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Sunday, June 4, 2017

mudslide in Sri Lanka kills people ~ what is AOG ?

Many of us do not really appreciate the good things in life ~ and would understand the calamities, only when we see them for real ~ worser still, if one were to face them !!

In Insurance parlance, one would often come across ‘Act of God’ [what will it be for atheists ?]  ~ it could be defined as natural disaster outside human control, such as an earthquake, flood, cyclone  or tsunami, for which persons are not  responsible.  An Act of God may amount to an exception or  an "insured peril" in an insurance policy.  This phrase would generally ring an alarm bell, making one think of natural disasters like :   hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, hail, or floods. However,  what it can include  can be fuzzier than most people realize.  A fire arising out of lightning would fall under this .. ..

In hilly areas and in US, landslides  occur  and can be caused by a variety of factors including earthquakes, storms, volcanic eruptions, fire and by human modification of land. Landslides can occur quickly, often with little notice and the best way to prepare is to stay informed about changes in and around your home that could signal that a landslide is likely to occur.

In a landslide, masses of rock, earth or debris move down a slope. Debris and mud flows are rivers of rock, earth, and other debris saturated with water. They develop when water rapidly accumulates in the ground, during heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt, changing the earth into a flowing river of mud or “slurry.” They can flow rapidly, striking with little or no warning at avalanche speeds. They also can travel several miles from their source, growing in size as they pick up trees, boulders, cars and other materials.  Landslide problems can be caused by land mismanagement too, particularly in mountain, canyon and coastal regions. In areas burned by forest and brush fires, a lower threshold of precipitation may initiate landslides.

What we have not experienced and not much read is ‘mud slide’ – a  mudflow   is a form of mass wasting involving "very rapid to extremely rapid surging flow" of debris that has become partially or fully liquified by the addition of significant amounts of water to the source material.  Mudflows contain a significant proportion of clay, which makes them more fluid than debris flows; thus, they are able to travel farther and across lower slope angles.  Mudflows are often called mudslides, a term applied indiscriminately by the mass media to a variety of mass wasting events. We are not talking of the mudflows arising from outbursts of volcanoes.

In neighbouring Srilanka, mudflow is wreaking havoc.  Sri Lanka has appealed for outside help as the death toll from floods and mudslides on Saturday rose to 100 with 99 others missing. The Disaster Management Center states that  more than 2,900 people have been displaced.  reports that  military used large armored vehicles and boats to transport people to safety. But some remained trapped in interior villages where boats have been unable to reach. At an intersection close to Agalawatte, 98 kilometers (60 miles) south of Colombo, the capital, some deaths were reported, awaiting boats to be taken to a temple where displaced people have taken refuge.

Residents of Wehangalla village near Agalawatte were marooned as floodwaters swamped most of the buildings up to the roof. They had fled to higher terrain but four people among them died in a mudslide and three others are missing. They complained that government aid still had not reached the area and they were surviving on food provided by those in nearby villagers.

The Sri Lankan government appealed to the United Nations as well as other countries for help with rescue and relief measures. Mudslides have become common during the monsoon season in the tropical Indian Ocean island as land has been heavily deforested to grow export crops such as tea and rubber. Last May, a massive landslide killed more than 100 people in central Sri Lanka.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th May 2017.

Super Cop KPS Gill is no more !! - Tributes ..

Every year the Republic Day Parade attracts people for sure .. .. .. do you know your local Police Inspector ?  For sure, in rotation you could see a young brave Officer in uniform, and if you are following, you might see him land up in higher posts, achieving something for the State.

This classic image of a fearless Indian soldier imbued with the almost holy duty of love and sacrifice for his motherland has long been celebrated in our popular culture.  ~ and if you are attach a Name and image to that – it could easily be – KPS Gill [the one whom I admire most is Mr K Vijayakumar IPS] - One living figure that fits this picture, many would say, has to be KPS Gill. Towering at 6 feet, armed with a thick Maharaja moustache, a piercing pair of eyes and a mug that rarely breaks into a smile while in uniform can be an ideal image of a hero for many. And with a body of work that articulates valour, leadership and awe from his subordinates, it is all the more a model.  IN the early 1970s, as crowds spilled out of Guwahati soccer matches, fans would often be greeted by the sight of an imposing, 6-foot Sikh officer, his lathi in hand, the star and Ashok Chakra on his epaulette identifying him as the city’s Superintendent of Police. If brawls broke out, the officer’s escort would round on the first man at hand, and a fearsome screaming would follow. “The first man at hand”, recalls one of Gill’s colleagues. 

Kanwar Pal Singh Gill is no more !!   The Super Cop, served twice as Director General of Police (DGP) for the state of Punjab, India, where he is credited with having brought the Punjab insurgency under control.  Gill was an author, editor, speaker, consultant on counter-terrorism, president of the Institute for Conflict Management and president of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF). He received a Padma Shri award, India's fourth-highest civilian honour, in 1989 for his work in the civil service. [ if you search the list you will see many actors / actresses in the list of Padma award – how they share the award with acclaimed men like Gill and Scientists is no mystery !!]

Apart from keeping militancy at bay, Gill had successfully handled two hijacking incidents at the same tarmac in Amritsar in 1993.  A Delhi-Srinagar Indian Airlines flight 427  was hijacked by Hizbul Mujahedeen hijacker Syed Jalaluddin, who  held a marathon six-hour negotiation; meantime, six helicopters ferried NSG team that surrounded the plane. Gill’s men used silent pistol to silence the militant armed with revolver and grenades  and he was the only one killed, all passengers safe.   
Kunwar Pal Singh Gill, who passed away at 82 on Friday morning in New Delhi after battling kidney and heart disease for several years, earned a national reputation for stamping out the Khalistan insurgency at a time when many had given up Punjab as lost. His colleagues in the Indian Police Service, recalled an officer with an exceptional talent for leadership during crisis, and a willingness to experiment with radical new strategies to fight terrorism.

“He was honest to core where money was concerned, and a man of immense courage, the courage of a lion,” recalled E N Rammohan, former Director General of the Border Security Force who served under Gill for the first time in 1969.  Gill’s major successes included commanding Operation Black Thunder in 1988 — an operation which demonstrated terrorists could have been flushed out of the Golden Temple in 1984 without massive loss of life, and its devastating political fallout.

Gill was, however, removed by Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar Singh’s government, in a bid to facilitate negotiations with Khalistan groups.  He had brought in fresh ideas including armoured vehicles of a different kind.  Faced with terrorists hiding in high sugarcane fields, which made locating them dangerous business, Gill’s in-house research unit invented the armoured tractor, a crude but effective armoured vehicle that could drive into the slushy fields. Forensic tools and jammers were built from scrap. Exceptional leadership, contemporaries say, was Gill’s most important skill. Gill’s real contribution, was, experts believe, to break one of the most hallowed principles of Indian counter-insurgency — that military-led operations, involving large-force saturation of the countryside was the best way to address challenges to the state. Instead, he pioneered a new doctrine, which involved light-footprint offensive operations, based on intelligence-led developed by local police stations.

A book on him by Rahul Chandran titled ‘KPS Gill : The Paramount Cop’ hit the stands.  Its intro reads :  In 1860, when the civil war was going on in USA, General Ulysses S. Grant under the President Abraham Lincoln, played a major role in preserving the Union, the United States of America. Americans elected Grant as President of America. In 1990s, The Paramount Cop, KPS Gill, played a similar role in preserving the Union of India. He is the Ulysses S. Grant of India. Do we Indians remember him? Gill is epitome of extreme honesty, unwavering courage, unbeatable intelligence and uncompromising patriotism.

Long live Gill, Gill is no more !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th May 2017.

Pic and news credit : New Indian Express.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

the all new (or is it vintage) Hindu Primary School ~ Triplicane

School days are pleasant days – the days when we were young and unbiased in thoughts.

The name  * Thiru Allikkeni * (meaning the sacred pond of lily)   pronounced Thiruvallikkeni  by natural laws of linguistics, was crudely rolled and twisted out of shape by the English tongue as Triplicane.  It is a place where religion, nationalistic fervour, patriotism, sports, education and the individual dignity have interspersed for the benefit of the State and the larger interests of the Nation.  A peep in to the past – history is imperative to understand the pristine glory of this puranic place.    Triplicane houses some best historic educational institutions driving home the point of scholastic excellence for decades.  There is Presidency College (probably one of the first colleges in the province);  Hindu High School, Kellet High School, NK Thirumalachariar school for Boys & Girls, Lady Willington School to name a few.

Those who have been in and have  seen Triplicane,  would  never miss that imposing [Red / Saffron] structure at 149 Big Street, Triplicane, Chennai 600 005.

                      A landmark by itself – an imposing structure - bricks and saffron coloured walls with Indo-sarsenic architecture has inspired many and created many worthy students.  Hindu High School founded as Dravida Patasala for Tamil boys which later amalgamated with The Hindu Andhra Balura Patasala for Telegu boys that were in existence in 1852. In 1860 they were amalgamated as The Triplicane Andhra Dravida Balura Patasala and in 1898 renamed “ The Hindu High School”.  It has been a great learning  centre producing eminent personalities and transforming the lives of tens of thousands of people into responsible citizens for the cause of nature building.   The school was for long, considered as one of the best schools in the Madras Presidency and was once the feeder school to Presidency College, another institute of formidable repute of yore.

Triplicane has long been a centre of culture and learning and pioneer in cooperation and social work. It is no wonder, therefore,that the residents of the locality in the forties and fifties of the last century took to starting two small school, one for Tamil boys and the other for Telugu boys.  Reportedly the Tamil school had a strength of 18 boys at the start and the subjects taught were Kural, naidatham, Nanool Kandigai and Nigandoo; History, Geography and Arithmetic were also taught. English also was taught to those who desired it. Sri: . Valliumbalavathiar; Krishnaswamy lyengar;  P.Arunachala Naicker; Venkateseshiah &  R.Newton were the first 5 Headmasters of this great institution.

It is my  good fortune that I studied in this glorious edifice.  I studied there from 6th  standard till 12th  Standard (the maximum span then) – that is now set to change ! The academic year 1979-80 was the Second batch of +2.  As you would recall, earlier the school curriculum was that students would study upto 11 Standards in Schools.  The Secondary School Leaving Examination (popularly known as SSLC) – a Government examination conducted commonly for all schools would be taken up  on 11th  standard.  Those who were successful went to Colleges for joining what was known as PUC and then Graduation.  In 1978-79 – the system underwent a major change – it became 10 + 2.  The Public examination was to be conducted for the X Standard and then students would study specified streams : Science, Commerce and Vocational for 2 years before joining college for Under Graudation.  Thus those of us who passed out SSCL (X) in 1979 were the second batch. 

To our new +2,  we proudly went to classes wearing a full khaki pant and white shirt.  The next year -  it became White and white and rest is history. 

The magnificent edifice of the School in that ‘Brick Red’ is imposing ! – there is the Main building, one opposite to the building that housed the Lab and +2 those days and then the yellow building abutting the Stage ground.  The year 2017 is another watershed year, as it might turn out to be !!

From this year (Academic 2017 – 18), the Hindu High School Management has decided to start a Primary School [L Kg to 5th Standard] under the same management.  This would function in the new building opposite to that great landmark building.   Passing by that great building, one stopped to read the board again, and continue walking with hopes that many young children would by initiated to good education and becoming future great citizens.

Wishing our School all success and glory.

~ ever loving  (ex)student – S. Sampathkumar

26th May 2017.

Mumbai CST - Karmali Tejas Superfast train to be inaugurated tomorrow

Karmali, also known as Carambolim, is one of the prominent villages of Goa situated in the Tiswadi taluk of North Goa District. The village has a rich history and is renowned for its wet lands and churches. Panaji, the state capital, is 13 km west of Karmali.

This place is in news – being connected to Mumbai by Train - Mumbai CST - Karmali Tejas Express. The train has 5 halts, though there are  76 intermediate Stations between Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Karmali. Indian Railways is introducing  high speed, air-conditioned Tejas Express (Train No 22119/22120) between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai and Karmali for the first time. Tejas Express is a state of the art train capable of running at the speed of 200 kmph with ultra modern amenities run between Mumbai and Karmali (5 days a week during Non-monsoon period and 3 days a week during monsoon period).

Mr Suresh Prabhu, Union Railway Minister  will flag-off Train No. 22119 Mumbai CST-Karmali Tejas Superfast as Inaugural Special 02119 from Mumbai CST on 22/05/2017 (Monday) at 15.25 hrs via Video conferencing from Swami Narayan Sabhagruh, Dadar. The train will reach Karmali at 00:35 hrs on next day.  Karmali railway station is the third station (after Pernem and Tivim) within Goa, when entering from the north, under the jurisdiction of Konkan Railway. Karmali railway station is closest railway station to the State capital Panjim or Panaji, which is the administrative capital of Goa, and is located in the central part of Goa.

Mr. Prabhu had earlier inspected the rake in Delhi. During his Budget speech in 2016, he had said Tejas would "showcase the future of travelling by trains in India." The Tejas Express is quipped with  “Lazy Boy” type recliners, USB charging ports, LED TVs at the back of the seats, coffee vending machines, CCTV cameras and GPS-based information displays.  According to the fare chart released by the railways on Saturday, passengers will  pay almost three times more than what they pay for normal trains to reach Karmali in the first air-conditioned compartment and chair-car of Tejas Express. The high-speed rake is capable of running at the speed of 200 kmph but due to track constraints will run at 160 kmph.

Some reports state that a  day before Tejas Express will embark on its maiden journey from Mumbai to Goa, unidentified persons damaged the windows of the Indian Railways' premium train. The windows, made of glass, were found cracked after the train arrived in Mumbai from Delhi, news agency ANI reported on Sunday.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st May 2017.