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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Work on drinking water scheme to begin soon

The work on the Rs.26.40-crore drinking water scheme designed to quench the thirst of 118 villages, including the tsunami-affected coastal hamlets in the district, will begin in a month, the Radhapuram MLA M. Appavu has said.

He was speaking at a meeting at Valliyoor on Saturday to disburse revolving fund and subsidised loan to self-help groups of tsunami-affected villages.

Mr. Appavu said that water to be drawn from filtration wells to be dug in the Tamiraparani near Srivaikuntam in Tuticorin district would be taken to Kuttam, the first beneficiary village of the scheme, and then to the remaining 117 villages — up to Koottapuli.

After the Asian Development Bank had come forward to fund the project and tenders had already been approved, the work would begin and be completed within a year. Since an exclusive electricity feeder line right from the filtration well was to be created for the scheme, power-cuts would not affect pumping and supply of drinking water to the coastal hamlets.

"The State Government, which quenched the thirst of hundreds of villages in the southern parts of the district through the Panagudi-Valliyoor Combined Drinking Water Scheme during 1996 - 2001, has once again come to the rescue of the villagers of costal region by designing the scheme," Mr. Appavu said.

The fishermen of tsunami-affected villages would get Rs.10,000 within a week for their fish-gears damaged in the catastrophe.

The MLA said the Chief Minister was keen on constructing groynes in all coastal villages so that boats, fish-gears, nets and the precious lives of fishermen would be protected even at the time of natural calamities like tsunami.

The Speaker, R. Avudaiyappan, disbursed revolving fund and subsidised loan to the tune of Rs.2.01 crore to 527 SHGs in the tsunami-affected areas.

The Collector G. Prakash said welfare schemes in the coastal hamlets would be implemented shortly on an outlay of Rs.13 crore, to be funded by the Asian Development Bank.

The Nanguneri MLA H. Vasanthakumar and the Project Director, District Rural Development Agency F. Abdul Razick, spoke.

Source: The Hindu

Call to ensure hygiene while handling fish

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry conducted a one-day training for fishermen in hygienic handling and better preservation of fish here on Monday.

N. Chandrasekaran, Deputy Director, MPEDA, said the training was aimed at increasing the export of marine products through the Tuticorin port.

"During the last fiscal, only 27,172 tonnes of marine products worth Rs. 613.17 crore were exported through the port vis-à-vis 28,160 tonnes of produce worth Rs. 635.19 crore exported in 2003-04," he said.

V.K. Venkataramani, Dean, Fisheries College and Research Institute, explained the importance of scientific handling of fish in fetching better Unit Value Realization (UVR) for export varieties.

He said fishermen should neither wash their catch in the polluted seawater nor sort it out in the beaches.

Similarly, fish that was thawed at the time of weighing should again be kept at below 20 degree Celsius quickly to retain its freshness during export.

On the precautions to be taken during transportation, Dr. Venkataramani said vehicles used for the purpose should be cleaned and disinfected before the consignment was loaded and its interiors should be free from abnormal odours.

He exhorted the fishermen to establish halls meant for sales at locations where water, electricity and skilled labour were readily available.

"Steps should be taken to fit fly-control nets at the doors and windows of the fish handling halls to maintain hygienic conditions," he added.

S. Ashok Kumar, Junior Technical Officer, MPEDA, also spoke.

Source: The Hindu

Final draft of Annual Credit Plan released

The Collector R. Palaniyandi released final draft of Annual Credit Plan for 2006-07, at the 73rd District Consultative Committee (DCC) meeting for banks convened by State Bank of India (lead bank), here on Wednesday. The tentative figures of the ACP were released on May 31.

The plan envisaged a total credit flow of Rs.1,267.74 crore in the district during the current fiscal, an increase of 11.32 per cent over the previous financial year.

Of this, the estimated credit flow to agricultural sector stands at Rs.637.45 crore, occupying a lion's share of 50.28 per cent. The credit flow to non-farm sector and other priorities sector stands at Rs.300.67 crore (23.72 per cent) and Rs.329.62 crore (26 per cent) respectively.

Later, Dr. Palaniyandi reviewed the performance of the banks in the districts during the current fiscal till July 31.

He said that banks had given direct assistance (without any subsidy component) to the tune of Rs.908.46 lakh to 1,369 groups till July 31.

"During the same period last fiscal, 1,143 groups were credit linked directly to the tune of Rs.1,083.5 lakh."

Under the Swarnajayanthi Grama Swarozgar Yojana, revolving fund assistance was disbursed to 859 beneficiaries between April 1 and July 31 this fiscal.

Similarly, economic assistance was provided to 23 groups by the banks under the SGSY.

A total of 1,390 rural poor received subsidy-linked loans for the construction of houses during the current financial year.

Dr. Palaniyandi said that 46 Swarozgar Credit Cards were distributed till July 31 with a credit limit of Rs.204.43 lakh.

"In the same period, 3,822 Kissan Credit Cards were distributed with an overall credit limit of Rs.14.41 crore," he said.

A. Desingu, Lead Bank Manager, Bharat Kumar, Assistant General Manager, NABARD, and senior bank officials were present.

Source : The Hindu

Milk centre removed

Municipal authorities removed a milk centre run by a franchisee of `Aavin', situated in front of the district court complex here on Wednesday.

The move followed cancellation of its licence by the officials of the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers Federation (Aavin).

Municipal sources told mediapersons that the licence was cancelled after the franchisee "violated four clauses" in the agreement made with the Aavin such as non-commencement of sales within 15 days of signing the contract and failure to remit the deposit amount.

A municipal team led by Senior Town Planning Officer M. Rakkappan supervised the removal of the shop.

Source: The Hindu

A total of 4,892.17 acres identified for land scheme

Rameshram Mishra, Commissioner of Land Administration, reviewed the preparations made by the district administration for the launch of the two-acre land scheme on September 17.

He convened an emergency closed-door meeting with officials of various departments here on Wednesday.

Under the scheme, two-acre land would be distributed to landless agriculture labourers starting on the birth anniversary day of Periyar.

Briefing Mr. Mishra on the preparations, the Collector R. Palaniyandi said the administration had identified 4,892.17 acres free from encroachment, spreading over Kovilpatti, Sattankulam, Tiruchendur, Srivaikundam , Ettayapuram, Ottapidaram, Vilathikulam and Tuticorin taluks.

"From this, 210 acres would be given to 105 beneficiaries at the scheduled inaugural of two-acre land scheme on September 17," Dr. Palaniyandi told Mr. Mishra. Of the selected beneficiaries, 100 persons hail from Pedaneri in Sattankulam taluk and the remaining five were from Chettikurichi in Kovilpatti taluk. The Collector said the administration would develop the wasteland distributed into cultivable land by making use of rural employment schemes and other central-sponsored schemes, shortly.

"Irrigation facilities would be provided to the land," he added.

Mr. Mishra then reviewed the progress made in the regularisation of encroachments in the district.

Dr. Palaniyandi said that 144.75 acres of encroached land, which was regularised, would be distributed to 179 beneficiaries, along with the distribution under two-acre land on September 17.

The Revenue Divisional Officers of Tuticorin, Tiruchendur and Kovilpatti sub-divisions and senior officials from revenue and survey departments attended the meeting.

Source: The Hindu

Senna variety ideal for rainfed farming in southern districts

SENNA (CASSIA angustifolla) is a medicinal plant variety grown predominantly in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

The pods and leaves of the plants are used in confectionery and herbal preparations.

It is also popular in western countries for making `herbal tea.' Nearly 75 per cent of senna produced in India is exported to western countries.

Senna is known as Sonamukhi in Hindi, Nilavaka in Malayalam, Nilavagai in Tamil, Nelaponna in Telugu and Nelavare in Kannada.

Senna crop can be grown both as a rain fed and an irrigated crop. In Tamil Nadu it is grown in the rain fed tracts of Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram and Madurai districts.

Researchers at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore have released a high yielding senna variety called KKM- 1which is suited for growing in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts of Tamil Nadu and is ideal for rain fed cultivation.

"The variety records a leaf yield of about 920 kg per hectare and pod yield of about 350 kg per hectare.

About 5 kg of seeds are required for sowing under irrigated conditions and about 12 kg of seeds are required for sowing under rain fed conditions," said Prof. K. Rajamani, Professor & Head, Medicinal Plants Unit, Horticultural College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore.

The ideal time for sowing is during the month of February. Before sowing, a fertilizer dose of about 250 kg of super phosphate and 70 kg of potash must be applied in the field and ploughed well. About 175 kg of urea must be applied in three split doses on the 45th, 90th and 135th day after sowing.

For irrigated crops, the field should be ploughed into furrows and the seeds must be planted at 45x35 cm on the furrows.

For growing under rain fed conditions the seeds must be sown by broadcasting, according to Prof. Rajamani.

The field must be irrigated immediately after sowing and irrigation continued once every week. The seeds germinate in a week's time. The crop comes to harvest in about four months after sowing. Harvesting is done manually by plucking the matured leaves.

The leaves are graded according to their size and colour. Large and bold leaves and pods having a yellowish green colour are placed in first grade. Brown coloured leaves and smaller pods are placed in the second grade.

There is a general practice of drying the harvested leaves by spreading them on the floor, which results in contamination and affects quality. If the leaves are spread thickly and dried, it results in improper drying.

The appearance and leaf quality deteriorate due to the heat developed inside the thick layer, explained Prof. Rajamani. Improper and delayed drying changes the leaf colour to black, which results in a lower price in the market.

Farmers have to take care to store the harvested produce in a cool and dry environment. The quality of the harvested leaves and pods deteriorates due to high temperature, humidity and poor ventilation in the go downs.

For more information readers can contact Dr. K. Rajamani, Professor & Head, Medicinal plants unit, Horticultural College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, Phone: 0422-5511284,

Source: The Hindu

STC floats fresh global wheat import tender for 16.7 LT

The State Trading Corporation on Wednesday floated a global wheat import tender for 16.7 lakh tonne to augment buffer stock.

The state-owned trading company has already contracted 38.3 lakh tonnes of wheat through four global tenders since February when the Government had allowed the import after a gap of six years.

The decision to allow import was taken against the back drop of lower procurement in the Rabi marketing season, which stood at 92 lakh tonnes, as against the target of 164 lakh tonnes.

The tender closes on September 5.

STC has sought delivery of 16.7 lakh tonnes of imported wheat at seven ports, starting during November to February 15, 2007.

Mumbai, Kandla, New Mangalore and Mundra are the ports in western region while Vizag, Tuticorin and Chennai are the identified ports in the southern coast.

Quality specifications remain same as that of the last round.

With this fresh tender, the agency has sought a total of 55 lakh tonnes of imported wheat so far on behalf of the Food Corporation of India meant for Public Distribution System.

The Government has recently approved additional 20 lakh tonnes import, which included 3.3 lakh tonnes already contracted under the fourth global tender of four lakh tonnes.

The specified parcel size for Mundra stands at 60,000 to 75,000 tonnes, while the size for Mumbai port stands at 25,000 to 35,000 tonnes.

The parcel size for remaining ports has been fixed at 35,000-50,000 tonnes.

STC has sought the maximum quantity of 3.55 lakh tonnes at Vizag port followed by Kandla (3.5 lakh tonnes), Chennai (2.75 lakh tonne), Mundra (2.7 lakh tonnes), Tuticorin (1.95 lakh tonnes), New Mangalore (1.2 lakh tonnes) and Mumbai (1.05 lakh tonnes).

STC has reserved its rights to increase and decrease the quantity to be imported at each port, while finalising the wheat import contract.

Source: The Hindu

Cruise liner service to Tuticorin

Pacific Princess, a cruise liner, anchored in New Mangalore Port at Panambur, near here, on Wednesday. The ship, which sailed into the port from Phuket, Thailand, had 630 passengers on board, according to sources in the traffic department of the New Mangalore Port Trust.

Off the 630 passengers, 266 passengers disembarked and went on a city tour of in 20 buses. The ship, which left the port later in the day, will touch Mumbai and Goa harbours before coming back to New Mangalore Port on September 3. It will then sail to Chennai before returning to Thailand, the sources said.

Incidentally, Pacific Princess is the first cruise liner to dock in New Mangalore Port this financial year. The port handled four cruise vessels in 2005-06 as against eight vessels during the previous year, said sources. According to sources, the Ministry for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways has decided to create port facilities for cruise shipping at New Mangalore Port in addition to other five ports, namely Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, Tuticorin and Chennai. The Ministry of Tourism will give a grant of 25 per cent of the cost of the lounge, estimated to cost Rs. 2.05 crore to this port.

Source : Konkani world

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

`India Quiz' in Tuticorin

The Rotary Club of Tuticorin conducted `India Quiz' as part of its diamond jubilee celebrations in Tuticorin recently.

Of the nine colleges that participated in the preliminary rounds, four were selected for the finals.

In the ensuing thriller, Tuticorin Medical College team represented by Barani Selvam and Maniram Karthik, both final-year MBBS students, emerged victorious defeating Fisheries College and Research Institute, Tuticorin.

The other two finalists were St. Mary's College and A P C Mahalaxmi College, both in Tuticorin.

V.R. Raghuraman, a computer professional based in Tuticorin, was the quizmaster. He posed questions from history, arts, religion, science and sports.

All the finalists were presented with watches and mobile handsets.

Source: The Hindu

378 refugees accommodated at camp in Tuticorin district

Sri Lankan refugees arrived in the district in large numbers on Tuesday morning, after the camps at Mandapam became overcrowded.

In all, 378 refugees belonging to 99 families arrived at the camp run by the district administration at Thappathy under Ettayapuram taluk.

Fifty-four families were accommodated in independent houses and the rest in a school, all situated on the camp premises. The school was chosen as many houses in the camp were in a dilapidated condition.

The refugees were received by the district administration officials and given a sumptuous breakfast.

Collector R. Palaniyandi and Superintendent of Police Y. John Nicholson met the newly-arrived refugees.

Mr. Palaniyandi told The Hindu that those put up at the school would be shifted to houses once the repairs were completed.

He said instructions had been issued to the Deputy Director of Health Services at Kovilpatti to conduct periodic health check-ups. "We have taken steps to ensure drinking water and sanitation facilities to the refugees," he added.

Source: The Hindu

Shipping service between Tuticorin-US

A consortium consisting of ZIM Integrated Shipping Lines, Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), Emirates Shipping Lines (ESL) and MAC Andrews has launched a new service to provide direct service between Tuticorin and the US East Coast. With the service, Tuticorin will be directly connected to the Mediterranean Port of Barcelona through the service.

Called IDX, the regular weekly service will call at Tuticorin every Thursday. Zim will operate three of the eight vessels while SCI and ESL will deploy two vessels each. MAC will deploy one vessel. The port of rotation will be Colombo, Tuticorin, Nhava Sheva, Mundra, Barcelona, New York, Norfolk, Charleston, Barcelona and Colombo.

With the introduction of IDX, Tuticorin became the only port in southern India to be directly connected with Europe and US coast. The transit time will be 25 days to New York, 27 days to Norfolk, 29 days to Charleston and 16 days to Barcelona, the release said.

Source: Times Shipping Journal

Modernisation of Government printing presses under way: Minister

While listing out the efforts to modernise the Tamil Nadu Government printing presses at a cost of Rs.79.76 lakh, State Minister for Information Parithi Ilamvazhuthi said the renovation and modernisation programmes are being implemented in a phased manner.

Speaking after moving the demands of the Information department in the Assembly on Monday, the Minister said steps are being taken to modernise the printing press in Tiruchi, equipping it with the gadgets such as web-offset printing machines at a cost of Rs.53.56 lakh.

While the Government has allocated Rs.55.48 lakh for upgrading the printing press branch at the Madras High Court, the Minister said Rs.2.64 lakh had been allotted for improving the infrastructure facilities in the presses at Pudukottai, Viruduchalam and the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

Pointing out that the Government had earned Rs.18.38 crore by conducting 116 exhibitions, he said a memorial to Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar at Madurai was being raised at a cost of Rs.34 lakh. Freedom fighter Vellayathevan memorial was also being built at Vallanadu in Tuticorin district at a cost of Rs.25 lakh. Work has already begun to build a Manimandapam in honour of Rettamalai Srinivasan on the Gandhi Mandapam campus in Chennai and Rs.19.50 lakh had been allotted for the purpose. Stating that construction works on a memorial for freedom fighter Sundralingam in Governagiri in Tuticorin district at Rs.25 lakh was in the final stages, the Minister said the house of former Assembly Speaker S.B. Athithanar in Sri Vaikundam in Tuticorin district was being converted into a State memorial. Repair works have been completed at a cost of Rs.7.50 lakh.

Developmental works have been completed at Gandhi Mandapam, Kamarajar and Bhakthavatsalam memorials at a cost of Rs.29 lakh. The Minister said repair works of the tsunami- affected Perarignar Anna Memorial and Dr.M.G.R. Memorial on the Marina Beach have been taken up at a cost of Rs.109.50 lakh.

On the renovation of Rajaji Hall, the Minister said it was decided to take up the work through the grant in aid from the Finance Commission at a cost of Rs.1 crore.

While the Government has renamed the Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu as "M.G.R. Film and Television Institute," the Minister said efforts were under way to renovate the Kalaivanar Arangam in Chennai and also allow screening of preview shows of commercial films.

Referring to the initiatives of the journalist-friendly measures including provision of pension, the Minister said the Government has decided to provide Rs.2 lakh to the families of journalists who die in harness after 20 years of service, Rs.1.5 lakh for 15 years of service, Rs.1 lakh for 10 years of service and Rs.50,000 for 5 years of service.

Source : The Hindu

MT Tuticorin commissioned

M T Tuticorin, a new tug built at a cost of Rs 25.64 crore was inducted in to service at Thoothukudi port, on Tuesday.

Chairman of Tuticorin Port Trust, NK Raghupathy inaugurated operations of the boat, at a function organised at the port. Speaking on the occasion, he said, ‘‘it is the first time that a tug vessel with capacity to haul in 40- tonne vessels has been added for operation under the Tuticorin Port Trust.’’

The tug, which should have been inducted into service this March, was delayed due to the tsunami and other factors, he added. Describing the unique feature of the tug vessel, he said, the two other tugs existing with the port have the capacity to pull cargo vessels 265 metres long, while the new tug vessel can pull cargo vessels up to 300 metres in length.

He further said that the tug was equipped with fire fighting devices and special machines and that it could also be used as in rescue operations at sea.

Among its other features, the tug been fitted out with a Voith Schneider Propulsion (VST) system that allows greater maneuverability in all directions, he said.

The tug was designed by TEBMA Shipyards limited and her ‘vital statistics’ include: Pollard Pull-45 ton, Max Speed-12 knots, Length-32 metre, Breath-10.65 metre, Depth-4.7 metre and Draught-5.3 metre A demonstration of the fire fighting ability of the tug was demonstrated following the commissioning of the vessel.

Source: New Indian Express

Kadapa, Tuticorin, Kollam get literacy awards

Chang-lang in Arunachal Pradesh and Hanumangarh in Rajasthan have been selected for their total literacy drive.

The districts were selected by a committee headed by Dr. M. Mathew (UNESCO), National Literacy Mission executive member Palode Ravi, National Open School Director K.R. Chandrasekhar, Mumbai University Director Vananda Chakravarty and National Literacy Mission convener A.M. Rajasekhar.

The awards would be presented here on September 8, coinciding with the National Literacy day, Human Resource Development Ministry, sources said on Tuesday.

The committee suggested that the award winning districts be given a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh each from next year.

Source: The Hindu

Tuticorin district of TN set to increase cotton production and productivity

Cotton production in the district of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu is set to scale new heights at a time when the demand of raw cotton is on a rise...

The Department of Agriculture is planning to implement Intensive Cotton Development Scheme under Mini Mission II of Technology Mission on Cotton in the district on an outlay of Rs. 17.05 lakh to increase production and productivity of quality cotton.

Under the Intensive Cotton Development Scheme, it aims to increase the area under cotton cultivation from 8,000 hectares in the last financial year to 11,250 ha before the end of the current fiscal. Also productivity will be increased from 117 kg of lint a hectare achieved in the last fiscal to 355 kg.

Financial assistance to the tune of Rs. 1.9 lakh will be extended to select farmers for production of certified seeds from the breeder seeds. The department will be distributing 10 kg of breeder seeds to the farmers for the production of foundation seeds at the farmers' holdings itself.

The seeds thus multiplied will be procured by the department and once again multiplied into certified seeds at different farms. A total of 7, 000 kg of certified seeds are expected to be produced and later distributed to farmers at a rate of Rs. 20 a kg to ensure higher yield.

Under this scheme, farmers will be distributed seed treatment chemicals worth Rs. 4,200 to kill pathogens, if any, in the seeds, prior to sowing. Application of chemicals would avoid seed-borne diseases in the plant.

Besides, 12 pheromone traps, costing Rs. 63,000, to control the field pests, and bio-control agents worth Rs. 2.02 lakh will also be distributed to the farmers. Bio-control agents such as Basillus thuringiensis and Azadirectin will help combat bollworms.

The rest of the fund will be used to distribute hand and power sprayers (Rs. 4.56 lakh), 22,900 packets of bio-fertilizers (Rs. 34,400), four tons of micro nutrient mixture and miscellaneous expenses.

Source: Yarns and Fibers

SEZ for tea in CBE sought

The South India Tea Exporters' Association (SITEA) has sought to set up a Special Economic Zone for tea here, as more than 60 per cent of the exports from South was originating from Coimbatore.

The city was also considered to be an ideal place for doing pre-export obligations like blending, packing, before transporting the containers to the Ports of exporters' choice at Cochin, Tuticorin and Chennai, a SITEA release said today.

The appeal was made at the 3rd annual general meeting of the association held here recently, it said.

The meeting elected R K Agarwal Chairman and Mahesh Bajaj as Vice-Chairman of SIETA for 2006-07.

Manosh Choudhury, Dipak Shah,U V Saraf, Hemant J Shah, V Mani, Rony Elias Tharakan and Hemen Shah, were elected members of the managing committee, the release said. (Agencies)

Source : Chennai Online

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pearl Cruise II' to operate passenger service between Colombo and Tuticorin

"Pearl Cruise II" the passenger ship which can carry 720 passengers at a time is currently berthed at the Ashroff jetty codbay, Trincomalee awaiting to operate a passenger service between Colombo and Tuticorin in India commencing in mid August. This vessel registered in Sri Lanka and flying the Sri Lankan flag is owned by Pearl Cruise Line (Pvt) Ltd.

The ship is fully air-conditioned and is equipped with safety equipment. She has a duty free shop, a perfume shop, a bar and two cafeterias. With a Sri Lankan crew 'Pearl cruise II' is skippered by captain G. Rupadeva, an ex Sri Lanka Navy Commander.

Passengers in midsea requiring urgent treatment whether it be a Sick or injured passenger can be air lifted. Arrangements have been made to summon a helicopter for an emergency.

There is a space to keep the patient on top deck and the helicopter can lower the winch wire, hook the patient and lift him or her to the helicopter.

Source: Daily News, Sri Lanka

Chennai, Tuticorin ports gearing up

CHENNAI and Tuticorin ports are gearing up to handle large quantities of wheat imports (in bulk). The consignment are likely to start arriving from next month.

Both the ports, which have handled raw sugar (in bulk) in the last few months, have made necessary infrastructure arrangements to handle the import cargo, officials told Business Line.

According to Mr N.K. Raghupathy, Chairman, Tuticorin Port Trust, the port's advantage is being a clean port and it is the best to handle foodgrain.

The port can handle 15,000 tonnes a day with three cranes. This means a vessel with 40,000 tonnes of wheat can be discharged in three days, he said.

A Chennai Port Trust official said wheat vessel would be given berth on arrival and would be allotted West Quay berths, which are clean. The port too handled raw sugar in bulk.

There would not be any contamination and any effect on the cargo due to the coal dust, the official said.

There is also enough space inside the port to store wheat and do packaging.

The port trust would provide cranes, grabs and storage spaces while the stevedores would bring in tippers and machines for packing, the official said.

Source: The Hindu

Devananda goes to Jaffna with Tuticorin Merchants

Social services and social welfare Minister Douglas Devananda using his personal contacts with the merchants of Tuticorin in South India has granted them permission to sell essential food items to Jaffna.

At a media briefing held at the Parliamentary complex the Minister stated that the merchants of Tuticorin has been granted permission to bring essential food items to Jaffna to meet the food shortage there.

The minister says that transporting food from South India by boats is much quicker and easier than sending from Colombo.

He further stated that neither the Indian government nor the Tamil Nadu government is involved in this arrangement.

He said that 11376 families are displaced and 5578 are living in refugee camps in Jaffna as a result of the war.

Source: Lanka e News

Colombo Tuticorin ferry service from Sept

The Colombo - Tuticorin passenger ship service will commence at the end of September this year, announced the Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Minister of Port Development Shipping, Eastern Development and Muslim Religious Affairs Rauff Hakeem.

The Minister's announcement follows discussions held between the Minister and the visiting Indian shipping delegation headed by the Chairman of the Tuticorin Port Trust N. K. Ragupathy, at the Ministry yesterday.

Five Weekly trips would be operated between the two countries and each passenger would be allowed to carry baggage of 50-70 kgs. A single way passage is expected to cost between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 3.500.

A special visa counter will be opened at the passenger terminal of the Colombo Port, for issuing visas on the same day.

Source: Daily News, Sri Lanka


Tuticorin Port, the Gateway Port of Southern India, is registering consistent growth every year in handling of containers and cargo. New records in cargo handling are created every year. In order to enhance the volume of cargo and container handled through Tuticorin Port, the Port is taking various initiatives with the Steamer Agents, Liners and Port users etc. by offering various concessions/relaxations. To facilitate direct shipment of containers to destinations without transhipment in foreign Ports, the Port has been encouraging deployment of main line container vessels.

Taking advantage of the thrust given by the Port, two direct main line services viz. INDAMEX service to USA and Euro Galax were introduced in 2001 and 2003 respectively. The Euro Galax service operated upto Europe with seven vessels of 1800 TEUs capacity was found to be highly advantageous for direct shipment to Europe. Following the heavy demand for this service, the size of the vessels deployed was increased to 2800 TEUs capacity from January, 2004 and the service was upgraded and re-designated as "Round The World" service with the following Port rotation.

Tuticorin > Colombo > Port Said > Felixstowe > Rotterdam > Hamburg > Port Elizabeth > New Port > Charleston > Kingston > Long Beach > Oakland > Shanghai > Ningbao > Xlamen > Chiwan > Singapore > Port K'Lang > Jebel Ali > Mundra > NSICT > Tuticorin. It takes 90 days for the vessel to complete one circle.

Presently, the above service is operated by a consortium consisting of M/s.CSAV Norasia and M/s.Gold Star Lines.

To facilitate direct shipment by catering to the requirement of the entire Southern Region and thereby achieving cost reduction and ensuring quick transit of containers, M/s.CSAV Norasia along with M/s.Gold Star Lines have further upgraded the service by deploying vessels of more than 4,000 TEUs capacity. M/s.CSAV Norasia have deployed 10 vessels and M/s.Gold Star have deployed 3 vessels in the service. These vessels would call at Tuticorin Port on every Wednesday at 08:00 hrs. and sail at 23:00 hrs.

The first vessel in the upgraded services viz. M.V.'NORASIA ATRIA' called at Tuticorin Port on 7.6.2006 for unloading 254 TEUs and loading 391 TEUs. M.V.'NORASIA ATRIA', built in 2004, is the longest vessel with 265m ever to call at Tuticorin Port. The vessel has a capacity to carry 4298 TEUs with 13 rows across the ship. Incidentally, this is the biggest container vessel ever to call at any Port in southern India. The advantages of deploying bigger vessels are that the existing restriction on booking can be eliminated and the transhipment at Colombo Port can be reduced. The vessel is expected to handle about 1200 TEUs in a voyage against 750 TEUs in the previous calls. The EXIM Trade will be assured of direct connectivity to destinations in Europe and US without transhipment. Therefore, the exporters are expected to achieve reduction in cost and quick transit as they are assured of reliable service.

With the existing infrastructure at Tuticorin Port, vessels upto 245 m length have been berthed until now. However in line with the initiative to upgrade the services, Tuticorin Port has permitted to berth vessels of more than 245m length subject to certain restrictions. Taking advantage of this latest concession announced by the Port, M/s.CSAV Norasia have introduced the upgraded RTW services with bigger vessels of 265m length.

Further, Tuticorin Port is known for the unmatched high level of productivity in handling of containers compared to any other Port in India. The excellent productivity rate at the Tuticorin Container Terminal enables the vessel to complete operation in much lesser time, thereby reducing the operational cost and maintaining window at next Port. Another important aspect for the consistent growth rate of Tuticorin Port is the well coordinated and congenial relations among the four sectors involved in container handling viz. the Port, the Customs, the Terminal Operator and the Agents. The Port is also embarking on Inner Harbour development at an estimated cost of Rs.685 crores and the existing draft of 10.7m will be increased to 12.8m shortly to attract more main line vessels and many users including M/s.CSAV Norasia are expected to upgrade their services. All these factors are expected to make Tuticorin Port, a vibrant hub Port in Southern India.
At a function organized onboard the vessel, the Master of the vessel, Capt. Taylor Gregor from the United Kingdom was greeted by Shri S.Natarajan, FA&CAO/TPT with a shawl and memento. The FA&CAO wished the service success and stated that the upgraded service would reduce the transit time, transportation cost as well as transhipment and also referred to the concerted efforts taken by the Chairman, Port Trust both in India and Abroad to upgrade the services. Shri Samuel Benett, Branch Manager of M/s.CSAV Group Agencies (India) Pvt. Ltd., Shri S.Mahalingam, Financial Controller and Company Secretary, M/s.PSA SICAL, S/Shri Madhusoodhanan, Anand Morais, Karthikeya Prabhu and other Trade representatives were present in the function.

The EXIM Trade of the entire South India is expected to be immensely benefitted by the upgraded service.

Source: Public Relations Officer, Tuticorin Port Trust


Shri N.K. Raghupathy, Chairman, Tuticorin Port is glad to inform that Tuticorin Port has created a new record on 29.5.2006 by unloading 12,620 MT of "Lime Stone" from the vessel mv."FORCE RANGER" at VOC Berth No.III. This is the highest quantity of "Lime Stone" unloaded in a single day so far in the Port. The previous record was 8093 MT on 26.10.2003 per vessel mv."JAG VIKRAM". M/s. Vilsons Shipping Pvt.Ltd., Tuticorin are the steamer agents and M/s.South India Corporation Ltd., Tuticorin are the stevedores for the vessel.

Shri N.K.Raghupathy, I.A.S., Chairman, Port Trust has stated the above in a Press Release issued Aug 11.

Source: Public Relations Officer, Tuticorin Port Trust

Outstanding research wins her Nehru award

C.P. Suja, Technical Officer at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) in Tuticorin, has brought laurels to the institution by winning the Jawaharlal Nehru award for the Outstanding Post-Graduate Agricultural Research for 2005.

She received the award, which was instituted by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research to recognise the achievements, at a function held in New Delhi recently.

Ms Suja, a native of Thrissur in Kerala, received the award for developing tissue culture technology to produce pearls from abalone, a mollusc variety of animal like the oysters, mussels and cuttlefish, under laboratory conditions.

She said that the technology had distinct advantages over the conventional technologies adopted to produce pearls from abalone.

"Since the technology was a laboratory-based one, colour manipulation in pearls was possible to suit customers' needs," Ms. Suja added.

Moreover, pearls could be produced in large quantities.

According to her, the technology could be used for the production of round pearls through `in vitro' tissue culture on a commercial basis.

Source: The Hindu

Call to ensure hygiene while handling fish

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry conducted a one-day training for fishermen in hygienic handling and better preservation of fish here on Monday.

N. Chandrasekaran, Deputy Director, MPEDA, said the training was aimed at increasing the export of marine products through the Tuticorin port.

"During the last fiscal, only 27,172 tonnes of marine products worth Rs. 613.17 crore were exported through the port vis-à-vis 28,160 tonnes of produce worth Rs. 635.19 crore exported in 2003-04," he said.

V.K. Venkataramani, Dean, Fisheries College and Research Institute, explained the importance of scientific handling of fish in fetching better Unit Value Realization (UVR) for export varieties.

He said fishermen should neither wash their catch in the polluted seawater nor sort it out in the beaches.

Similarly, fish that was thawed at the time of weighing should again be kept at below 20 degree Celsius quickly to retain its freshness during export.


On the precautions to be taken during transportation, Dr. Venkataramani said vehicles used for the purpose should be cleaned and disinfected before the consignment was loaded and its interiors should be free from abnormal odours.

He exhorted the fishermen to establish halls meant for sales at locations where water, electricity and skilled labour were readily available.

"Steps should be taken to fit fly-control nets at the doors and windows of the fish handling halls to maintain hygienic conditions," he added.

S. Ashok Kumar, Junior Technical Officer, MPEDA, also spoke.

Source: The Hindu

Cotton production to scale a new high

Cotton production in the district is set to scale new heights at a time when the demand of raw cotton is on a rise following the abolition of export quotas in the textile sector effective January 1, 2005.

To increase production and productivity of quality cotton, the Department of Agriculture plans to implement Intensive Cotton Development Scheme under Mini Mission II of Technology Mission on Cotton in the district on an outlay of Rs. 17.05 lakh.

"Our aim is to increase the area under cotton cultivation from 8,000 hectares in the last financial year to 11,250 ha before the end of the current fiscal," said Shahul Hameed, Joint Director of Agriculture.

Similarly, productivity would be increased from 117 kg of lint a hectare achieved in the last fiscal to 355 kg.

On the salient features of the scheme, Mr. Hameed said financial assistance to the tune of Rs. 1.9 lakh would be extended to select farmers for production of certified seeds from the breeder seeds.

The department would distribute 10 kg of breeder seeds to the farmers for the production of foundation seeds at the farmers' holdings itself, he said.

The seeds thus multiplied will be procured by the department and once again multiplied into certified seeds at different farms.

A total of 7, 000 kg of certified seeds were expected to be produced and later distributed to farmers at a rate of Rs. 20 a kg to ensure higher yield, Mr Hameed said.

On the other components of the scheme, he said seed treatment chemicals worth Rs. 4,200 would be distributed to kill pathogens, if any, in the seeds, prior to sowing. Application of chemicals would avoid seed-borne diseases in the plant.

Besides, 12 pheromone traps, costing Rs. 63,000, to control the field pests, and bio-control agents worth Rs. 2.02 lakh would also be distributed to the farmers. Bio-control agents such as Basillus thuringiensis and Azadirectin would help combat bollworms, he said. The rest of the fund would be used to distribute hand and power sprayers (Rs. 4.56 lakh), 22,900 packets of bio-fertilizers (Rs. 34,400), four tonnes of micro nutrient mixture and miscellaneous expenses.

Source : The Hindu

Sensitisation programme begins

The Collector R. Palaniyandi inaugurated a sensitisation programme on `child protection rights' organised by the Indian Council for Child Welfare, Tamil Nadu (ICCWT) here on Saturday.

The parents should never make any attempt to `realise' the dreams through their children, by compelling them to take up a particular career, which the youth may not like it, the Collector said.

S. Anathalakshmi, honorary director, ICCWT, said the principles of United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child should be followed strictly to help the children meet their basic needs properly.

"The core principles of the convention such as non-discrimination; right to life, survival and development; devotion to the best interests of the child; and respect the views of the child, were important for the harmonious development of any child." She said a total of 2,908 children across the State were empowered on their rights in the last one year, starting September 2005, by the ICCWT through awareness workshops.

Of them, 1,516 were boys and the remaining girls, she added.

Source: The Hindu

Sixth leg of rally flagged off

"It was an adventure tourism with difference". That's how the participants of the 16 teams in the `Indian Autorickshaw Challenge-2006' described the event, just before they embarked on the sixth leg of the rally from Tuticorin to Courtallam on Saturday.

The eight-day rally constituted by 16 autorickshaws, which started from Chennai on August 21, reached Tuticorin on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, the Superintendent of Police John Nicholson flagged off the sixth leg of the rally here.

Of the 16 teams, only two belonged to India.

For Thessaly Chance, a danseuse from Asheville at North Carolina in the United States of America, who is on her second trip to India, the journey is providing a better insight into the culture and tradition of Tamil Nadu.

She came to know about the rally after landing in Chennai recently to attend Bharatanatyam classes and did not hesitate to book her seat in the rally.

She finds noticeable changes in the State for good since her last visit to the region in 1997. "Streets had become a bit cleaner, lesser number of beggars, no hand-drawn rickshaws and of course a more number of auto rickshaws," she said.

She said that the experiences during the rally in an auto rickshaw would be `translated' into a memoir, which would be published as a book.

Nicholas Gibbs, a freelance journalist based in London also has a plan to reproduce the `adventures' and `heroics' in leading dailies in England.

"It's indeed a thrilling experience to travel by an autorickshaw since it offered better view of the country side than by travelling in a closed car," he said.

Senthil Kumar, a differently abled person from Coimbatore was also a participant.

Some of autorickshaws were modified fabulously for the rally. The one driven by Pavel Smirov (Russia) and his team was fitted with a refrigerator and air coolers.

Ejji Umamahesh, organiser of the rally, said the revenue generated out of the rally through entry fees and sponsorships would be donated to a non-governmental organisation, which works towards prevention of child abuse.

Source: The Hindu

India dispatches egg shipment after becoming bird flu free

India has resumed egg exports by dispatching its first egg shipment to Muscat after the country declared itself free from Bird flu, trade sources said.

All world countries had stopped importing eggs from India after the country witnessed bird-flu outbreak in Maharashtra during last February. However, the Union government took various steps including culling lakhs of birds to check the outbreak and succeeded.

Subsequently in the second week of August, the Indian government has declared that the country was free from the bird-flu and the same was intimated to World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE), also known as Organisation of International Epidemia, an intergovernmental organisation where 167 countries including India are members.

Following this, OIE has intimated all its member countries by publishing the Indian government’s ‘birdflu-free status’ claim report on August 17 on its website, paving way for India restarting its egg exports after a gap of six months, said All India

Poultry Products Exporters Association (AIPPEA) general secretary P Valsan to FE.

Valsan said that, Oman (Muscat) was the first country that evinced interest in re-starting egg imports from India after the coutry’s ‘bird flu — free’ status.

He said the Indian poultry industry has dispatched two containers of eggs (4.72 lakh eggs per container) to Muscat through Tuticorin port last week.

Following Oman lifting egg ban on India, he said that other Arabian countries including Dubai and Qatar also have initiated negotiations with the

Indian poultry industry for egg imports. He said that the country would export minimum nine containers of eggs daily in near future.

Hoping for regular orders from outside countries, the Indian poultry industry is gearing up to increase the table egg production in the weeks to come.

However, Valsan said that the egg prices also have been surging after the country resumed egg exports after six months.

Currently, the egg prices jumped to Rs 1.30 from 1.20 and is expected to increase by 20 paise per unit in a month’s time. Before the birdflu outbreak, India was exporting 3.6 lakh eggs every day, primarily to Gulf countries.

Source : Finiancial Express

Monday, August 28, 2006

AWB sells 45,000 tn wheat to southern mills

Roller mills in south India have contracted import of 45,000 tonne wheat from Australia’s AWB at $229 a tonne, a Chennai-based dealer said.

He said of the total order, 27,500 tonne would be delivered at Tuticorin port in November and the rest at the Chennai port in December. The millers are negotiating another deal with AWB for about 45,000-50,000 tonne at $231.50 a tonne.

The deal, however, is yet to be finalised.

A Bangalore-based miller said AWB wheat would cost a little over Rs 12,000 a tonne at mill gate after adding 5.1 per cent duty, clearing and gunny charges, phytosanitary clearance and inland transportation charges.

Source: Business Stnadard

Sunday, August 27, 2006

$216-$247/tn bid for MMTC’s 1.2 lakh tn wheat import

MMTC Ltd, the state-run trading firm, has received bids from Glencore, AC Toepfer and MTPL in the range of $216-$247 (approx Rs 10,037-11,478) a tonne, on a cost-and-freight basis, for its tender to import 1.05-1.20 lakh tonne wheat, a government official said on Friday.

He said MMTC’s wholly-owned Singapore-based subsidiary MTPL has offered the lowest bid at $216 a tonne. However, it is also offering the lowest quantity of 27,000 tonne.

Glencore has offered to sell 1.05 lakh tonne wheat for $223-$247 a tonne for different ports and periods of delivery, while AC Toepfer has offered 1.25 lakh tonne wheat at $219-$227 a tonne.
The official added the bids would be subjected to technical evaluation before any offers are finalised.

The state-run trading firm is seeking to buy 1.05-1.20 lakh tonne of wheat in the tender, but has kept open an option to buy a lower or higher quantity, as needed, in multiple lots. The trading firm is seeking wheat in consignments of 25,000-50,000 tonne for delivery during September-October at Visakhapatnam, Tuticorin, New Mangalore, Diamond Harbour or Kolkata ports.

In its previous tender to import 50,000 tonne wheat in July, the firm had decided to buy the foodgrain from MTPL at $179 a tonne, on a cost-and-freight basis.

Source : Financial Express

Vacancies hit functioning of consumer fora

Vacancies continue to plague the functioning of district consumer disputes redress fora even three months after a new government assumed office in Tamil Nadu.

As on date, out of the 30 fora, 21 have become defunct as the posts of president and member remain vacant, resulting in delay in the disposal of cases.

Official sources say the situation in the various fora is bad. For instance, the Madurai forum has neither the president nor the two Members.

While the posts of president and a member have been vacant since July 15 this year, the other member's post has been vacant since August 29 last.

In Chengalpattu, the forum is non-functional, as it has no president and short of a member. The post of a member in the Nilgiris district has not been filled since April 2001. Similarly, the Salem forum has not had a member for the past three years.

Out of the six combined district fora, (the president of one forum is in-charge of the forum of the neighbouring district too), the Salem-Dharmapuri, Dindigul-Pudukottai, Sivaganga-Ramanathapuram, Vellore-Tiruvannamalai and Chengalpattu-Villupuram fora are not functioning.

Only the Tirunelveli-Tuticorin combined fora are working. In all, two posts of presidents and 45 posts of members (22 males and 23 females) are vacant.

Source : The Hindu

Child-care workers demonstrate

Around 200 child-care (Anganwadi) and noon-meal workers demonstrated in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, on August 2 for a multi-point log of demands. The protesters marched to the municipal office and held a rally.

They called on the state government to transfer meal centre employees to time-scale pay, which provides for periodical increments, and upgrade centre organisers’ pay to the level of secondary grade teachers. They also demanded the disbursement of monthly pensions to retired workers. The Tamil Nadu Noon Meal Employees Association and the Tamil Nadu Anganwadi Employees Welfare Association called the demonstration.

Source : Workers Struggles, Asia

Govt nod for import of 20 lakh tonne wheat

The government has allowed import of an additional 20 lakh tonne of wheat at zero customs duty as part of the measures to meet the shortfall for the public distribution system (PDS).
The imports will be made by Food Corporation of India by February 28, 2007. The imports will be allowed only through Chennai, Tuticorin, Cochin and Vishakhapatanam ports, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notice.

DGFT said the public notice is being issued in accordance with the ad-hoc order issued by the finance ministry on August 14 for exemption of customs duty on import of wheat.

The current 20 lakh tonne of wheat is in addition to the 38.30 lakh tonne of wheat State Trading Corporation is importing at zero-duty. State-owned firms MMTC and PEC are importing 40,000 tonne of wheat each for private traders at 5% customs duty.

The government had targeted to procure about 160 lakh tonne of wheat from farmers by July 1 this year to maintain buffer stock for PDS, but has managed to buy only 92 lakh tonne so far.

The government had, in February this year, allowed wheat imports after a six-year gap. Since February, STC has floated four tenders for import of 39 lakh tonne of wheat. Of this, 38.30 lakh tonne has been contracted from global suppliers like Swiss firm Agrico Trade and Australia's AWB.

Source : Business Standard

Friday, August 25, 2006

Cruise Liner for Tuticorin

A peaceful retreat to exotic Indian tourist destinations in a cruise vessel is becoming a popular way of “chilling out” for international and domestic travellers.

There has been an increase of over 48 per cent in international cruise vessels which call at Indian ports. And a hike of 28 per cent in cruise liners which operate only within Indian ports, catering mostly to domestic tourists.

Mumbai Port, the home port for cruise tourism, has seen a substantial increase in international cruise liners, up from 21 to 31 calls. There were 127 calls for domestic cruises this year compared to 99 last year.

The government has created a string of ports for cruise calls, including the ports of Mumbai, Kochi, Tuticorin, Goa and New Mangalore. The cruise season is between October to May.

Indian waters will see the entry of cruise major Costa Cruises, which has ordered eight cruise ships, of its renowned Costa Marina. This is apart from Star Cruise Liner’s vessel “Super Star Libra” which will also ply to various destinations, starting from October.

This cruise season, Indian shores will also be host to bigger cruise vessels like Queen Elizabeth-2 of Cunard Lines, Amsterdam of Holland-America and Oriana of P&O Cruises. Queen Elizabeth is of 70,327 gross registered tonne (GRT) while Oriana is 69,153 GRT.

Realising that India is becoming a popular international destination, most cruise majors are calling at the country’s ports. The list includes Costa Cruises, Silversea Lines, Noble Caledonia, Phoenix Reisen, Compagnie Cruises, Japan Cruise Lines, Crystal Cruises, Holiday Kreuzfahrten and Saga Shipping.

Oceania Cruises, Hapag Lloyd and Princess Cruises, which were there in India last year, will continue to be here.

Meher Bhandara, general manager of Travel Corporation of India, which handles over 10 cruise vessels, said: “The Caribbean region, which was the prime cruise tourism spot, has stagnated. With addition of cruise vessels and constant look out for new areas, India is emerging as a hot favourite with tourists.”

Mumbai Port Senior Assistant Docks Manager Gautam Dey said the port alone had handled 66,681 domestic tourists and 24,400 international tourists for cruise shipping.

“This year we expect domestic travellers will cross one lakh and international tourists, over 35,000,” he said.

Earlier, a high power steering group under the chairmanship of the minister for shipping, with the Union minister of tourism and culture as co-chairperson, had been set up to formulate a cruise shipping policy with the objective of making India a major cruise tourism destination.

Source: Business Standard

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mixed response to Tuticorin Port's offer of concessions

The recent announcement in the Web site of the Tuticorin Port Trust offering incentives to raw cashew vessels avoiding Kochi port has evoked mixed response among the shipping and trade circles here.

While majority of the port users have resented the statement of Tuticorin port authorities, some of the users attributed it to competition between neighbouring ports in the country.

A top official in the port pointed out that competition between the Government-owned departments is essential and a healthy race will help the growth of the two organisations.

At the same time, making a precondition not to visit a particular port while announcing such incentives is not the right way, he added.

But a former senior port official said that even though it is unethical, it could not be said that it is illegal.

In a competitive environment, he said these types of strategies could be expected from any port. Kochi has take up proper marketing initiative and reduce rates to woo importers.

Considering the surge in the raw cashew imports, he suggested that the Kochi port take up aggressive marketing efforts and reduce charges.

There is an impression among the trade circles that the rates at Kochi are too high compared to the neighbouring ports. The port officials should step in to counter this by scaling down the rates, he said.

Senior sources said that the offer of TPT is totally unethical at a time when the ports are approaching the TAMP to increase the scale of rates.

There is no harm in reducing the rates to attract cargo. But there is no point in instructing vessels not to visit a particular port as a condition to avail such concessions.

He, however, pointed out that the Kochi port can take credit from the offering of TPT as it considers Kochi as its major threat in the days to come in terms of cargo handling as well as vessel arrivals.

A trade union leader in the port said that these concessions and rebates form part of marketing the port.

Such healthy competition between major ports is not something to be alarmed about, especially in the case of raw cashew, as the processing centre - Kollam is roughly equidistant from both Kochi and Tuticorin.

Until recently, competition was between shipping companies. Now every port had started its own strategy for competition.

Hence, Kochi should also compete by installing top class cargo handling equipment and facilities. The port should also aim to attract especially dry bulk and break bulk ships.

Source: World Cargo News

Airtel Services In Tuticorin

Monday, July 04, 2005 10:44:27 AM

With an investment of Rs 210 million, Airtel has begun the roll-out of broadband services in Tiruchirappalli, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu.

Beginning with Salem, Airtel broadband and telephone services have been launched and expanded to eight other cities in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. Presently, these services are available in Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruppur, Vellore, Hosur and Pondicherry. The areas targeted in Salem include Fairlands, Four Roads, Shevapet and Bazaar.

Besides Tamil Nadu, the company provides broadband and telephone services to Haryana, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Bharti has partnered with telecom firms like Siemens, ECI, Lucent and Duraline for its network.

Source: EFY News Network

Job opportunity for the unemployed poor

The municipal administration here will provide profitable job opportunities for the unemployed or underemployed poor belonging to the 10,379 below poverty line families residing within the town limit, on an outlay of Rs.12.1 lakh during the current fiscal.

The fund was allocated on 75:25 basis between the Centre and State under the Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana.

According to S.A. Rajagopal, municipal engineer, the entire scheme is divided into two distinct components namely Urban Self-Employment Programme (USEP) and Urban Wage Employment Programme (UWEP), for its easy implementation.

"Under the USEP, assistance will be provided to individual beneficiaries to make them employable."

Mr. Rajagopal said 62 persons would be trained in trades like computer, nursing, tailoring, etc., all at a cost of Rs.1.25 lakh.

Besides, financial assistance would be extended to women self-help groups under a sub-scheme titled `Development of Women and Children in the Urban Areas (DWCUA)'.
"An amount of Rs.3.75 lakh was earmarked as subsidy under the DWUCA to 13 women SHGs," he said.
Apart from the subsidy, Rs.1.60 lakh would be disbursed as revolving fund to select eight women SHGs, which were registered as thrift and credit society.

Further, self-employment subsidy to the tune of Rs.1.25 lakh would be given to the banks towards lending loans to eligible individuals under the USEP.

On the UWEP component, Mr. Rajagopal said Rs.4.80 lakh was allocated for the construction of one black top road and one drain in the town.

"These infrastructure development works provide employment to people below poverty line within the jurisdiction of urban local bodies," he added.

He said Rs.1.47 lakh out of the total project cost of Rs.12.1 lakh, would be utilised to conduct awareness campaigns on women development schemes and measures to counter Chikungunya.

Source: The Hindu

Upgrading infrastructure essential to woo investments to southern districts

Expansion of Tuticorin port, upgrading Madurai airport and enhancing power generation are the immediate needs of southern districts to invite investment. Formation of special economic zones and four and six-laning of highways are essential to upgrade infrastructure.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) looks at industrialisation as a necessity to retain young talent, to prevent migration and put a stop to violence and caste clashes. Its Tamil Nadu chairman Sanjay Jayavarthanavelu is for the creation of new industry and region-specific clusters— a printing cluster around Sivakasi and a textile processing cluster around Madurai. The confederation has already taken up with the State Government the formation of a multi-special economic zone in the Madurai-Virudhunagar-Tuticorin corridor for textiles, chemicals, auto components, marine and engineering.

Member of State Planning Commission, T. Kannan, is confident that Tuticorin could emerge as an international logistics hub and Sivakasi as the printing capital of the world with the right infrastructure.

Modernisation and expansion of the Madurai airport is in progress. But the travelling public, trade and industry look to the Government to formulate a comprehensive scheme, taking into account the needs arising in the next 15 years. Ligi George, chairman of CII, Madurai region, says that the existing runway should be expanded to a distance of 9,000 feet and another one should be added to accommodate international flights. Introduction of international flights should gain priority over upgrading Madurai into an international airport.

The runway in the Tuticorin airport, which was revived recently with the introduction of a flight to Chennai, should be extended to 9,000 feet from 4,500 feet.

The expansion of the Tuticorin inner harbour at an outlay of Rs. 835 crore has been cleared by the Ministry of Environment. But the industry wants the Government to take up the development of outer harbour, which is expected to cost Rs. 3,610 crore. The draught of the harbour should be increased to 14.5 metres in order to accommodate bigger vessels after the commissioning of Sethusamudram ship channel.

Though many four-laning projects have been taken up in the region, there is need for six-laning of highways, especially the Madurai-Tuticorin and Madurai-Kanyakumari sections. Madurai has an inland container terminal but exporters and importers prefer the highway. Doubling of Tuticorin-Madurai-Chennai section will facilitate free movement of cargo, besides decongesting traffic on highways.

The confederation has suggested a survey of the energy demand for the next decade for south Tamil Nadu, taking into account the upcoming power generation plants at Koodankulam and Tuticorin.

The Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry wants the Government to encourage power generation from renewable sources.

Production of bio-diesel should be encouraged and windmill clusters formed in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts.

Source : The Hindu

Now, charity begins at mela

It was a show of talent of different kind at the fourth edition of `Mahalir Mela.'

The mela,, an annual event organised by the Inner Wheel Club of Tuticorin, was held at the Sri Rajeswari Kalyana Mandapam in Tuticorin on Tuesday.

As part of the event, competitions in rangoli, flower arrangement, vegetable carving, group dance, vocal and classical solo dance were conducted for women above 15 years.

In the rangoli segment, competitors through their works spread the message of `Vaccination to all children', `Say no to smoking' and `Fight against dowry'.

The exciting section of all competitions was the `recipe display.'

Mouth-watering dishes were prepared and exhibited attractively.

It included mixed `fruit kheer' made of seasonal fruits, milk, rice, butter, custard powder, sugar and dry fruits, `halwa' made of banana and sweets prepared using mango and different types of pudding.

The secretary of the club, P.P. Veila Raja, said that the entire revenue generated through the mela would be used for charity in Tuticorin .

Source : R Vimal Kumar, Tuticorin

Farmer's club brings to life a sleepy village

Once a sleepy village, Aadanoor, 35 km from Tuticorin town, is today buzzing with farming activities.

The transformation happened after National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) recently opened a farmer's club there under its Farmer's Club Programme (FCP).

Veerapandia Kattabomman Farmer's Club has 20 members engaged in various farming activities. It has a chief co-ordinator and an associate co-ordinator, elected from among its members.

"The club was formed to develop the area on social and economical fronts through credit, technology transfer and capacity building," R. Bharat Kumar, Assistant General Manager, NABARD, told The Hindu .

Under the programme, NABARD would extend financial support to the club till the 2008-09 fiscal. It included annual maintenance grant of Rs. 3,000 and expenses to meet the farmers' visits to agriculture research institutions and progressive farms twice a year.

Mr. Kumar said the visits would help the farmers to interact with specialists in agriculture and allied activities. "They can imbibe the latest agriculture practices, which can be transmitted to the fields for increasing the yield, and adoption of post-harvest handling techniques."

Besides, expenses of four training programmes conducted by the club for its members on `technology upgradation' would be sponsored by NABARD a year, at the rate of Rs. 1,250 per session, for the next three fiscals.

It is being promoted by Eppothumvendran branch of Indian Overseas Bank for extension of credit.

Source: The Hindu

Survey of houses for giving free TV sets over

The Collector R. Palaniyandi said the administration had completed enumeration of houses in all six `samathuvapurams' in the district for free distribution of colour television sets on September 15.

Accordingly, TV sets would be distributed to 505 out of the total 600 houses situated in the `samathuvapurams' at Perurani (Tuticorin block), Anavardhanaloor (Karungulam), Paramankurichi (Udangudi), Pidaneri (Sattankulam), Lingapetti (Kovilpatti) and Nagalapuram (Pudur).

Of this, 66 TV sets would be given to Perurani, 81 to Paramakurichi, 72 to Pidaneri, 96 Anavardhanaloor, 93 to Linganpatti and 97 to Nagalapuram.

The Collector announced this at the grievance day meeting here on Monday.

On the grievances of few residents from the `samathuvapuram' at Perurani that their families were left out during the enumeration exercise, he said "the matter would be looked into."

Later, Dr. Palaniyandi distributed walking aid to five persons, with each unit costing Rs.300.

He then gave away educational assistance to eight physically challenged persons, by reimbursing the fees they paid for the technical education availed at the Small Industries Service Institute run by the Union Ministry of Small Scale Industries in Tuticorin.

Source: The Hindu

Noon meal workers take out rally in Tuticorin

Members of the Tamil Nadu Noon Meal Employees Association and the Tamil Nadu Anganwadi Employees Welfare Association took out a rally here on Monday, to press their multi-point demands.

The rally which commenced at Balavinayagar Koil street ended in front of the Municipal Office.

Addressing the cadres, K. Uthandaraman, district secretary, TNNMEA, said the Government should give time scale pay to the employees of the noon-meal centres.

Besides, training should be given to the organisers to upgrade them as secondary grade teachers.

"Steps should be taken to disburse monthly pension to the retired workers," he said.

In all, 200 people took part in the rally.

Source: The Hindu

Tuticorin container operator eyes second terminal

PSA Sical Terminals Limited, the Tuticorin port container terminal operator, hopes to be a natural choice, by virtue of its experience and consistently better performance, for the proposed second terminal project at the port.

"We will be the fastest to get it up and running ... [hence] a natural choice," says John Quok, General Manager of PSA Sical Terminals Limited, which began commercial operations in the existing terminal in 1999.

Sensing more demand for container cargo, which is evident from PSA Sical terminal's box handling increasing by hundred per cent over five years, the Port Trust decided to convert its eighth berth into a container terminal.

Five bidders, including PSA Sical, are in the fray for the Rs.150-crore project.

Speaking to The Hindu at Tuticorin recently, Mr. Quok said the company had invested $35 million (Rs.157 crore) in the existing terminal. The company is a joint venture of the Singapore-based PSA International, the Chennai-based South India Corporation (Agencies) Limited and an individual investor from Singapore.

The company is laying emphasis on marketing the facilities at the existing terminal. It is focusing on improved productivity, better connectivity to key export markets such as Europe and the U.S., faster turnaround of vessels and a work environment conducive to business. Serving as the backbone of the operations are three ships to shore quay cranes and eight rubber-tyre gantry cranes.

One reason for the increase in cargo handling is the abolition of textile quotas. Forty per cent of the cargo come from Salem and Coimbatore, 10 per cent from Bangalore and the rest from Tamil Nadu.

Enough capacity is available at the terminal to meet a surge in the cargo — as against the capacity of 4.5 lakh TEUs, it handled 3.5 lakh TEUs in 2005.

Making the terminal a major gateway for exports are the direct and indirect connections to 35 ports.

Besides nine sailings a week to Colombo, there are services to Europe, the U.S. and China.

PSA Sical is also keen on having a direct service to Africa, which imports safety matches, agricultural products and garments from India. Raw cashew is the key import from Africa.

Mr. Quok said imports through terminal were also picking up. This indicated the buoyancy in the manufacturing sector in south India, as most of the imports were machinery and chemicals.

Source: The Hindu

R Pyarelal buys 50K tonne Russian wheat for milling

R Pyarelal Import and Export Ltd, an Indian commodities trader, said it bought 50,000 metric tonne of wheat from Hungary’s WJ Grain Ltd to supply to local cookie producers and flour mills.

The trader paid between $185 and $194 a metric tonne on a cost-and-freight basis for the Russian wheat, Siddharth Agarwal, the company’s director, said on Wednesday over phone from Kolkata. Cost-and-freight purchases require the seller to pay for the shipping costs.

The first cargo of about 25,000 tonne would arrive at Tuticorin port in the next 20 days, while the second cargo would be loaded around September 15, he added.

India, the world’s second-largest consumer of wheat after China, began importing the grain this year after a gap of six years to meet a shortfall in domestic output, bolstering global grain prices.

Wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade have risen 14% in the past one year.

The government-owned State Trading Corp (STC) has contracted to import 3.83 million tonne of wheat this year, while private traders have signed deals to purchase close to 3,00,000 tonne of the grain after the government last month allowed companies other than the STC to import wheat to boost local supplies.

MMTC Ltd, a state-owned trading company, on Monday cancelled a tender to buy 1,20,000 tonne of wheat because of high prices.

India’s wheat imports may reach 4.5 million tonne in the year to March 2007, the highest in three decades, the US foreign agricultural service in New Delhi said on June 16.

Source: Bloomberg

Training in underwater diving

The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (GOMBRT) along with the People's Action for Development, a non-governmental organisation, started a 10-day training in self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) diving at Vembar near here on Tuesday.

V.K. Malkani, Director, GOMBRT, said that the training was aimed at equipping the youth in coastal areas with techniques to preserve the marine biodiversity of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere, which was "the first marine area in the country to be declared as `Marine Biosphere Reserve' under United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) Man and Biosphere Programme."

Besides, there will be lessons on how to rescue coastal people during disasters.

In all, 14 people, including four girls, from the hamlets along the Gulf of Mannar coastline are given the training by experts from Barracuda Diving Centre in Goa.

Of them, eight persons will be trained in open water diving, two in rescue diving and the rest in advance open water diving.

He said the trust would provide assistance to the trainees on the completion of the programme, to make alternative livelihood so that they would not be dependent on marine resources.

"We had given employment to 13 youth, who underwent a similar training in SCUBA diving conducted earlier, as `anti-poaching watchers' under the GOMBRT," he said. They were now paid consolidated monthly salary.

According to him, the trust will provide facilities to those who are inducted as anti-poaching watchers to hone their skills. "They will be periodically trained in advanced diving techniques."

Source: The Hindu

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tuticorin port's initiative to woo cargo

In the wake of stiff competition, major ports in the country are offering special concessions to woo cargo. The Tuticorin Port Trust is offering special incentive schemes for raw cashew. One of them being a 10 per cent concession in marine charges to vessels from Africa carrying raw cashew provided these vessels do not call at the Kochi port.

Trade information on web site says: "As far as raw cashew in container is concerned, direct calls by the container vessels from Africa shall attract marine charges with 10 per cent concession provided the particular vessel does not call at the Kochi port during the same voyage and at least 80 per cent of the containers carrying raw cashew are destined for the Tuticorin port."

The offer is part of the Special Incentive for Raw Cashew Import offered by the Tuticorin port, which is part of the incentive scheme for 2006-07 to attract more volume of cargo and vessels to the port.

The Tuticorin port is also offering a 50 per cent rebate in wharfage for the entire quantity of imported raw cashew as break bulk cargo. "The concession, which was hitherto extended for storage of raw cashew nut allowing free days from five to 10 days, shall continue to exist until it is modified by the Board," says the website.

The Tuticorin port is also offering a 50 per cent rebate in wharfage for the entire quantity of imported raw cashew as break bulk cargo. "The concession, which was hitherto extended for storage of raw cashew nut allowing free days from five to 10 days, shall continue to exist until it is modified by the Board," says the website.

The Tuticorin port is also offering a 50 per cent rebate in wharfage for the entire quantity of imported raw cashew as break bulk cargo. "The concession, which was hitherto extended for storage of raw cashew nut allowing free days from five to 10 days, shall continue to exist until it is modified by the Board," says the website.

Source: The Hindu

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rs 1,000-crore shipyard at Tuticorin Port Trust soon

A shipyard at an estimated cost of Rs 1,000 crore would soon come up on the premises of Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT), said its Chairman N K Ragupathy, here on Tuesday.

After unfurling the National flag at Port School grounds in Thoothukudi, Ragupathy said since the Port was declared a major port on July 11, 1974, TPT had caused establishment of many new industries in TN and South India.

In order to further enhance the productivity of the Port, TPT was embarking on the inner harbour development and outer harbour development activities at an estimated cost of Rs 835 crore and Rs 3,300 crore respectively.

As the industrial development activities in and around Thoothukudi, were declining in the last few years for various reasons, prompt assistance of the State and the Central Government to the Port could trigger economic development in the region.

Requesting special assistance from the State Government for TPT to enhance industrial growth in the entire South Tamil Nadu, he further said the Central Government should accord prompt clearance for various proposals initiated by the port.

Seeking cent percent financial assistance from the Central Government to increase the harbour draft from the existing 10.7 mts to 12.8 mts, Ragupathy demanded the Central Government consider proposals of TPT at the earliest.

Detailing the proposed plan of setting up the shipyard at the harbour in Thoothukudi at an outlay of Rs 1,000 crore, he said a feasibility report on the project that had been already prepared would be submitted in a month’s time to the Union Ministry of Shipping. Once the project would be approved in principle by the Ministry, tenders would be floated.

The shipyard, if set up, is expected to generate employment to around 5,000 men, he added.


Six idle airports to be activated

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has embarked on an "idle airports activation programme" in the Southern region.

The airports in Tuticorin, Vellore, Pondicherry, Salem, Rajahmundry, and Vijayawada will be covered. Besides, facilities in Tirupati and Hubli airports will be upgraded, according to K. Ramalingam, Regional Executive Director of AAI, Southern region.

"The AAI has asked the airlines to show sustainable operations to enable it to maintain its facilities at these unused airports," Dr. Ramalingam told The Hindu .


The Vagaikulam airstrip in Tuticorin became operational on April 1 this year with the commencement of Air Deccan flights. There is a 2,600-ft runway and a terminal building designed to handle 50 to 60 passengers. It is situated within 10 km from the port town. The airstrip is suitable for ATR-42 aircraft operations under Visual Flying Range (VFR) conditions.

The Vellore airstrip, located on 51.5-acres, was activated recently to facilitate regular flying by trainee pilots of the Madras Flying Club.

Casual operations

The 2,600-ft runway is on kutcha land and fit for casual operations. It was earlier being used by Taneja Aerospace. The Vellore airport is 5 km away from the town. VFR type operations are permitted.

Jagson airlines will soon commence regular flights between Chennai and Pondicherry. The airport at Lawspet was used by the then feeder airline, Vayudoot, between 1989 and 1993. At present, Orient Flight School is using the airport, located 7 km away from the city and is suitable for ATR operations with load penalty.

Night landing

A terminal building, which can handle over 40 passengers, is available. The AAI is planning night landing facility at Pondicherry airport.

It has received a requisition from Air Deccan for activating the full-fledged airfield in Salem, built in 1993, to accommodate Boeing jet operations.
The NEPC was operating it in 1994 and Tetra aviation from 1997 to 2000.


Located 20 km from the city, the airport has a runway fit for Airbus-320 operations with load penalty. A terminal building with a capacity to handle 100 passengers is available.

The Rajahmundry airport, 8 km from the city, was used by Vayudoot between 1985 and 1994. The airstrip is being used by helicopters engaged in offshore oil exploration. The 5,830-ft runway is suitable for ATR class operations.

Scheduled flights

The Vijayawada airport is being used by Air Deccan for scheduled flight operations linking Hyderabad and Vijayawada.

The AAI was planning to equip the Tirupati terminal with central air-conditioning facility and the runway re-carpeting and apron expansion work were planned. Work on erecting solar-powered lights on all 12 `obstructing hills' was under progress. Nine hills have the lighting system.


The AAI has commissioned night landing facility at Hubli airport. Apart from expanding the terminal building, it has taken up runway resurfacing work.

Source: The Hindu

Pit stops, but no prizes in this rally

The first `Indian Autorickshaw Challenge' is for those 18 and above, ready to drive wi-fi enabled Bajaj RE two-stroke machines splashed with bright paint — but there are no prizes.

"It is not a speed rally. There is no prize. All participants will get a certificate of participation," said the organisers; the idea is to familiarise the predominantly foreign participants with India and Tamil Nadu's culture, the local cuisine and the works.

Pit stops include Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Thanjavur, Madurai, Tuticorin, and Courtallam.
According to organiser Aravind Kumar, the challenge has drawn enough participants for them to close the entry. While those from the U.K., the United States, Armenia, Russia, Hungary and other countries paid 1,000 euros as participation fee, Indians paid Rs. 50,000.

Aravind Kumar and company told media persons on Monday that the entry fee was fixed on the higher side to bring in "quality" participants and thus ensure a "world class rally." The rally will begin from Chsennai on August 21.

It will cover nearly 10,000 km and end at Kanyakumari seven days later. If the participants choose, the organisers will make the vehicle GPS (global positioning system) or wi-fi enabled.

The proceeds will go to help local charities fighting child abuse. Those who still want to be part of the auto challenge could bring any vehicle by paying Rs. 7,000 (Chennai-Pondicherry) and Rs. 5,000 (other sectors) one day before the rally. For details, call 044-42143343/42317359.

Source: The Hindu

`Senna and medicinal park' to be established in Tuticorin

The Shellac and Forests Products Export Promotion Council (SHEFEXIL), a body under the Union Ministry of Commerce, will soon establish a `senna and medicinal park' in Tuticorin, the first of its kind in the country.

It is aimed at doubling the exports of `minor forest products' from the country by 2010-11. Presently, the country exports Rs.2,600 crore of MFP per annum.

Speaking to The Hindu, Debjani Roy, Executive Director, SHEFEXIL, said the proposed park would be established on public-private partnership with 60 per cent of the project cost to be borne by the Centre and the State and the rest to be raised through private sponsorships.

"The park will house facilities for pre-possessing, post-possessing and value addition of medicinal plants and a common testing centre to check the quality of products."

Besides, the council would promote `lac' development on a large scale in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh involving self-help groups.

(Lac is a secretion from an insect called Laccifer Lacca, which then turns into a finished MFP product called shellac)

Besides, cultivation of `chironji' (botanical name is Buchnan lanzan), a dry fruit, in Chindwara district of Madhya Pradesh, would be brought under the organised sector this fiscal to ensure 10-15 per cent annual growth.

"We plan to render value-addition to the fruit and export it to the Middle East, where such products are in a great demand," Dr. Roy said.

Dr. Roy said the council planned to promote guar seed cultivation at a cost of Rs.15 crore over three fiscals starting 2006-07, in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, to increase guar gum production.

Source: The Hindu

Centre has alloted rs 6,500 cr for rural develpment in TN

Tuticorin, Aug. 14 (PTI): The Central Government has allotted Rs 6,500 crore to Tamil Nadu for rural development, Local Administration Minister, M.K. Stalin said.

With this fund, basic amenities like drinking water and drainage facilities, road and lights would be provided, he told reporters at the collectorate here yesterday.

Later, speaking after distributing an amount of Rs 2.80 crore as welfare assistance to benificiaries, he said the makalir thittam (women's schemes) had been brought under the control of the rural development agency.

Stating that there are 13039 Self Help Groups in the district, he said the welfare assistance distributed was through the form of revolving fund.

In Tuticorin district, an amount of rs five lakh had been allotted for construction of cement roads at Ettayapuram. the bukkul canal would be maintained under the tuticorin beautification scheme. new buildings would be constructed for tiruchendur and sattankulam town panchayats at an estimated cost of Rs 10 lakh, he said.

Source: The Hindu

Heightened security at Tamil Nadu nuclear installations

Security has been beefed up across Tamil Nadu, especially at the nuclear power stations, ports and airports and at all public facilities in the wake of a nationwide terror alert ahead of Independence Day.

As many as 38 Black Cat commandos of the National Security Guard have been posted to guard the Department of Atomic Energy's Kalpakkam. Security has been stepped at the nuclear power facility in Koodankulam, at Tuticorin port and the rocket fuel facility at Mahendragiri, as also at the Indian Space Research Organisation's Sriharikota launch pads in Andhra Pradesh, 80 km north of Chennai.

The coast guard has beefed up its patrolling along Tamil Nadu's 1,000-km-long coastline. It is to get a new patrol vessel, said Rajendra Singh, regional commander, here Friday. The regional unit of the coast guard has 19 ships, four hovercraft, two interceptor boats, six Dornier aircraft and four helicopters.'All are being kept in a state of maximum alert,' Singh said. 'With more and more refugees from Sri Lanka coming to the Tamil Nadu coast, the coast guard is maintaining a day and night vigil to ensure that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadre do not reach our shores,' he said.


Tuticorin fishing harbour to be upgraded

Minister for Fisheries K.P.P. Sami inaugurated the project to upgrade the facilities at the fishing harbour here to international standards by kick-starting dredging work.

Elaborating salient features of the project, P. Jepakumar Ranjan, Assistant Executive Engineer, Department of Fisheries, said the dredging would be carried out to deepen the bay area and approach channel to enable bigger boats to berth at the harbour. "The depth at the bay would be increased to 3.90 metre from the present 1.5 metre," he said. Of the total project cost of Rs.5.04 crore, Rs.2.03 crore was earmarked for dredging work, and the rest would be used to create new infrastructure facilities and modernise/renovate existing edifices.

M. Ranjan said wharf and jetties would be renovated at a cost of Rs. 64.36 lakh using `gunning technology,' roads inside the harbour would be strengthened (Rs. 36.06 lakh), additional lights would be established on the harbour premises (Rs.8.4 lakh) and existing edifices would be renovated (Rs. 64.46 lakh).

On creation of new facilities, he said a quality control laboratory would come up (Rs.53.08 lakh), an ice crushing-cum-packing hall would be constructed (Rs.16.46 lakh) and an administrative block with a conference hall would be established (Rs.22.33 lakh).

All works (including dredging) would be completed this fiscal itself.

Source: The Hindu

Tuticorin district police set to get ISO-9001 certification

The district police office here is all set to become the first office in the country to obtain an ISO-9001 certification (quality management certification) before this month-end.

A two-member team, comprising G. Venkatraman and R. Sankaralingam, from International Certification Services (Asia) Limited, an approved body to carry out quality assessment, made a final inspection at the office on Monday, prior to issuing the certification.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Venkatraman said works at the office like petition handling, administrative support to police personnel in the district, especially during contingency, promptness in processing public grievances and subsequent redressal as well as follow-up and the manner in which each of the sections within the office worked were thoroughly `scrutinised' during the course of the inspection.

Besides, the inspection team checked the public satisfaction index vis-à-vis norms set for procurement of accreditation, which gives a clear picture of the public opinion on the quality of service rendered by the office from where the Superintendent of Police functions.

Mr. Venkatraman said a detailed report on the observations made during the inspection would be prepared within the next two days and sent to the Joint Accreditation System, Australia and New Zealand, Melbourne, which issues the certification

However, he said the contents of the evaluation performed during the inspection today could not be disclosed till the accreditation from the international body reached here.

Source : The Hindu

Concern over Sethu Samudram Project

The proposed Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, on completion, will allow ships to sail from the West to East Coast within India’s own territorial waters, avoiding circumnavigation around Sri Lanka. It will also save about 254 to 424 Nautical miles of sailing distance and upto 30 hours of sailing time for the ships.

A section of the environmentalists has expressed concerns over the environmental impact of the project. The concerns expressed inter-alia include

(i) adverse impact on the Marine National park in the Gulf of Mannar, especially the coral reefs situated in the Park;
(ii) adverse impact on the flora and fauna in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay;
(iii) adverse impact on livelihood of fishermen in the project area; and
(iv) inadequacy of the environmental impact assessment made by the project authorities.

Tuticorin Port Trust, the Nodal Agency has carried out campaigns aimed at informing the general public as well as the environmentalists that a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment Study has been carried out by a renowned organization, namely, National Environmental Engineering research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, for ascertaining the environmental viability of the project. Further, the alignment has been chosen giving precedence to environmental considerations over the economic one. The study of the project region through primary and secondary data collection with mathematical modeling carried out by the NEERI indicates that the apprehensions of damage to the coral reefs and flora and fauna in the project area are unfounded. Studies undertaken also suggest that there will be no significant impact on the fishing activities in the region. A detailed Environmental Management Plan has been drawn up for inter-alia ensuring that the marine environment is monitored continuously during the execution of the project.

The project is scheduled to be completed in three years from commencement of the work after obtaining the mandatory approvals.

This information was given in the Rajya Sabha today in a written reply by the Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Shri T. R. Baalu.