Detect building violations around Meenakshi temple: HC

‘Ban on mobile phones to be implemented in two weeks’

The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed Madurai Corporation to find out all those who had constructed buildings around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in violation of the height restrictions, so that the court could include them as respondents to a public interest litigation petition.

A Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and R. Tharani also restrained the Corporation from granting approval for any new building to be constructed in violation of the height restrictions and directed it to keep a check on violations.

The order was passed on a public interest litigation petition related to the temple.

During a hearing, held through video-conferencing, on the case filed in the Madurai Bench of the High Court, the judges recorded the submission of the petitioner’s advocate that the Corporation officials had not acted against any person who had constructed buildings beyond the height of nine metres within a radius of one km from the temple.

When the Corporation counsel R. Murali refuted the allegation and challenged the advocates to provide the details of the violators, it irked Mr. Justice Kirubakaran so much so that he said: “If the officials cannot see the violations and if they are blind, let them resign and go. Petitioner can only bring the violations to their notice.”

Earlier, Special Government Pleader VR. Shanmuganathan told the court that the temple management had purchased about 1,000 vaults to store mobile phones of devotees and that a ban on carrying mobile phones inside the temple would be enforced within two weeks after making announcements through newspapers.

He also said two watchtowers were being established. Providing other details, he said 67 CCTV cameras and 143 fire extinguishers had been installed inside the temple.

Further, five baggage scanners had been provided to scan the bags carried by the devotees and 131 police personnel were deputed at a time at eight different spots on the temple campus.

After directing him to obtain instructions from the officials concerned on purchasing high-end fire fighting equipment, the judges adjourned further hearing on the case by two weeks.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

Document registration comes to a standstill across the district

Over 800 document writers abstain from work on Monday

Over 800 document writers in the district abstained from work on Monday and protested against the online system of registration made mandatory recently by the State Government.

Document registration almost came to a standstill across the district. Just one per cent of the documents that did not come through the writers were registered, claim sources, though this could not be confirmed officially.

At the sub-registrar office at the Collectorate alone registration of nearly 100 documents were affected on Monday because of the protest, claimed M. Maheshkumar, district secretary of Tamilnadu Document-Copy Writer Association.

He said the document writers want both, the online and offline options. With the mandatory online system, it takes about three days to prepare a document because the system is slow and the sub-registrar needs to approve it in another three days. This takes a lot of time for one document. So the number of documents registered a day has fallen sharply in the last one week. “By introducing the online system, the Government has sold the department to a private company,” he alleged. .

There are problems with the payment mode too. During the trial period, the receipt would be generated only if the payment is processed. Now, the receipt is available even if the payment status shows failure.

Karthik, a document writer at Ganapathy sub-registrar office, said he had made an online payment for Rs. 1,96,315 on February 15. The amount was debited and an acknowledgement was generated.

However, the system showed the status of payment as failure. The response at the call centre was not proper.

The property buyer and seller had to wait for two days for the issue to be settled. In the earlier system, payment would take less than half an hour.

The document writers said the strike will continue till the issues related to online registration are resolved.

Reg : The Hindu | Read More


Licences issued to three firms for tapping neera

Persistent demand for tapping neera drink from coconut trees by the farmers finally fetched the results. The State Government issued GO No. 41 on December 21 last year in this regard.

Following this, the district administration has issued licences for tapping neera from coconut trees, and packing and marketing through the Department of Agriculture Marketing to three Agriculture Producers Companies– Anamalai Coconut Farmers Producers Company, Vinayaka Farmers Producers Company and Coimbatore Coconut Farmers Producers Company in the presence of Deputy Commissioner of Excise Department M. Balachandar and Deputy Director of Agriculture Marketing M.R. Palanisamy, at the Collectorate on Thursday. Coconut is being cultivated at an area of 86,800 ha in the district.

Collector T.N. Hariharan issued applications for procuring licences to the companies and also received filled-in applications. The companies were also issued licences in the evening. Mr. Hariharan introduced the neera drink produced under the brand name Foothill Farmers by the Anamalai Coconut Farmers Producers Company at the function.

Speaking to reporters, M. Dhanapal, Director of the Anamalai Coconut Farmers Producers Company, told The Hindu that the company has commissioned a chilling and packaging unit for neera. The production capacity of the plant per day is 1000 litres. Initially, the neera drink would be packed in 200 ml disposable bottles and would be marketed at a rate of Rs. 35.

The initiative will improve the income of the farmers in addition to the income they are generating from coconut and other by-products.

On an average 2.5 litres of neera drink can be tapped from one coconut tree. Neera is different from toddy and palmyra drink (padaneer).

The neera drink will be tapped directly into a chiller box with below 4 degree Celsius. The temperature would be maintained till neera drink is packed and sold to the end users. Otherwise, it will get fermented and turn into toddy.

A farmers would get an income of Rs. 10,500 per tree per year in addition to the average income they are generating from coconut, tender coconut and other by-products from a healthy tree.

Mr. Palanisamy said that 40 farmers have been selected to undergo a technical training to tap neera from coconut tree at the National Horticulture Research Station at Kasaragod in Kerala from February 19 to 23. Once the regular production begins, value-added by-products from neera such as Neera Sugar, Neera Honey and Neera snacks could be produced and exported globally, he added.

Ahead of this, a meeting of the representatives from the seven Coconut Farmers Producers Companies was held at the Collectorate on February 2. Sale of neera products would be allowed in uzhavar santhais, Collectorate and other public places, the official said.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

Nalini challenges legal hurdle preventing release

Says discrimination against convicts unfair and irrational

Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case life convict S. Nalini, 50, has approached the Madras High Court challenging the validity of Section 435(1)(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure which requires the State governments to hold consultations with the Centre before ordering premature release of life convicts whose cases had been investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

She has also urged the court to quash certain portions of a Government Order (G.O.) issued on February 1 this year for release of convicts who had completed 10 years of incarceration, in commemoration of former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran’s birth centenary, because those portions deny the benefit to those who fall under the purview of Section 435 of CrPC.

In an affidavit, filed through her counsel P. Pugalenthi, Nalini, who had been under incarceration for more than 26 years, claimed that it was unfair and irrational to differentiate between convicts whose cases had been investigated by the local police and those who were prosecuted by central agencies such as CBI when it came to considering their premature release.

“The object of premature release of life convicts is reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners. When life convicts are released prematurely on the basis of good conduct which could be assessed by the State governments, requiring the latter to consult the Centre, with respect to those whose offences were investigated by the CBI, would be irrational,” she said.

‘Norm not applicable’

It was also contended that the State governments may have to comply with the requirements under Section 435 of CrPC, only when they release convicts prematurely by exercising the powers conferred on them under Sections 432 and 433 of the code and not while framing a larger scheme for mass release of convicts under Article 161 of the Constitution.

Disclosing that she had filed a case in the Supreme Court too in 2014 challenging the constitutional validity of Section 435(1)(a), Nalini recalled that on July 25, 2014, a three judge Bench led by the then Chief Justice had ordered notice to the Centre returnable by four weeks. Subsequently, further time was granted to the Centre for filing a counter affidavit.

However, on October 27, 2014, the apex court passed a single line order stating: “We decline to entertain the writ petition.” Thus, the constitutional validity of the provision was not decided by the Supreme Court, the convict claimed and urged the High Court to go into the merits of the case and give a finding on the validity of the provision which discriminates between convicts.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

‘Prevent Valentine’s Day celebration at public places’

Hindu outfits - Sakthi Sena Hindu Makkal Iyakkam and the Bharat Sena, Tamil Nadu - urged the authorities here on Monday to prevent young couples from celebrating Valentine’s Day (Wednesday) at public places.

Members of Sakthi Sena Hindu Makkal Iyakkam staged a demonstration in front of the Coimbatore (South) taluk office raising slogans against Valentine’s day celebration. District president of the outfit Kalidoss presided over the demonstration.

Similarly, a few members of Tamil Nadu unit of the Bharat Sena staged a demonstration in front of the Collectorate with the same demand. Later, the office-bearers of the outfit submitted a petition to the Collector.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

Children inherit not only assets, but liabilities too: HC

Court orders payment of compensation to family of sanitary worker

Observing that not only assets but also the liabilities of parents get passed on to the children, the Madras High Court has directed a litigant to pay compensation of Rs. 5 lakh to the family of a person who had died while cleaning a septic tank about 16 years ago when the litigant was a child and the house was owned by his father in Chennai.

Justice S. Vaidyanathan passed the order while disposing of a writ petition filed by A. Ravichandran alias Ravi of Kottivakkam near here challenging a communication sent to him by a zonal officer of Greater Chennai Corporation on August 21, 2017, asking him to pay Rs. 10 lakh for the death of Narasimhan, the sanitary worker engaged for cleaning work on August 26, 2001.

“The concept of pious obligation originated in Dharmasastras, according to which non-payment of debt is a sin which results in unbearable suffering in the next world. Just as Lord Rama was obligated to fulfil his deceased father’s promise to his step-mother, the petitioner herein is obligated to pay compensation to the deceased worker’s family.

“When a father’s assets are passed on to his sons after his death, so are his liabilities,” the judge said, and directed the petitioner to pay the amount to the legal heirs of the deceased within two months.

He directed the Corporation also to pay Rs. 2.5 lakh to the victim’s family within two months for having failed in its duty to prohibit manual scavenging.

The judge ordered that an amount of Rs. 7.5 lakh should be paid to the victim’s family through online bank transfer in order to avoid complaints of government officials demanding commission before handing over cheques to the beneficiaries.

Justice Vaidyanathan made it clear that the legal heirs, including the victim’s wife N. Adhilakshmi, would be entitled to claim the rest of Rs. 2.5 lakh if they were able to establish that the delay of 16 years in claiming the compensation was not because of any fault on their part as claimed by the writ petitioner.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

NRI moves High Court to quash case

He was alleged to be an accomplice of Abdul Nasser Madani

Noushad Thazhaith, 37, a native of Kozhikode, now a Non-Resident Indian doing business in Dubai, has moved the Madras High Court for quashing a criminal case registered against him by the CB-CID on charge of assisting People’s Democratic Party leader Abdul Nasser Maudany and his accomplices in planting a bomb on the Coimbatore Press Club premises in December 2002.

The petitioner claimed that he suffered 80% congenital loss of vision in both his eyes. Enunciating the prosecution’s case against him, he said the police had accused him of having accompanied Maudany’s wife to Coimbatore Central Prison on December 26, 2002 and picking a quarrel with the jailors for not allowing her to meet her husband.

“There is nothing on record to connect my name with the crime,” he said.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

Act against illegal bars: DMK MLA

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLA N. Karthik has urged the district administration to act against all the illegal bars in the district.

In his petition, submitted at the weekly grievances meeting on Monday, he said even after the expiry of bar licence period on December 31, 2017, 237 bars, attached to as many shops, continued to function illegally in the district.

The Tasmac officials ought to have conducted auction in November-December 2017 for the bars.

The result of the bars functioning illegally was that the State Government lost Rs. 6 crore a day at Rs. 2.50 lakh a bar a month.

That the officials aided the illegal functioning of bars could be seen from the recent arrest of an Excise Department official in Coimbatore by Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption, he pointed out.

Besides, the bars functioned 24 hours a day when the government stipulation was that they should remain open only between noon and 10 p.m.

The district administration should, therefore, act against all the 237 bars by closing them, he said.

‘Withdraw bus fare hike’

The Communist Party of India’s Coimbatore Urban central committee petitioned that the Coimbatore Corporation had hiked the water connection deposits and also undertaken property tax revision exercise. It should give up both the exercises as there was no elected Council in place. The State Government should also withdraw the bus fare hike, as it burdened the common man.

And, the district administration should expedite the construction of flyovers and road over bridges on Pollachi Road as the area saw heavy traffic congestion.

Memorial for bomb

blast victims

Bharat Sena urged the district administration to grant permission for erecting memorial to honour those killed during the 1998 Coimbatore bomb blasts. In its petition, the Hindu organisation said 58 innocent lives were lost in the blasts. The Bharat Sena had been demanding, almost every year, a memorial to honour the victims. But thus far, there had been no permission. At least this year, prior to the bomb blast anniversary, the administration should accord permission, it reiterated.

‘Check illegal mining’

Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, affiliated to the AIKS, has urged the district administration to check the illegal mining of natural resources. In its petition, the Association said though the officials of the Department of Geology and Mining had maintained that action had been initiated every month against illegal mining, it continued unchecked in Karamadai, Periyanaickenpalayam, Perur, Thadagam, Madukkarai, Mettupalayam, Sulur, Pollachi and a few other parts of the district.

The Department had said that it had granted only 160 permits, but even those permits were misused.

The Association also drew the administration’s attention to the smuggling of gravel and sand to Kerala via Palakkad, Chittur and Kozhinjampara and sale at a price that was twice that in Tamil Nadu. The demand, therefore, was to act against errant officials and stop the illegal mining of resources in the district.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

Bus services likely to get a tech upgrade

Card system, electronic ticketing, real-time updates planned

In the aftermath of the bus fare hike, the State Transport department is considering a few plans for improving services. Among the proposals are a common card system, introduction of electronic ticketing machines and work on projects to provide real-time information on bus timings.

A senior official of the department said that until the fare hike was effected, the State Transport Corporations (STCs), which were suffering losses of Rs. 9 crore daily, were short of funds and could not take up any development work.

But with the hike, there would be money for some projects.

Banks, which were earlier reluctant to fund projects, are now showing interest, he said.

The official said the infrastructure development projects were being planned on a step-by-step basis.

“Very soon, an Expression of Interest (EoI) for technology upgrade in issuing tickets through electronic ticketing machines will be called for. Already, the process is under way with talks being held with banks for issuing the EoI to purchase the machines.”

The official also said the department was planning to develop a common card system for the benefit of those travelling by Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) buses and the Metro Rail.

Public-private projects

Regarding grievances about the lack of real time data on bus timings and the unwillingness of the MTC to share data, the official said two projects in the public-private partnership mode would be implemented to provide information to the public.

The first step would be to enable the fleet with GPS devices and connect it to the servers.

He said, “At present, only static data of bus timings is available but once the GPS devices are installed and linked to a server in real time, bus timings can be made available to the public through apps.”

Banks which were earlier reluctant to fund projects are now showing interest

Transport department official

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

Beware of social media, Commissioner tells women

Everyone is being constantly monitored in some way or the other, he says

“In the world of technology we live in, everyone is constantly monitored in some way or the other and hence there is a need to be cautious,” said Police Commissioner A.K. Viswanathan here on Friday.

He was speaking at ‘Women’s safety awareness programme’ at Tidel Park.

“In the film Ocean’s Eleven , Julia Roberts says, ‘In your hotel, there is always someone watching.’ That's how it works now. There are CCTV cameras everywhere and in a way, this kind of a technology helps us arrest the accused,” he said.

In social media too the situation was no different. “You have to be very careful about what you do and what you share on social media. What you write on social media remains there forever,” he added.

“Stalking and eve-teasing are the other issues that women often face. Stalking is unfortunately glorified in some films and it should be condemned,” he said.

He noted how sexual harassment at work place should be dealt with and women should carefully discuss and come forward to complain to either the office or to the police.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Rohit Nathan Rajagopal said the IT industry had helped many people from rural areas move to the big cities, and they were suddenly brought face to face with corporate culture. “For instance, a person may be the first graduate in the family and may have joined work in the city, but a casual hug in an informal team activity or gathering can sometimes be mistaken. Often, personal and professional lives get blurred. So, companies have modules or training for new recruits so that the transition is easier for them and there are no issues,” he said.

Garima Tyagi, Diversity and Inclusion India Head, Verizon, said, companies should also have regular sensitisation programmes on sexual harassment at work place.

Ref : The Hindu | Read more