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Friday, March 30, 2007

Reliance Gas Pipeline to Conncet Chennai - Tuticorin

Reliance Industries Ltd., plans to build two gas pipelines in southern India, the government said on Friday, that could help the energy explorer supply gas from its deep-sea fields to retail consumers.

The petrochemicals to oil refiner aims to produce 80 million cubic metres of gas a day (mmscmd) by mid-2008 from its two fields in the prolific Krishna Godavari basin.

Oil Ministry said in an advertisement on Friday that Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Ltd., a group firm, had submitted a proposal to lay a 670 km pipeline from Chennai to Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu.

It also wants to build another 660 km pipeline from Chennai to Mangalore in the neighbouring state of Karnataka, via Bangalore, the ministry said.

The advertisements in local newspapers did not disclose the cost of the two projects, and a Reliance spokesman could not give details immediately.

Reliance is already constructing a 1,400 km pipeline to transport natural gas from the deep-sea fields off India's east coast to the western regions of the country.

Earlier this month, P.M.S. Prasad, head of Reliance's oil and gas business, said the company planned to build city gas distribution networks in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal.

The Oil Ministry said the two new projects were to be developed on a common carrier basis, making it mandatory for Reliance to offer 33 percent of each pipeline's total capacity to other firms.

"The interested party would have to enter into a take or pay contract or any other mutually agreeable contract with the owner for usage of the proposed pipeline," the ministry said.

India produces 95 mmscmd of gas and the government expects this to rise to more than 190 mmscmd by 2009 after a series of gas finds off the east coast, including by Reliance, come on stream.

Source: Reuters India

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tax collection for vehicles from today

The Department of Transport will collect taxes for vehicles under non transport category (two-wheelers, cars, jeeps, vehicles fitted with rigs and three-wheelers used for personal purpose) for the next fiscal (2007-08) from March 26 to April 10.

P. Muruganandam, Regional Transport Officer (RTO), told reporters that the taxes would be collected between 10 a.m. and 1.30 p.m., on all working days including Saturdays.

Meanwhile, the office of RTO here would remain closed on Sundays and on Mahaveer Jayanthi (March 31) and on Good Friday (April 6), which fall during the collection period. He said the taxes would be collected at treasuries and sub-treasuries in the district too. The non-transport vehicles, which have completed 15 years from the date of its registration, should remit an additional tax called `green tax', if not paid.

In the case of vehicles bearing other State registrations, Motor Vehicle Tax would be accepted only after the ownership of the registration of vehicle was transferred or it was changed to the address of the vehicle owner residing in Tamil Nadu.

Mr. Muruganandam said that tax of vehicles fitted with air compressors would be collected only at the office of the RTO or at its `unit offices'.

Owners of non transport vehicles, who were remitting annual tax, could opt for `life time tax', if they wished. The RTO said that special register would be maintained for the collection of annual tax and green tax.

"Entire details pertaining to a particular vehicle such as class of vehicle, date of registration, validity of registration certificate, period up to which tax and green tax were paid and address of the registered owner, would be entered in these special registers for future reference," he said.

Source: The Hindu

SSLC Examinations begin

The Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examination commenced in Tuticorin district on 22nd March.

A total of 19,859 students (9,639 boys and 10,220 girls) wrote the examination at 78 centres in the district.

Of them, 12,635 students (6,012 boys and 6,623 girls) took the examination at 51 centres in Tuticorin Educational District and the remaining, 7,224 (3,627 boys and 3,597 girls) appeared at 27 centres under Kovilpatti Educational District.

A total of 54 standing and mobile squads inspected the examination centres across the district to check for malpractice.

The Collector, R. Palaniyandi, conducted a lightning inspection at Subbiah Vidyalayam Girls Higher Secondary School, to check the arrangements made by the Department of Education.

Tuticorin City Solid waste management project to be augmented

The Tuticorin City municipal council meeting held on 21st March, decided to augment the ongoing solid waste management project on an outlay of Rs.8.5 crore during the next financial year.

Municipal Chairperson R. Kasturi Thangam said: "The administration would establish lights, compound wall and introduce windrows method of waste treatment, at the compost yard situated at Tharuvaikulam all at a cost of Rs 1.95 crore."

Besides, sanitary landfills would be set up on 15-acre plot situated inside the 25 acre-compost yard at Rs.3.80 crore.

A total of 300 tricycles would be purchased at Rs.84.6 lakh.

The remaining amount would be utilised to buy 25 bins. "Of the total project cost envisaged, Rs.6.8 crore would be obtained as grants from the Central Government, Rs.85 lakh as the State Government grants and the remaining Rs 85 lakhs would be taken from the corpus earmarked under the urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns," Ms. Thangam said.

Source: The Hindu

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sterlite to Expand to 2 lakh tonne Cu capacity

The UK based Vedanta group flagship Sterlite Industries, which recently completed its capacity expansion at the copper smelter in Tuticorin from 3 lakh tonne to 4 lakh tonne by debottlenecking, is looking at further enhancing its capacity by another 2 lakh tonne.

“We are currently doing a feasibility study to understand the viability of expanding the capacity at Tuticorin,” said Agarwal.

The smelting and refining costs at Tuticorin are one of the lowest worldwide. The expansion is expected to further help in reducing the costs of production.

The group has a substantial presence in copper globally. Around 30% of the group’s turnover comes from overseas, most of which is accounted for by copper.

Source: Financial Express

Summer special trains for Tuticorin announced

The following summer special trains have been introduced from April to June to meet passenger rush,

Train no.0615 Chennai Egmore-Tuticorin (weekly specials) will leave from Egmore at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and arrive at Tuticorin at 6.45 a.m. on Wednesdays.

Train no.0616 will leave from Tuticorin at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and reach Egmore at 4.30 a.m. on Thursdays.

Advance reservation for the trains will commence on March 18, according to a railway press release.

357 Villagers receive certificates for vocational training by Tuticorin Port Trust

N.K. Raghupathy, Chairman, Tuticorin Port Trust, distributed certificates to 357 people from coastal villages in the Tuticorin district, who have successfully completed the vocational and skill training courses conducted by the Sethusamudram Corporation Limited.

The courses were conducted by the corporation under its Coastal Community Development Programme (CCDP) to offset the impact of Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project on residents of coastal villages.

The villagers were trained in tailoring, computers, cosmetic treatments and hairdressing, with the help of four non-governmental organisations, sources said.

The CCDP in toto provide livelihood opportunities to people of 328 coastal villages in Tuticorin, Ramanthapuram, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tanjavur and Pudukottai districts.

Mr Raghupathy also gave away goats, sewing machines and wet grinders to 25 women from coastal hamlets, at the function.

357 Villagers receive certificates for vocational training by Tuticorin Port Trust

N.K. Raghupathy, Chairman, Tuticorin Port Trust, distributed certificates to 357 people from coastal villages in the Tuticorin district, who have successfully completed the vocational and skill training courses conducted by the Sethusamudram Corporation Limited.

The courses were conducted by the corporation under its Coastal Community Development Programme (CCDP) to offset the impact of Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project on residents of coastal villages.

The villagers were trained in tailoring, computers, cosmetic treatments and hairdressing, with the help of four non-governmental organisations, sources said.

The CCDP in toto provide livelihood opportunities to people of 328 coastal villages in Tuticorin, Ramanthapuram, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tanjavur and Pudukottai districts.

Mr Raghupathy also gave away goats, sewing machines and wet grinders to 25 women from coastal hamlets, at the function.

Annammal College of Education for Women Celebrated 45th College Day

Plays, folk and classical dance performance by students marked the 45th College Day celebrations of Annammal College of Education for Women,Tuticorin held on 16th March.

A. Francis, principal, V.O. Chidambaram College, who was the chief guest, gave away certificates to toppers of B.Ed. and M.Ed. courses conducted by the college during 2005-06.

Motorbike rally with 1000 Policemen to creat Awareness for Wearing Helmet

A motorbike rally organised by the district police administration, in Tuticorin on 17th March, to generate awareness of the importance of wearing helmets, created a good impact among two-wheelers in the City.

Led by the Superintendent of Police, John Nicholson, 1000-odd policemen, all wearing helmets, took out a rally from the District Police Office (DPO) to Victoria Extension Road, through W.G.C. Road, Ettayapuram road and important commercial areas in the town covering a distance of about 20 km.

It culminated on the office premises of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

The policemen held placards on their two-wheelers, carrying messages like `wear a helmet, save a priceless life', `lullaby brings sleep to a child, helmet brings long life to humans'.

Some other messages displayed were `Helmet is to the head what a reservoir is to agriculture crops' and `Helmet save our lives like Dharma save the mankind'.

Mr. John Nicholson interacted with school children at each of these points and explained the road safety norms to them.

Official sources said that the awareness rally gained significance considering the increase in number of fatal accidents in the district during the last few years.

Of the total 234 fatal accidents reported in the district in 2006, two-wheelers were involved in 46 cases.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police (Tirunelveli range), K.C. Mahali, told The Hindu that about 25 per cent of them involved in these 46 cases died of head injuries.

"Had the victims worn helmets, their lives could have been saved," he said.

Source: the Hindu

Fisheries institute's effort to boost crab population

The Fisheries College and Research Institute (FCRI) here has sea ranched 8 lakh larvae of `Scylla serrata', a species of mud crab, into the Gulf of Mannar (GoM) at Kaswari Island near Tuticorin on 17th March.

It was done under a project sponsored by the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, which was aimed at enhancing the mud crab population in the Mannar.

V.K. Venkataramani, Dean, FCRI, told The Hindu that the larvae of Scylla serrata were reared at the Marine Biological Laboratory of the FCRI.

"A mother crab weighing 910 gram and a male crab weighing 1.1 kilogram were bred in a fibre-reinforced plastic tank of 1,000 litre capacity and the larvae produced were grown to a length of 0.4 mm under the laboratory condition, before it was sea ranched," he said.

According to him, sea ranching is the most effective solution to augment the stock of mud crab resources in the GoM, which was fast depleting in the last few years owing to various reasons.

He said that at present, the export of marine crab products fetch foreign exchange to the tune of Rs.57.5 crore to the national exchequer

"To protect the mud crab population, use of traps should be restricted in the region particularly in the peak spawning season starting from March to July every year," Dr Venkataramani said.

Besides, the fishermen should be educated to return the live berried females, caught in the net, into the sea, to sustain the crab resources.

Source: The Hindu

The Reality of Adam's Bridge Revealed

Adam's Bridge is not a man made structure rather it's a geological phenomenon, according to N. Ramanujam, Head, Post Graduate Department of Geology and Research Centre, V.O. Chidambaram College, Tuticorin.

He was reacting to both political and apolitical statements made by different sections , relating Adam's Bridge to the epic "Ramayana."

He said that Adam's Bridge is only a chain of shoals between the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar, created by sedimentation owing to long shore currents.

Explaining the bridge's geological history, he said both the Palk Strait and the GoM were once part of the Cauvery basin, which was formed during the separation of India and Antarctica about 70 million years ago during the `Gondwana period.'

They were combined till a ridge was formed in the region owing to thinning of earth's crust. The development of this ridge augmented the coral growth in the region.

"The coral cover acted as a `sand trapper' leading to the formation of Rameswaram Island," Dr. Ramanujam said.

The long shore currents on the southern side of island created a discontinuous shoreline eastward from Dhanuskodi to Talaimannar, which's the Adam's Bridge.

He dispelled the fears of a few environmentalists and non-governmental organisations that destruction of Adam's Bridge to facilitate the implementation of Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) would create geological imbalance in the region.

"Considering that Adam's Bridge is just sedimentary deposits, its removal will not create any geological imbalance," he said.

Dr. Ramanujam ruled out any impact of the SSCP on the fragile eco-system in the GoM.

"Since the dredging was mainly carried out in Palk Strait, which was far away from the valued environmental assets in the GoM biosphere's buffer zone, coral reef eco system will not be affected," he said.

Source: The Hindu

Conservation of lobsters Emphasized

The Fisheries College and Research Institute (FCRI), Tuticorin conducted a workshop, funded by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, on `Conservation of lobsters in the Gulf of Mannar' on 17th March.

Resources persons from FCRI took classes on topics such as lobster resources along Tuticorin coast, taxonomy and identification of lobsters, breeding techniques, production of lobster seeds and present stock biomass of lobsters in the Gulf of Mannar.

According to V. K. Venkataramani, Dean, FCRI, there was an urgent need to conserve the lobsters in the Mannar since its population was fast diminishing over the last five years. He said the fishermen should put back egg-bearing lobsters, caught in the nets, into the sea to enhance its production.

"Every stakeholder should try to prevent the destruction of coral beds in the Gulf of Mannar, In all, 30 fish traders, entrepreneurs, forest department staff and members of various eco development clubs constituted by the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust, participated.

Source: The Hindu

Madurai - Tuticorin Railway line to be Electrified next Year

Speaking to journalists at Vellore Cantonment on Sunday, Union Railway Minister for the State R Velu said that the ministry would upgrade 334 stations in the country. Electrification of the tracks would be given priority in the Tenth Five Year Plan, he said and added ‘‘According to the prime objective of the Five Year Plan, the ministry has given approval for the electrification of 167 km in Villupuram-Tiruchy route.’’

The 147 km Tiruchy-Madurai would be given approval in this fiscal, while that of Madurai-Tuticorin and Maniyatchi-Nagercoil railway lines would be given approval in the coming years, he said.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Programme held to explain conservation techniques

The Minister for Animal Husbandry, P. Geetha Jeevan, inaugurated a workshop on `Conservation of marine resources in Gulf of Mannar,' organised by the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (GOMBRT) in Tuticorin on 9th March.

The programme was organised to explain conservation techniques to members of eco development committees functioning in 67 coastal villages in the district.

J.K. Patterson Edward, director, Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute, affiliated to Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, said that destructive fishing techniques and over exploitation had reduced live coral cover in the region in the last decade.

"Already, reefs over 32 sqkm were degraded," he said.

Similarly, pearl oyster beds and sea cucumbers had been reduced over the last few years, owing to indiscriminate harvesting.

Though awareness among the coastal community had gone up in the past five years, they are yet to give importance to "sustainable harvest."

"A survey conducted along Tuticorin coast in 2001 said that only 29 per cent men and three per cent women know about the importance of corals on fishery production," he said.

However, during a similar survey in 2004, it was found that 80 per cent men and 20 per cent women had gained knowledge on corals.

Ms. Jeevan released a manual, a booklet and a compact disc, which contained details about the status of marine resources in the Mannar region.

The materials tell the readers about endangered creatures, the hunting of which is now prohibited under Wildlife Protection Act.

The Minister also distributed fishing nets to 25 villagers from Pazhayakayal and disbursed revolving fund assistance to the tune of Rs. 2.6 lakh to 13 self-help groups.

The Collector, R. Palaniyandi, and senior forest officials V.K. Melkani, L. Nadhan, V. Naganathan and S. Shembagamoorthy were present.

Seminar on Career Guidance held in Tuticorin

A seminar-cum-exhibition on career guidance was organised by the Department of Employment and Training at Bishop Caldwell College here on 8th March.

The programme was conducted to provide information to undergraduate and postgraduate students about various career opportunities and courses available.

Inaugurating the programme, Collector R. Palaniyandi said that students should develop communication skills along with technical knowledge to get into well-paid jobs.

The youth should always aim higher rather than being content with a university degree.

"It is time that we enrolled more students into higher education stream as only 10 percent of the children aged between 18 and 23 years in the country have opted for higher studies," he said.

K. Suganthi, Commercial Tax Officer, and Kalaiselvan, District Employment Officer, explained on how to prepare for competitive examinations such as Civil Services Examination conducted to select candidates to Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service.

The students were also told about financial assistance available under schemes such as Prime Minister's Rozgar Yojana, which offer loans to educated unemployed youth.

A.C.G. Venantius, Chairman, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Tuticorin branch, answered queries on Chartered Accountancy course.

Information on various career were displayed at an exhibition.

Admission procedure to enter National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla near Pune and Indian Military Academy at Dehradun, were explained.

Details on various value-added courses offered by polytechnics in costume designing were provided.

Source: The Hindu

St. Mary's College celebrates 59th College Day

"The youth should never end the learning process with their college days. They should constantly try to amass knowledge, information and wisdom for overall development," Cynthia Pandian, Vice-Chancellor, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, has said.

She was speaking at the 59th College Day celebrations at St. Mary's College here on Wednesday.

Ms. Pandian said that there was a paradigm shift in the objective of education as the nation entered 21st century.

"While we were providing education to prepare students for economic growth in the last century, the focus had shifted to human development," she said. "Every individual should have the wealth of wisdom in him.

Students are now expected to `create' knowledge by synthesising and interpreting the information gathered through Internet and other mass media. Application of knowledge will give birth to wisdom," Ms. Pandian said.

Human development involves improvement of not only technical and manufacturing skills, but also soft skills such as communication, decision-making and problem solving.

Quoting Henry Ford, she said that those who quit learning would become "old," whether he was 20 or 80.

She called upon the students to think beyond geographical boundaries to make them better employable. "Never confine career options to the jurisdiction of a town or a State," Ms. Pandian said.

More women should take up higher education, which was a requirement for 70 per cent of the jobs available in the present day.

"At present, only 40 percent of girl students, who had completed higher secondary school education in the region, were found to have enrolled in colleges under M.S. University," she said.

As opportunities are plenty, it is a pity that only two per cent of women are placed in professional jobs.

Arulananda Mary, college Principal, spoke.

Source: The Hindu

`Samskrita Sandhya' held at Tuticorin

The Tuticorin chapter of `Samskrita Bharati,' a movement with Delhi as headquarters, conducted `Samskrita Sandhya' at Annammal College of Education here recently.

It was intended to popularise Sanskrit as a language for national integration.

Delivering keynote address, N. Sriram, State organiser of Samskrita Bharathi, said that it is a myth that Sanskrit was difficult to learn.

He explained the importance of the language as a tool to explore resource materials from ancient periods.

"Sanskrit was even the `lingua franca' of our country, many centuries ago," he said.

Plays and dances in Sanskrit were conducted. A. Joycilin Shermila, Principal, Annammal College Of Education For Women, distributed certificates to candidates, who successfully completed Sanskrit courses conducted last year.

Source: The Hindu

New study to save marine resources

The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (GOMBRT) will tie-up with research institutions to carry out studies for better conservation of resources in the Gulf of Mannar and its future management during 2007.

The Chief Conservator of Forests, V.K. Melkani, said here on Friday that the GOMBRT would come out with a comprehensive inventory on the potential of marine wealth through the research.

"Studies on inventory would be carried out with technical assistance from universities in the State, Fisheries Colleges and Research Institute and Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute, both in Tuticorin, and Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute," he said.

The proposed inventory would contain details pertaining to fishery potential, habitat of pearl oysters, area coverage of sea grass and population details of endangered aquatic creatures such as dugong dugon (sea cow).

It would also have statistics related to environmental issues such as quantity of effluents flowing in every day.

The groundwork on inventory preparation would commence in April.

Mr. Melkani said that the GOMBRT would disburse about Rs. four crore as revolving fund assistance to people staying in 222 coastal hamlets spread over Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram districts this year (2007).

"It is to enhance their livelihood activities and reduce dependency on marine resources in the Mannar biosphere," he said.

The fund was allocated to the trust by United Nations Development Programme-Global Environmental Facility.

Mr. Melkani said that the State Government would come out with a detailed management plan before May 31 to conserve and enhance the marine resources in the reserve.

The draft plan was being prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun. It would be ready before March 31.

The final document would include a new monitoring protocol to review the implementation of Wildlife Protection Act.

It would also highlight techniques to be followed to restore the damaged coral reef ecosystem, if any.

Source: The Hindu

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tuticorin Railway station gets SBI Kisoks

State Bank of India (SBI) and the Madurai Division of Southern Railway signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) here on Wednesday to install Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at eight railway stations for the convenience of the public.

Briefing presspersons, N. Sadasivam, Deputy General Manager, SBI, said the ATMs would be installed at Madurai, Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Kovilpatti, Kodaikanal Road and Ambathurai railway stations within a month. Efforts were on to set up ATMs at Karaikudi and Manapparai.

The bank also plans to set up Internet ticketing kiosks as an additional service to passengers at Madurai, Tirunelveli, Dindigul, Virudhunagar and Tuticorin stations.

Divisional Railway Manager Hemant Kumar said more than 45,000 passengers were using the services of the Madurai Division every day. Madurai Junction alone catered to more than 11,000 commuters each day. He appealed to the bank to consider installing `point of sales swiping machines' in Tuticorin railway station to ensure hassle-free freight transaction.

Source: The Hindu

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Plea to expedite flyover work in Tuticorin

The members of Tuticorin People's Co-ordination Committee, a consortium of various movements and passengers associations, staged a demonstration in front of the Tuticorin railway station on 6th March.

They were urging the authorities concerned not to shift the railway station to Milavittan, situated on the outskirts of the town, to reduce the traffic blocks caused due to the closure of railway gate at Ettayapuram road.

"The officials should take steps to expedite the construction of the flyover in the segment, rather than shift the station altogether," they pointed out.

According to the agitators, shifting of the station would pose hardship to passengers since Milavittan was not properly connected to the town by road.

A.P.C.V. Shanmugam, secretary of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, led the agitation.

Source: The Hindu

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

IOB Chennai wins Sterlite Trophy in Tuticorin

Eastern Railway (women) recovered from a first set loss to KSEB, Thiruvananthapuram, to take the next three and the match and won a berth in the super league of the national volleyball league championship in Kochi.

The railway women overcame KSEB 23-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-22 in the last match of the four-team women's league (preliminary III) for the team's third win and the Sterlite Trophy here last night.

In the men's section, IOB Chennai won the Sterlite Trophy prevailing over ONGC, Dehra Dun, 25-21, 20-25, 25-19, 25-20.

Source: Chennai Online

Le Royal Meridien, 5 Star Hotel in Tuticorin

Appu Hotels, which owns Le Royal Meridien (part of the US-based Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide), Chennai, is in the process of setting up 5 Star Hotel in Tuticorin.

The company is still scouting for land in Tuticorin for its new hotel, for which investment figures have not yet been finalised. The Tuticorin hotel will have 150 rooms.The company is planning to employ about 200 people in Tuticorin.

Nalina Saravanan, director- operations, Le Royal Meridien, Chennai said this in a recent press release.

Seminar on `Value Added Tax' held in Tuticorin

The Department of Information and Public Relations organised a seminar on `Value Added Tax' in Tuticorin on Saturday(3rd,March) evening. This was part of the multi-media campaign launched by the district administration to highlight the achievements of the State Government.

Interacting with industrialists and the general public, S. Sukumaran, Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, said that a sum of Rs. 11 crore was generated as VAT revenue from Tirunelveli division, comprising Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar and Kanyakumari districts during January this year, the first month of its inception.

A total of Rs. 22 crore was utilised as input tax credit by registered dealers during January, of which input tax credit availed from the opening stock stood at Rs. 16 crore and the remaining from purchase. "As traders were allowed to take credit of input tax paid at the time of purchase, VAT will not have any cascading effect on prices," he said. V. Balusamy, Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, explained how VAT was beneficial to the traders because of its transparency. "It has been proven in the countries, where VAT was implemented, that there was a heavy flow of revenue to the Government," he said.

The introduction of VAT has facilitated a simplified compounding tax system for the traders who have a turnover less than Rs 50 lakh per annum, by which only 0.5 percent was levied as tax.

The rates of interest under VAT are fixed at one percent, four per cent and 12.5 percent on goods eligible for input tax credit.

A full-fledged VAT is in essence an ad valorem tax levied on the supply chain from production to distribution and retail.

D.R. Kodeeswaran, Secretary, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tuticorin, and A. Deivanayakam, Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, took part in the discussion.

Source: The Hindu

Police raid Lankan refugee camps in Tuticorin

Special police teams carried out lightning search operations at several refugee camps sheltering Sri Lankan refugees in Tuticorin on 2nd March.

Several hundred policemen led by Deputy Inspector General Christopher Nelson carried out the search operation at the refugee camps which housed Lankan Tamil refugees. Policemen interrogated suspicious persons and carried out the head count in every camp wherever the search was done.

The belongings of the refugees were also thoroughly checked by the police teams and they were severely warned not to get involved in covert activities and allow the LTTE suspects to infiltrate into the camps, reports said. Around two-thousand refugees are sheltered at Ramdas Nagar, Thappathi and Kulathuvaipatti camps in the Tutticorin area.

The search operations at the Lankan refugee camps were carried out following the recent arrests of three LTTE suspects who were hiding in refugee camps.

Source: Sunday Observer, Sri Lankan Newspaper

`Creativity and innovation' - training programme held in Tuticorin

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Madurai Zone, organised a training programme on `Creativity and innovation' for the executives/managers of industrial firms in Tuticorin on 1st March. Delivering the keynote address, Muthian Ramanathan, Director (training), Mind Dynamics Centre, Chennai, said that creative people are the need of the hour at a time when liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation had become synonymous with industrial transformation.

"Business managers should understand that it is not enough to be efficient and possess the ability to solve problems. They should also be creative to build durable and profitable advantages over their opponents," he said. To remain creative, one had to be constantly imaginative and should have a quest for novelty. "It is a myth to consider that creativity would come by itself during emergency. A creative person would always challenge status quo and confront assumptions," he said.

According to him, entrepreneurs and product managers should try to improve their products even if it is good, like the Japanese style of management. "This would help them thwart competition from surprise quarters."

13,557 students appear for Plus Two examination in Tuticorin

The `Higher Secondary Public Examination 2007' commenced at 50 centres in the Tuticorin district on 1st March.

Of this, 36 centres were located under Tuticorin educational district and remaining under Kovilpatti educational district.

Speaking to presspersons, the Collector, R. Palaniyandi, said that a total of 13, 557 students appeared for the examination and of them, 7,438 were girls.

As many as 9,470 students (4,162 boys and 5,308 girls) wrote the examinations at centres situated under Tuticorin educational district.

The Education Department had constituted 27 flying squads to check for malpractices and ensure smooth conduct of the examinations.

Of them, 13 squads comprising three members each would function in Tuticorin educational district, while 14 squads having two members each would operate in Kovilpatti educational district.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Palaniyandi conducted a lightning inspection at Caldwell Higher Secondary School. He told the Chief Educational Officer, P. David Balasingh, to ensure that the question papers reached the centres from the 11 `custodian points,' where they were stored under security, well ahead of the start of the examinations.

Boat race organised in Tuticorin

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadres celebrated the 59th birthday of party General Secretary Jayalalithaa with pomp and gaiety in Tuticorin on 4th March.

Celebrations began in the morning with cadres breaking 59 coconuts on the beach road.

A boat race and swimming competition were conducted at the inshore waters at Threspuram, one of the busiest fishing hamlets in the State.

In all, 14 country boats fitted with motors took part in the race. Each boat, having three to seven fishermen in it, covered a distance of seven miles.

As many as 72 people participated in the swimming competition. The prizes were distributed by the former Minister, Anitha Radhakrishnan. N. Chinnadurai, Chairman of District Panchayat, and N. Suresh Kumar, municipal councillor, were present.

Source: The Hindu

Cultural competition held in V.O.C. College, Tuticorin

A university-level inter-collegiate cultural competition titled `Sangaram,' organised by the Students Federation of India (SFI), was conducted V.O. Chidamabaram College premises in Tuticorin on 3rd March. In all, students from 17 colleges affiliated to Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, took part in the competitions held under seven categories. A Francis, Principal, V.O.C. College, inaugurated the event.

Tuticorin airport to get Night landing facility soon

Glen Dickson, airport-in-charge of Tuticorin Airport, has said that plans were afoot to introduce night landing facilities in Tuticorin Airport as part of augmenting the operational infrastructure and sustaining the commercial viability of the Tuticorin airport.

Interacting with industrialists at a programme organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Tuticorin on 27th February, Mr. Dickson said that gadgets such as Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) and runway lighting would be established shortly to help aircraft land safely during nights.

Plans are made to expand the runway from the present 1,350 metres to 1,800 metres once the required land is acquired. This would facilitate landing of bigger aircraft in the Tuticorin Airport. At present, smaller aircraft such as ATR-72 were operating from the airport.

Tuticorin Port Trust's new record

The Tuticorin Port Trust has handled 3,22,255 TEUs (Twentifoot Equivalent Unit) of containers in the current financial year till February 16, surpassing 3,21,060 TEUs of containers handled during the entire last fiscal, registering 15.63 percent growth.

Official sources said that this was the highest volume of containers handled in the history of the port.

Similarly, the port has handled 156.82 lakh tonnes of cargo between April 1 and February 16 this fiscal, against 151.78 lakh tonnes of cargo handled during the corresponding period during the last financial year, registering a growth of 5.04 lakh tonnes.

Road Safety Patrol members honoured in Tuticorin

The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tirunelveli Range, Kanhu Charan Mahali, disbursed awards and certificates to outstanding members of Road Safety Patrol teams in Tuticorin on 24th February.

The function was organised with the objective of encouraging the school students, who contribute a lot in streamlining traffic system in the town by becoming the members of Road Safety Patrol teams. The Deputy Inspector General of Police thanked the students for their role in regulating vehicular traffic.