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Monday, December 5, 2016

How safe is a Safe ? ~ what do you have in your bank locker ?? - Insure and be secure !!

All of us are keen to earn more ! ~ most  likely you have a ‘safe deposit locker’ with a bank … depending on the valuables that you have – as one’s riches increase, one is forced to  chose renting  a bigger sized one (may be some require a room and not a box !) ~ and ever wondered : how safe is a safe ?

                      A safe deposit box, (not a safety deposit box) -  is an individually secured container, usually held within a larger safe or bank vault. Safe deposit boxes are generally located in banks, post offices or other institutions. Safe deposit boxes are used to store valuable possessions,  (Gold, silver, diamond ornaments ….) precious metals, currency, marketable securities, important documents such as wills, property deeds, - things that  need protection from theft, fire, flood, tampering, or other perils.

Typically, upon applying, Bank allots a locker and charges rent for the same.  The box which is either affixed to a wall or is a row of such boxes made of strong iron – can be opened only with combination keys. The Official first opens with a key – and then – in the two keyholes, one key held by the person and the other in the possession of official are used to open ….the official would leave the room – ensuring total privacy – the box can be locked by the owner – but reopening  can be done only by combined use of both the keys.  You may find slightly differential arrangement in Star hotels, resorts and cruise ships …. (the locker inside the room can be opened by a combination of numbers which the guest can select)

Though the banks collect ‘rent’ – ‘safe deposit charges’ (earlier they used to insist on Fixed deposits being kept) – RBI circular clarifies that the relationship between the bank and the locker hirer is in the nature of a 'bailor and bailee' and not 'landlord and tenant'.  The bank at all point of time, has no knowledge of the contents of the locker and the bank is required to exercise due care and necessary precaution for the protection of the lockers provided to the customer.  More importantly, the bank (or any other Company) is not liable for the contents kept in the Safe [some Insurers do cover material in the lockers upon proper declaration]

A fire in a PSU Bank exposed the vulnerability as those who had kept their valuables learnt from the Bank that they would not pay anything as they had taken sufficient care. Then  Chennai rains taught  the fact that most bank lockers in the city are either located on the ground floor or the basement.   After the  torrential rains, many parts of the city were under water for more than a couple of days – in some places there was inundation and water seepage into the lockers as well. Though the lockers are strong and fire-proof,  they are not water-proof … the water brought along filth and slush ~ damaging the contents, especially the documents kept inside the cupboards.  Even the Gold, Silver and other bullion kept inside would have required some  cleaning !

Now read this news item of Indian Express & Times of India -  A consumer court slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on a bank after a customer’s property deed documents stored in the bank’s locker were damaged by termites.

The complainants, a couple  from Anna Nagar have been joint account-holders of a locker in Chennai Bank since July 2000. A Memorandum of Lease Agreement for the locker was executed for this. In 2013, they kept two original title deeds, of their landed properties. After a few years, they in trying for a loan for construction, applied for a loan, and went to the bank for retrieving the documents from their locker – only to find  documents inside were eaten up by white ants. 

When the couple complained to the bank, they were assured that appropriate action would be taken. However, a month later, an employee at the bank rang them up, asking them to remove their documents from the locker. Defending its side, the bank claimed it had no knowledge of the damage to the documents, adding  that the lockers are made of steel and painted with anti-corrosives, making it impossible for ants to enter.

The District Consumer Redressal Forum, Chennai (North), presided over by K Jayabalan, found that the bank had initially accepted responsibility, but failed to respond.  The bank later denied responsibility.  Forum pointed out that there was no record of pest maintenance measures taken by the bank. The consumer body directed the bank to pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation for negligence, Rs 10,000 towards charges for obtaining certified copy of the original deed and Rs 5,000 towards litigation expenses.

Some could keep hard currency [some could hoard wads of currency and finding it difficult after demonetisation also] – another report in Indian Express mentions of a woman in Surat having trouble after termites feasting on her Rs 1 lakh kept in a locker.

Rushing to your locker today itself ! – there is no way, of an official documentation on what is kept in your locker – there are ways of insuring all your property against the risks of ‘Fire & allied perils; Burglary and the like’ – safely kept at home and at locker too … do contact your friendly Insurer.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Dec 2016.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Indian women win Asia Cup ~ selectors fiasco in U19 selection !

Cricket is always entertaining ~ the younger, the more.  In University level, and at school level, it often boils down – some cheating with fake age certificates and older players playing U16 and other tournaments !

The inaugural event was titled the McDonald's Bicentennial Youth World Cup, and was held in 1988 as part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations. The tournament was notable for the number of future international players who competed. Nasser Hussain; Mike Atherton; Venkatapathy Raju, Chris Cairns, Mushtaq Ahmed and Inzamam-ul-Haq; Sanath Jayasuriya, Brian Lara, Ridley Jacobs, Jimmy Adams – went on to represent their Nations.  

Way back in 2000, Sri Lanka hosted the ICC U19 WC for the first time.  It was the third edition of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup and the first to be held in Sri Lanka.  The Tourney was contested by sixteen teams, including three making their tournament debuts. After an initial group stage, the top eight teams played off in a super league to decide the tournament champions, with the non-qualifiers playing a separate "plate" competition. In the final, played at Colombo's Sinhalese Sports Club, India defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets. Both teams had made the final for the first time. Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh was named player of the tournament, while South Africa's Graeme Smith was the leading run-scorer and Pakistan's Zahid Saeed was the leading wicket-taker.  The other prominent players were Mohd Kaif, RS Sodhi, Ajay Ratra and Y Venugopala rao.

There are tournaments for the young in other sports as well.  FiFA U-17 World Cup is one, which interestingly was founded as the FIFA U-16 World Championship, later changed to its current name in 2007.  It was inspired by the Lion City Cup that was created by the Football Association of Singapore in 1977.  The first edition was staged in 1985 in China, and tournaments have been played every two years since then. Nigeria is the most successful nation in the tournament's history, with five titles and three runners up. Brazil is the second-most successful with three titles and two runners-up. Ghana and Mexico have won the tournament twice.

This year, a staggering 26 members of Nigeria's Under-17 side failed an age test carried out ahead of an African Cup of Nations qualifier. Reportedly a  mandatory Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) screening of the squad revealed almost half were ineligible to play. In 2015, the Golden Eaglets, as they are known, won the FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile for a record fifth time. Accusations of age cheating have blighted Nigeria's success at international age group tournaments in recent years.

Back to Cricket, this year in U19 World Cup, against Nepal,  Rishabh Pant had the fastest recorded U-19 international century comfortably in his sights when he was dismissed for 78 off 24 balls, having blown Nepal Under-19 away in a small chase. Pant did break the record for the fastest recorded U-19 fifty though, getting there in 18 balls, one faster than the previous mark. The match was televised ….and soon after their captain Raju Rijal’s profile picture had popped up on screen, the phone lines were buzzing in the Mumbai cricket circles, wrote  Indian Express. There was only one question on everyone’s lips. “Is Raju Rijul actually Raju Sharma, the one who captained Mumbai’s U-15 team a decade ago?” – and some wrote that he was more than 25 but playing U19 !!!

In 2016  ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup contested by  sixteen International Cricket Council (ICC) members, all matches played had under-19 One Day International (ODI) status. Ten teams qualified automatically for the tournament through their status as ICC full members, while five others qualified by winning regional qualifying events. The final place at the tournament was taken by the winner of the 2015 Under-19 World Cup Qualifier, which was contested by the runners-up at the five regional qualifiers. Defending champions South Africa were knocked out of the tournament in the group stage, with back-to-back defeats to Bangladesh and Namibia.  West Indies eventually defeated India by five wickets, claiming their first title.

Oversight of an important email from the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) left India on the verge of embarrassment in the lead-up to the Under-19 Asia Cup. The cost of the error is not insignificant: it has broken the hearts of seven young cricketers born between November 1997 and November 1998, writes ESPN Cricinfo. On November 3, the BCCI announced through a media release a fresh batch of Under-19 cricketers who were to take part in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka in mid-December. On December 2, a day before the conditioning camp began in Bangalore, the Indian Express reported that the selectors had made seven changes to the original squad because of the last-minute discovery of the ACC email.

It turned out that the selectors picked the original team based on BCCI tournament norms: anyone who is under 19 can play Under-19 tournaments. The ACC, though, had clearly communicated its eligibility norms to the BCCI: only those who qualify for the next Under-19 World Cup, to be held in New Zealand in early 2018, were eligible for the Asia Cup. This communication was noticed because of a recent reshuffle of duties within the BCCI. Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI general manager - game development, who is now looking after Under-19 operations, spotted the email and arranged a fresh selection-committee meeting. Of the 39 players that played in the Under-19 Challenger Trophy, 22 were born before November 1998, and were thus ineligible to play the Asia Cup. Had they seen the email from the ACC earlier, the selectors would arguably have selected the Challenger Trophy squads accordingly.

Is it a slip or a casual attitude of office-bearers ?  India could have landed up in Sri Lanka with half its squad ineligible. While the risk of disqualification has been averted, seven players who had their passports made, visas stamped, and bags packed to go to Bangalore to train under Rahul Dravid suddenly have nowhere to go but their state Under-19 matches.

Away from U19 to Womens Cricket,  India's dominance in the women's Asia Cup extended as they sealed their sixth title in as many editions with a 17-run win over Pakistan in Bangkok. It was the second consecutive time India had beaten Pakistan in an Asia Cup final, having done so in 2012-13 as well. The win also ensured India remained unbeaten in this year's tournament, which was being played in the T20 format for the second time. It was Mithali Raj who set up the win, scoring an unbeaten 73 after India opted to bat and taking them to 121 for 5. The bowlers then sent down economical spells to choke Pakistan in the chase, restricting them to 104 for 6.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

4th Dec 2016.

HMS Illustrious that served in Falklands war to be scrapped ! - Ship-breaking !!!

The final preparations are being made to Britain's sole aircraft carrier before it sets sail on its last voyage.  It is a ship whose service began when it was rushed in to service for the Falklands War and went on to sail 900,000 miles around the world on deployments. The ship was involved in the Bosnian, Iraq and Sierra Leone conflicts and also helped to evacuate Brits during the Lebanon war in 2006.   

The life span of such ships is roughly 25 to 30 years ! – perhaps when there was no shortage of material, and the ships could be carefully and leisurely built, it was not as worthwhile breaking up a wooden ship. She was generally taken to some quiet spot and left to fall to pieces with the minimum of trouble to her owners.

The sight of a very large vessel floating on water, carrying goods from one place to another offers imagination beyond dreams. Man has conquered the ocean sailing across with the aid of ships and boats which developed alongside mankind. Vessels have borne the key in history’s greatest explorations. The cargo - from slaves to modern day containers, dry and wet, live, frozen and refrigerated, big machineries, bulk cargo, liquid cargo – the variety is endless. But just as most things have a shelf life, ships also have a limited span of life. Depending upon the type of vessel and nature of goods carried, generally after 25-30 years ships are at the end of their sailing life. These vessels who have outlived its existence are sold and dismantled to recover the valuable steel. A very major % of the vessel consists of steel which can be rerolled besides valuable machinery such as generators, marine engines etc., There are various other miscellaneous material as well.

They are taken to on a funeral voyage to the junk-yard – with high tide, they are simply intentionally run aground, as closer to the shore as possible, then cruelly cut into pieces manually, pulled a bit more, and eventually even the keel vanishes !!

Now it is the turn of ‘HMS Illustrious’, which served in the Falklands War, the Gulf War and Bosnia, to be scrapped on Wednesday. It will leave its base at Portsmouth and head to Turkey where it has been sold for £2million. Daily Mail reports that the last of the Invincible-class aircraft carriers, which could be armed with Harrier jets and attack helicopters, was retired in 2014 after entering service in 1982. The ship's final years have been controversial after the Ministry of Defence declined plans to preserve her as a naval museum. A last ditch attempt to save her from scrap was refused by naval bosses despite £3million being offered.

HMS Illustrious will make way for for two new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, the first of which will be commissioned for military operations in 2020. The MoD expects the carrier to leave Portsmouth for Leyal Ship Recycling and Dismantling company in Aliaga, Turkey, on Wednesday depending on weather conditions. It is the same yard which scrapped her sister ships Ark Royal and Invincible. HMS Ark Royal was scrapped for £2.9 million in 2013 and HMS Invincible fetched around £2 million in 2011.

It is not alone nor the first ship.  Five other Navy ships have borne the name Illustrious. The first won battle honours alongside Horatio Nelson’s gunship to secure victory over the French in the 1795 battle of Genoa. The current Illustrious was built by Swan Hunter shipyards, Tyne and Wear, and commissioned ahead of schedule in 1982 to allow to serve in the Falklands War. In 1986 she suffered a catastrophic gearbox failure and was swept by a major fire – almost prompting a call to abandon ship – that put her out of action for several months of repairs. She has sailed 898,893 miles, equivalent to 36 times around the equator. She was also involved in efforts to distribute relief in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013.

Veterans who sailed on Illustrious viewed her demise as sad but inevitable. Speaking earlier this year, David Rogers, vice chairman of the HMS Illustrious Association, said: ‘We’re all very sad it’s come to this obviously, but I think it was an inevitability. ‘The ship was conditioned in 1982. She was probably only designed to last 20 years and she did another 12 years after that.' The ship, nicknamed ‘Lusty’, has been moored in Portsmouth since she was decommissioned in a moving ceremony in the city on August 28, 2014.  
I had always thought that only ships had funeral voyage – it appears that ship-breaking yards too are headed for swan song.  The Indian town of Alang, which was considered one of the biggest ship recycling centre, where workers with blow torches cut segments of steel stripped from the rusting hull of a towering cargo ship – are hit reportedly by  a flood of cheap Chinese steel and new European Union environmental rules – is the business dying is the Q ? as the buzzing town is slowly losing its prominence. The plunging steel prices has contributed a lot to this. 

The Marine Hull Tariff provided ways of covering these ‘ dying ships ‘ under two different sections. Sec V of the erstwhile Marine Hull Tariff provided for coverage of funeral voyages from a place in a Port to the breakup yard or vessels lying at sheltered places awaiting break up. This was more of transit insurance and would cease upon beaching or starting up of breaking operations.  Another Section  provided for Ship breaking insurance – insurance of vessels in the course of being broken up. Here the Sum insured was to be Full purchase price + customs duty + port charges + any other government levy. The period was not on voyage basis but was to be reckoned in period of full months, arrived at the basis of actual LDT of the vessel. The policy though issued in Hull Department was more or less Fire Policy ‘C’ cover providing coverage against Fire, Lightning, Explosion / Implosion, Impact damage, Aircraft damage, Riot, strike, malicious damage and additional cover against Earthquake, STFI perils etc.,

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
2nd Dec 2016.

Credits  : Photos and news of HMS Illustrious –

Google celebrates Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose birthday with a doodle

Before the advent of twentieth century, science did not acknowledge the vitality of trees and plants. Then, on May 10,  1901, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose proved that plants are like any other life form. Bose proved that plants have a definite life cycle, a reproductive system and are aware of their surroundings. The demonstration took place in the Royal Society in London, England.  The science behind capturing radio waves was first demonstrated by Bose. While Marconi was celebrated for his invention, Bose remained unknown to many, as he never patented his work

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose,[1858 – 1937) was a polymath, physicist, biologist, biophysicist, botanist and archaeologist, as well as an early writer of science fiction.  He pioneered the investigation of radio and microwave optics, made very significant contributions to plant science, and laid the foundations of experimental science in the Indian subcontinent. IEEE named him one of the fathers of radio science.  He also invented the crescograph. A crater on the moon has been named in his honour.

Born in Munshiganj, Bengal Presidency during the British Raj, Bose graduated from St. Xavier's College, Calcutta. He then went to the University of London to study medicine, but could not pursue studies in medicine because of health problems. Instead, he conducted his research with the Nobel Laureate Lord Rayleigh at Cambridge and returned to India. He then joined the Presidency College of University of Calcutta as a Professor of Physics. There, despite racial discrimination and a lack of funding and equipment, Bose carried on his scientific research. He made remarkable progress in his research of remote wireless signalling and was the first to use semiconductor junctions to detect radio signals. However, instead of trying to gain commercial benefit from this invention, Bose made his inventions public in order to allow others to further develop his research. Bose subsequently made a number of pioneering discoveries in plant physiology. He used his own invention, the crescograph, to measure plant response to various stimuli, and thereby scientifically proved parallelism between animal and plant tissues.

Google today celebrates 158th  birthday of Jagdish Chandra Bose with a doodle.  The Google Doodle shows the scientist with crescograph, which is an instrument that he invented to measure growth in plants. It also determines environment effects on vegetation.

His invention, crescograph helped scientists better understand about cultivation of crops in an effective way.   Prior to his death in 1937,  Acharya J. C. Bose founded the Institute in 1917, with the purpose of investigating fully "the many and ever opening problems of the nascent science which includes both life and non-life". Acharya Bose s early career included many marvelously inventive and pioneering experiments on electromagnetism which, in J. J. Thomson s words, marked "the dawn of the revival in India, of interest in researches in the Physical Sciences", and on the commonality of the response of plants and inorganic materials to electric and mechanical stimuli. Those early successes lay behind the stated purpose. Bose s successors remained true to that purpose.

He was elected the Fellow of the Royal Society in 1920 for his amazing contributions and achievements. To recognise Mr Bose's achievements, a small-impact crater on the far side of the Moon is named after him. It is located close to Crater Bhabha and Crater Adler and has a reported diameter of 91 kilometres. Jagadish Chandra Bose was more than just a botanist. He was a polymath adept in mathematics, electromagnetism, microwave technology. He is even given the credit to be the first to successfully use microwaves as radio signals.

In November 1895, Bose presented a public demonstration at Town Hall in Calcutta where he sent an electromagnetic wave across 75 feet, passing through walls to remotely ring a bell and to explode some gunpowder. Bose is known as the father of wireless communication. He had invented the Mercury Coherer, a radio wave receiver that was used by Guglielmo Marconi to build an operational two-way radio.  Being a colonised Indian, Bose was denied access to laboratories. He would conduct his experiments only at his place. He would work inside a 24-square-feet room, which is hardly enough for any scientific experiment.  He was considered as the pioneer of Bengali science fiction. His book 'Polatok Toofan'(Absconding Storm) described how a cyclone could be averted by using a bottle of hair oil. It explained how oil changes the surface tension and holds water. His book 'Niruddesher Kahini'(Story of the Untraceable) was the first major Bengali science fiction.

The inventor of "Wireless Telecommunications", Bose was not interested in patenting his invention. In his Friday Evening Discourse at the Royal Institution, London, he made public his construction of the coherer. Thus The Electric Engineer expressed "surprise that no secret was at any time made as to its construction, so that it has been open to all the world to adopt it for practical and possibly moneymaking purposes."

Media is highlighting the tribute by Google doodle –Independent Co Uk writes ~ :  Bangladeshi scientist Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose was born 158 years ago, and became a world leader in telecommunications with innumerable achievements to his name.  He was born in Munshiganj, historically known as Bikrampur, now a  district in central Bangladesh.  The writer needs to check his history – there was no Bangladesh prior to 1971 !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

30th Nov. 2016.