை அரசு வட்டாரங்களில் தெரிவிக்கப்படுகிறது.

இலங்கைத் தமிழ் இணையதளங்கள் இதுகுறித்து செய்தி வெளியிட்டுள்ளன. அதன் விவரம்:

உலகக் கோப்பை இறுதிப் போட்டியைக் காண மும்பை சென்ற ராஜபட்ச 30 இருக்கைகளை கேட்டிருந்ததாகவும், அவருக்கு 10 இருக்கைகளே வழங்கப்பட்டதாக கொழும்பு அரசியல் வட்டாரங்கள் தெரிவித்தன.

போட்டியைக் காணச் சென்ற அதிபர் மகிந்த ராஜபட்சவுக்கு ஒரு நாட்டின் அதிபர் என்ற வகையில் இந்தியாவில் உரிய மரியாதைகள் கிடைக்கவில்லை என இந்தியாவுக்கான இலங்கைத் தூதரக உயர் அதிகாரி உபெக்கா சமரதுங்க குற்றம்சாட்டினார்.

இந்தியாவில் இலங்கை கிரிக்கெட் அணியை சந்திக்க ராஜபட்ச அனுமதி கோரியிருந்தபோதும் அதற்கான அனுமதி வழங்கப்படவில்லை. மேலும் இறுதிப் போட்டியில் வெற்றிபெற்ற அணியுடன் புகைப்படம் எடுக்கவும் ராஜபட்சவுக்கு வாய்ப்பளிக்கப்படவில்லை.

பாகிஸ்தான் பிரதமருக்கு இந்தியா அதிகாரப்பூர்வ அழைப்பு விடுத்திருந்ததனால் அவர் முறையாக கவனிக்கப்பட்டதாக இந்தியா பதிலளித்துள்ளது.

இலங்கை அதிபர் ராஜபட்ச அழைப்பு ஏதுமின்றி தனிப்பட்டரீதியில் இந்தியா வந்ததன் காரணமாகவே அவர் அரசு மரியாதைகளுடன் கவனிக்கப்படவில்லை என இந்திய கிரிக்கெட் வாரிய அதிகாரி ரத்னாகர் ரெட்டி தெரிவித்தார்.

இந்தியா சென்ற அதிபர் ராஜபட்ச உரியமுறையில் கவனிக்கப்படாதது குறித்து இந்திய அதிகாரிகளிடம் முறையிட்டுள்ளதாக இந்தியாவுக்கான தூதர் பிரசாத் காரியவசம் தெரிவித்தார்.

இவ்வாறு அந்த இணையதளச் செய்திகளில் தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dr. S. Ramadoss spoke to THE HINDU

'The EC is favouring AIADMK'

Questions & Answers 


No politician has played his cards as cleverly as Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) leader S. Ramadoss has over the years. Since 1998, he has almost always ensured he is part of the winning alliance in Tamil Nadu. His calculations went wrong only once — in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, when he joined the AIADMK front. The party lost all the seven constituencies it contested; he is now again in the DMK front. The PMK is contesting 30 seats, after surrendering one seat to the Congress. Mr. Ramadoss spoke to B. KOLAPPAN. Excerpts:

How do you see the prospects of the DMK alliance in the election?

The DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance will sweep the polls and Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi will become the Chief Minister of the State for another term.

Poll surveys, however, predict victory for the AIADMK front.

I have no faith in all these surveys. We must look into the background and credibility of those who have conducted the surveys. Whether it is Tamil weeklies or the English media from Delhi, they are keen on a change in Tamil Nadu so that a person representing their community could become the Chief Minister. In 2009, these surveys predicted a victory for the AIADMK alliance, but the election results proved otherwise. Even in developed countries like the U.S. and UK, the poll surveys do not reflect the reality on the ground.

After 1984, Tamil Nadu has always seen a change of regime after every election.

You forget the trends in the State. The Congress won the elections between 1952 and 1962, till the DMK won in 1967. After that, the DMK was in power till 1977. M.G. Ramachandran became the Chief Minister in 1977 after the AIADMK was elected to power in 1977. He was the Chief Minister for 13 years. This shows that people of Tamil Nadu will vote for change, but they have no problem in returning a government if it has implemented welfare programmes and fulfilled its promises. The DMK has fulfilled its promises and in the rural areas every family has been benefited by the schemes of the DMK government. The free colour TV scheme, Rs.1 per kg rice scheme, medical insurance scheme and the free concrete housing scheme have benefited people. The people vote for change to express their anger against the rulers. Now they have no reason to do that. Ms. Jayalalithaa has been the Chief Minister of the State twice. Can she claim credit for any good schemes and seek votes on the basis of her government's achievements? The AIADMK front is in total disarray. One leader of the alliance party is not ready to mention the name of another leader during the election.

The PMK and the VCK have come together for the first time in the elections.

I have been advocating unity between the two communities since I strongly believe that it will help solve a lot of problems. Our combination will ensure the victory of the DMK front in over 10 districts in the State.

But the AIADMK has succeeded in roping in the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) led by actor Vijayakant to offset the effects of your combination.

The DMDK could secure a decent vote share only when it contested alone in the 2006 Assembly election and in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll and projected Mr. Vijayakant as the Chief Ministerial candidate as an alternative to both the DMK and the AIADMK. Since the party has now become part of an alliance, it is very unlikely to get the votes it polled in the previous elections. Moreover, the behaviour of Mr. Vijayakant during the election campaign has already dented his image.

Do you agree with the argument of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi that an Emergency-like situation prevails in Tamil Nadu?

I strongly believe that the Election Commission has taken sides and its actions seem to be in favour of the AIADMK camp. During the elections only the officials involved in election work will be under the control of the Election Commission. Now the EC had brought the entire State administration under its thumb. You cannot see these kinds of restrictions in Kerala or in West Bengal.

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Two decades on, MGR is still a vote-catcher

Two decades on, MGR is still a vote-catcher


TIRUCHI, April 5, 2011

Artistes perform to MGR's popular hit songs at an AIADMK campaign rally in Tiruvarur constituency. Photo: M. Srinath

Artistes perform to MGR's popular hit songs at an AIADMK campaign rally in Tiruvarur constituency. Photo: M. Srinath

'Koduthathelam koduthan, avan yarukkaka koduthan, orutharuka koduthan, illai oorukaka koduthan' (Whatever he gave, he gave it for all and not just for one) … belts out the lead singer of a small-time orchestra in a small village near Tiruchi. The boisterous crowd of avid MGR fans and AIADMK cadre goes into raptures at this popular MGR number from yesteryears.

The orchestra's job is to keep the crowd entertained until party general secretary Jayalalithaa arrives. The music troupes and the accompanying dancers may not be big crowd pullers by themselves, but there is little doubt that the politically-loaded MGR songs continue to sway the masses. More than two decades after his death, they stand the party that he founded in good stead.

For MGR fans and the party cadre, this is a valuable inheritance, and a singular legacy which no other party can lay claim to. "There is no doubting their (MGR hits) popularity, especially in the rural areas. They seem to give the audience a sense of déjà vu and bring MGR back before their eyes," observes M. Sivaraman alias Jayanthi Siva, who runs the Shadjam Music Troupe, which played in many of the villages during Ms.Jayalalithaa's recent visit to Tiruchi.

For troupes such as Shadjam, the opportunity to perform at election rallies offers a platform to exhibit their talents and brings in some seasonal income. Most of these small time groups are made up of amateurs, but some have some good professional musicians too, waiting for a break. "We can compete with anybody. But recognition is hard to come by," says Mr. Sivaraman, who is about to celebrate his troupe's 1000th performance soon.

Son of late morsing Mahadeva Iyer of Pudukottai, Mr. Sivaraman has been running the troupe for the past 15 years. An AIADMK supporter, he has been playing at party election rallies since 2009. His troupe has 28 members, including a lecturer and an employee of BHEL. Some, like C. Sahayaraj, a lead singer from Jayamkondam, are well grounded in music. Sahayaraj has studied music at the Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts in the city. Many among the troupe entertain ambitions of becoming playback singers.

"I am hopeful of getting a break, right now I manage by singing for local troupes and bringing out albums," says Mr. Sahayaraj.

"Recognition depends on your performance. We constantly strive to improve our quality," says S.Arun, a singer who runs the Geetanjali Music troupe in Thanjavur.

The troupes get paid about Rs.20,000-30,000 for a performance, which is split among the members, which means a paltry remuneration of Rs.1,000 to Rs.2,000 per head.

Yet they are game enough. "At times we are called to perform at short notice. We have to be ready. Our troupe can play about 500 numbers from MGR films any time," says Mr. Sivaraman, who plays the drums and sings too.

Very often, he says, his troupe has to play for three to six hours at election or political meetings. "It is our job to hold the crowd together." Most of the AIADMK cadre are crazy about MGR songs. "I have seen MGR fans moved to tears on hearing us play his songs," he says.

According to him, "ethanai kalam thaan aemattruvar intha nattilae," (how much longer will you fool this nation?) "neenga nalla irukkonam nadu munnera," (you have to be taken care of if the nation is to progress), 'naan aanai ittal, athu nadanthu vittal' (if my commands can become reality), and 'ninanithathai mudipavan naan,' (I do what I set out to do) are among the most sought after hits. They also have some popular numbers from MGR-Jayalalithaa starrers such as 'Amma Endral Anbu' to play to the gallery.


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Former CEC releases DVD titled ‘Clean and fair elections'

Gopalaswami justifies strict action by EC


CHENNAI, April 5, 2011

Strict action by the Election Commission (EC) will disappoint some political parties and for this the Commission is not responsible, said N. Gopalaswami, former Chief Election Commissioner, here on Monday.

Talking to reporters after launching a DVD and a campaign titled 'Clean and fair elections', Mr. Gopalaswami said that distribution of money to voters to the extent it was being done in Tamil Nadu was not happening in other States. So, the EC had to initiate severe action against violators, which would disappoint political parties.

Amudha, Additional Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu, said those who did not want to vote for anyone could use the 49 '0' option. It would be recorded in the 17-A register. Confidentiality would be maintained for those opting for this provision. Speaking at the programme, N. Vittal, former Chief Vigilance Commissioner, said that the youth had the power to make change.

On the occasion a book, 'Guide for political parties and candidates for elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies', authored by Naresh Gupta, former Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu, was released.

Mr. Gupta said that the book would be a very useful reference material for politicians, research scholars and those interested in elections. The Tamil translation of the book would be released soon.

Actor M. Nasser said that voting was an important duty. Due to various attractions the present day youth get easily diverted. They should discuss about elections and ask their friends to vote without fail. Abirami Ramanathan, president, Tamil Nadu Theatre Owner's Federation, said that if campaign material is given to him in the Cube Format, steps would be taken to screen the awareness film.


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Monday, April 4, 2011

Part 12: Team India succeeds in Indian soil

Part 12: Team India succeeds in Indian soil

World Cup 2011 Highlights Photos & Wallpapers


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Part 11: மணல் சிற்பம் about Team India succeeds

Part 11: மணல் சிற்பம் about Team India succeeds in Indian soil

World Cup 2011 Highlights Photos & Wallpapers

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Tamil Murasu ePaper

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