September, 2014

Madras Fertilizers to tie-up with IOC for natural gas

Madras Fertilizers Ltd. (MFL) will tie-up with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to source natural gas as a feed-stock to produce urea. MFL was toying with the idea of either tying with IOC or Gas Authority of India to source natural gas. While the IOC’s Ennore-LNG terminal is likely to become operational by 2017, doubts have been raised regarding the completion of GAIL pipeline (Kochi-Koottanad-Mangalore-Bangalore). Hence, MFL has opted for the former.

Ambattur makes a green move

Continuing in its efforts to go green and become self sufficient, the Ambattur Industrial Estate will soon have its own facility to manage solid waste and treat effluent discharged by some units. Spread over 1,200 acres, the estate, which is in its 50th year, has about 1,500 small and medium enterprises – largely automobiles, garments and engineering manufacturers. For several years now, the estate has been grappling with issues of solid waste disposal because of erratic garbage clearance.

A tearful oath-taking

O. Panneerselvam, staunch loyalist of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa, was sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for a second time on Sept. 29 by Governor K. Rosaiah, followed by the induction of other Ministers. The ceremony was emotionally charged with virtually every member of the new Cabinet breaking down. Mr. Panneerselvam succeeds party General Secretary Jayalalithaa after she was convicted in the disproportionate assets case by a Bangalore special court on 27th Sept. As the Governor invited him to take oath, Mr. Panneerselvam was in tears, but continued to read the pledge. He was seen wiping his tears frequently as his Cabinet colleagues began taking oath, most of them also in tears.

` 53 crore not accounted for

Special Court Judge J.M. Cunha has ruled that Ms. Jayalalithaa “could not satisfactorily account” for immovable properties and pecuniary resources to the tune of about ` 53.60 crore during the check period of the cases (1991-96). In the operational portion of the order, Justice Cunha said the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that as against the income of about Rs. 9.91 crore and expenditure of about ` 8.49 crore during the above period, the first accused in the case (Ms. Jayalalithaa) had “acquired and possessed in her name and in the names of A-2 to A-4 and in the names of business enterprises acquired in their names, immovable properties and pecuniary resources of the value of ` 53,60,49,954 which she could not satisfactorily account (for).”

Srirangam loses its VIP constitutency status

The unseating of Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister has triggered apprehensions among a section of voters in Srirangam that the constitutency may lose its prominence after development projects implemented in the past three years. Srirangam has lost its ‘VIP constituency’ status over-night. Ms. Jayalalithaa, its high-profile MLA for the past three years, brought development projects worth hundreds of crores of rupees to the constitutency. “No other elected representative has done so much to the constituency. We fear the development of the constituency will be affected. Nobody will be able to match her,” said R. Rangan, a watchman at a marriage hall in the town. Ever since her election, the town has got better roads and a cleaner environment. The town’s tourism infrastructure has got a push with a posh ‘yatri nivas’, a canopied pedestrian corridor between the Cauvery and the Rajagopuram and a butterfly park. Massive renovation has been taken up at the Ranganathaswamy Temple.

Violence across State

Violence erupted across Tamil Nadu soon after the special court in Bangalore held Chief Minister Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption. The protests by AIADMK cadre and sympathisers led to sporadic incidents of violence, even as shops, restaurants, malls and movie halls closed down across the State. Attacks on buses left public transport severely cut.

Jayalalithaa goes to Jail

An epic 18-year-long legal battle ended in less than five minutes on Sept. 27, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam supremo Jayalalithaa arrived at the Parappana Agrahara complex, Bangalore as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. By the time the curtains were drawn on the dramatic day, she had lost her post after having been found guilty of corruption. The three-time Chief Minister was sentenced to four years’ simple imprisonment and a ` 100-crore fine was imposed on her for offences under Sections 13(1)(e) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Her assets already attached by the court would be adjusted against this fine amount. In consequence, Ms. Jayalalithaa stood disqualified as an MLA and lost her position as Chief Minister. She would now be barred from contesting elections for the period of conviction plus six years – a total of 10 years. Her co-accused – Sasikala Natarajan, V. Sudhakaran and J. Elavarasi – were sentenced to four years’ imprisonment with a fine of ` 10 crore each. All four were sent to the prison, prosecution lawyers told reporters. It took only five minutes for the Special Judge trying the case, John Michael Cunha, to pronounce the order.

Tamil to be compulsory subject in T.N. schools

Tamil will be a compulsory subject in schools affiliated to various boards in the State from the next academic year. The act already includes the State Board and Matriculation schools. However, the order exempts Kendriya Vidyalayas, Sainik schools and Navodaya Vidyalayas which come under the “specified category” as per the Right to Education Act. An official of the School Education Department said the order would include CBSE and ICSE schools and would be implemented from the next academic year in phases. The schools would have to introduce Tamil for Class I from 2015-16 and scale it up to Class X by 2024-25, according to the order. CBSE schools in the city, however, have reacted with caution.

Space scientists root for GSLV-MK III success

After the Mars Orbiter Mission’s (MOM) resounding success in its maiden attempt, scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Propulsion Complex (IPRC) at Mahendragiri, Tirunelveli are eagerly waiting to witness the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III engine’s performance during its proposed test flight in the next two months.

Van seizure blows the lid off Aavin scam

A minister lost his post, Nine arrests have so far been made. A few officials have been suspended. The Aavin’s loss could run into crores. This is how the Aavin came has unfolded over the past month. It was a chance seizure of a van by the Vellimedupettal police in a village near Tindivanam in a mid-night operation on August 19. After interogation, the police found out that milk was being pilfered from Chennai-bound tankers leaving the Tiruvannamalai chilling centre of the Vellore District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union.