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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Delhi Daredevils plays Pune Warriors at Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium


Have you heard of these and do you know where these are located ? : - Mahanadi, Indrawati, Shivnath, Kharun, Arpa, Pairi, Lilagar, Sone, Hasdeo, Kanhar, Kelo, and Rehar.  The lead name Mahanadi, gives an indication that these are names of rivers !!!

At a time when CSK plays KKR at Chepauk, comes the news that the play-off matches (Qualifier 1 and Eliminator) of the ongoing T20 league is finally out of Chennai and Delhi will host the matches on May 21 and 22.  The matches have been shifted out of Chennai since the team owners had objected to their Sri Lankan players not being allowed to play in the southern city due to a political issue.  Some reports have try to project that Chennai would stand to lose some money ~ but that is a different principle….

Miles away, is the city of Raipur, the capital of State of Chattisgarh.  It was formerly a part of Madhya Pradesh before the state of Chhattisgarh was formed on November 1, 2000. Raipur is located near the centre of a large plain, sometimes referred as the "rice bowl of India", where hundreds of varieties of rice are grown. The Mahanadi River flows to the east of the city of Raipur, and the southern side has dense forests.  The district was once part of southern Kosal and considered to be under Mourya Kingdom. Raipur city had been the capital of the Haihaya Dynasty Kalchuri kings, controlling the traditional forts of the Chhattisgarh for a long time. Satawahana kings ruled this part till the 2nd–3rd century. In the 4th century AD the king Samudragupta conquered this region.   

Today, Pune Warrior play Delhi Daredevils at a neutral venue……… yes not in Delhi or Pune, but in Raipur……..  and in a new stadium named after ‘Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium’………….  The stadium spread out in 50 acres has an electronic score board, nine pitches and car parking space up to 6,000 four-wheelers and 11 ticket plazas while work is on for construction of a cricket museum and restaurants.

Before you read of cricket, this place has its connection to Indian freedom struggle ~ the rising of 1857 marked  the beginning of the country's struggle for freedom after a century of uninterrupted foreign domination. The violent outbreak of the Sepoys at Meerut on the evening of 10 May was not a mutiny similar to those which had occurred earlier in the British Indian Army to ventilate certain local grievances of the soldiers. It did not remain an isolated incident. The rebellion soon spread beyond the Bengal Army and assumed the character of a general revolt, which was enthusiastically joined by the civil population of Hindustan. The country witnessed a popular upsurge of deep-seated and widespread bitterness against the alien rulers. The East India Company's Government was swept from large parts of North India and the very foundations of British rule were shaken. It appeared for some time that the Company's Raj had disappeared from the land. Narayan Singh Binjhwar, the scion of the Zamindar family of Sonakhan in Chhattisgarh, was born in 1795. During a severe famine, in 1856, he helped the people to save them from starvation. He was falsely implicated and arrested in October, 1856. When the flames of 1857 war reached Chhatisgarh, the masses elected the imprisoned Narayan Singh as their leader and liberated him from the jail. After organising the local people, Narayan Singh had an encounter with the British army near Sonakhan. Moved by the atrocities of the British and the resultant devastation and destruction, Narayan Singh surrendered to the British to protect the lives of his people. His public execution on 10 December 1857 provoked the public and the army contingent at Ranipur, which rose in yet another revolt. Veer Narayan Singh's martyrdom was a memorable event in the history of Chhattisgarh and lent momentum to the freedom struggle ~ and the stadium is named after that martyr as ‘Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium’. 

Two games have been allotted and are to be played here bringing Raipur to Cricketing league.  Cricinfo reports that the  long road that separates the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium from the city of Raipur is flanked by vast stretches of farms, grazing pastures, and the odd concrete structure. This road connects Raipur to its new twin city, Naya Raipur, the planned administrative capital of Chhattisgarh, where the state government's functionaries will be housed. Two structures stand out: the stadium and the Swami Vivekananda Airport, a swanky structure of glass and chrome, both gleaming edifices of modernity. The stadium is a hive of activity as the local association's officials prepare for their first big show - the Sunday game between Daredevils and Warriors.

Raipur's first IPL match is as much a testimony to political will as it is to cricket's mass following. Much of Chhattisgarh's cricket history is shared with Madhya Pradesh, the state from which it was carved in 2000. Raipur's selection as an IPL venue may have been baffling - the city is more than 1000km from Delhi, and was not seen as a catchment area or a cricketing outpost for the Daredevils franchise - but now, a few days before the game, the doubts are dispelled. The stadium looks every bit the picture of the modern sports arena it was intended to be. The media facilities have been redone, the corporate boxes are plush, and roofs cover the rest of the ground, giving the ordinary spectator enough comfort from the stifling heat.

Like Chennai and other places, the tickets are costly though ~ starting from Rs.850/-  This stadium hosted a Half-Marathon, with the theme "Let us run" on December 16, 2012 to mark Vijay Diwas. Sunil Gavaskarhad rated this stadium to as one of the best stadiums in the country and had proposed to utilize it for all types of matches.  The stadium has 13 blocks named after the state's famous rivers such as the Mahanadi, Indrawati, Shivnath, Kharun, Arpa, Pairi, Lilagar, Sone, Hasdeo, Kanhar, Kelo, and Rehar.  The fa├žade looks more like that of a Palace or that of an Airport……. but it is that of the Cricket stadium.


with regards – S. Sampathkumar.
28th April 2013.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Govt admits that Chinese troops have intruded 19 kms inside Indian territory


How far is the Nation serious on serious issues ?  ~ a columnist in a leading portal stated that the recent incursions into Indian territory near Burthe in the Daulat Beg Oldi area of Eastern Ladakh in the western sector of the Sino-Indian border should be a matter for careful analysis and concern, but not alarm.  Do you understand or agree ?

Some reports put it that the latest face-off between India and China in Ladakh appears to be the worst since the one in 1986. This time, Chinese soldiers have pitched their tents deep inside India’s Depsang Valley in Ladakh. While New Delhi calls it incursion, Beijing denies it, saying that their troops are well within its own territory. Admittedly, the Indo-Chinese border is not well demarcated with China still claiming as its own large parts of India’s border areas. The Tibetan question has been an irritant between the two neighbours. Although there is an explicit understanding between New Delhi and the Dalai Lama that he will not use his headquarters for political purposes, Beijing has raised objections several times in the past to what it perceives as the spiritual heads forays into political activities using Dharamshala as a base.

China has not been a friendly neighbour ~ for that matter, none of the other countries have been…. A war was fought and lost in 1962 ~ things have not changed since.  There has been a sense of growing hostility not only in the border but also in the competition of economic order.  China’s latest intrusion in Ladakh lends itself to a suspicion that Beijing, emboldened by its economic prowess, is beginning to expect that its neighbours behave like “vassal states”. On Wednesday, Chinese military helicopters flew over Indian air space dropping food packets, cigarettes cartons and hand-written notes in what is being viewed in New Delhi as a brazen act of defiance.

Few months ago, China showed Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as its territory in maps of the country on their new e-passports, India has retaliated by issuing visas, containing Indian maps including these regions as part of it. But today’s TOI news comes as a shocker…. Times of India reports that the Govt on Friday for the first time admitted that People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops had intruded as much as 19 km inside Indian territory to pitch their tents there, even as it kept a third flag meeting between local commanders in eastern Ladakh "on hold'' to give China "time and space'' to withdraw its soldiers on its own. This formal admission came in a note submitted by defence secretary Shashikant Sharma to the parliamentary standing committee on defence, which said India has "deployed forces to keep a close watch on the border'' after over 30 PLA troops intruded 19 km into the Depsang Bulge area of Ladakh on April 15.

With rival soldiers locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation for the last 11 days at an altitude of 16,300 feet, this is the worst-ever standoff between the armies in over 25 years. Amid the flurry of top-level meetings among defence minister A K Antony, national security advisor Shivshankar Menon and Army chief General Bikram Singh on Friday, contingency plans to plug operational gaps and defences in Chumar, Spanggur Gap and the areas surrounding Depsang Valley were also reviewed. The IAF, too, resumed its air-dropping of supplies to Army troops on the ground in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector after they were briefly stopped in wake of the "deep'' Chinese intrusion.

Sources said India is "not in a hurry'' to hold another flag meeting in Ladakh after the first two such meets on April 18 and April 23 failed to break the deadlock and ended with only charges being traded between the two armies. China, in fact, is believed to have now asked for a flag meeting but India has kept the request "pending'' to see if diplomatic channels being worked deliver results over the next few days. A day after foreign minister Salman Khurshid held India was "not a pushover'' and that he hoped the Chinese incursion issue would be resolved before he visits Beijing on May 9, defence minister A K Antony said, "Negotiations and consultations are going on at various levels to find a peaceful solution to the Chinese incursion issue.'' The defence secretary and other MoD officials appeared before the parliamentary committee after its members wanted to know the actual ground situation in Ladakh. The meeting of the committee was cut short as the "quorum'' was incomplete and the members present were also dissatisfied with the sketchy information provided by the officials. The next meeting of the committee on May 30 will now take up the matter.

As per the note, it was on April 16 that Indian Army patrols reported the presence of the PLA troops in Depsang "19 km west of the Line of Actual Control and beyond our understanding of the Chinese perception of LAC''.

Govt admits of incursions as much as 19 km into Indian territory; does not take any action; Salman Khurshid continues with empty rhetoric of ‘India not a pushover’ ~ wants to visit Beijing ~ when and what action India take – even when our land is under the control of naked aggression of Chinese…. Shambolic are the affairs.

The reality could be that the Line of Actual Control between India and China is notional and has not been put down on any mutually agreed map ~ but what is the official position of India and when will it take any stern action when its position is subdued by arrogant Chinese behaviour.  2013 is not 1962 and the Indian media and politicians should not behave as though it was, by needlessly raising the decibel level and trying to push the government to adopt a hawkish course on the border.  In 1962, Aksai Chin was lost to China in what was described as ‘unfought war’ when Indian troops were clearly in a disadvantageous position with no clear political strategy……. It pains to read….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
27th April 2013.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Coimbatore killer fire and the lessons to be learnt............


‘Nobody leads alone in the pathway known as life’ says the advertising board in the building !



Even for those of us, dealing with claims, yesterday’s fire at Coimbatore was a rude shock as it involved loss of human lives.  Reports suggested that the building lacked emergency exit and the staircase was only 3 ft wide…….. the loss of life has left the city of Coimbatore fuming over the building rule violations and lack of safety measures……….but ‘Vigneshwar Cresta’ at Lakshmi Mills Junction is nothing unique, there could be 100s of such complexes in every city !!!


In a fire that broke out in a commercial complex, Vigneshwar Cresta, at the Lakshmi Mills Junction on Avanashi Road in Coimbatore on Thursday morning, sadly 4 women died. The deceased were identified as R. Keerthana (22), a receptionist, Sri Lakshmi (30), working with a share-broking firm and Vijayalakshmi (50) and Margaret Mary (55), both housekeepers. The bodies were charred by the time they were retrieved. Seven fire tenders battled the blaze for more than two hours. A few more were injured; two of them suffered fractures in the leg when they jumped off the third floor. Reportedly 3 personnel of Fire and Rescue Services were also injured. 


Fire soon engulfed the complex that houses many offices including those of Axis Bank, ICICI Lombard, Sharekhan (a sharebroking firm) and a firm dealing in computer peripherals. According to eyewitnesses, thick smoke started billowing from the third floor around 9.25 a.m. and security personnel alerted the staff in all the offices to leave the building. Thick smoke from burning false ceilings and interior decoration material hampered their rescue efforts. Fire Services officials said the cause of the fire and extent of damage were being investigated.  The Hindu and other newspapers reported that Police personnel at the signal stopped two city service buses and parked them against the building so that evacuees could use the vehicles as a chute to slide down to safety. Coimbatore Corporation vehicles that are equipped with ladders to repair streetlights also jumped the fray alongside battery of ambulances from the 108 service; a number of private hospitals were lined up for shifting the injured.


Mr. Viswanathan, Police Commissioner  appreciated the two drivers and conductors of a private and Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation city bus service namely Nagamanickam (30) and Ravikumar (49) both conductors and Murugan (45) and Rajendran (52) Drivers for their selfless service. The crew had parked the bus in such a manner providing a chute for the trapped victims to jump from the first floor to the roof of the bus and slide down to safety. Mr. Viswanathan said that the crew had saved lives as their priority and they never waited for any permission or clearance from the bus owner in the case of private bus and from the officials in the case of TNSTC bus. Their actions were selfless and were aware of the fact that the bus could suffer some damage and also of the risk of suffering injuries in the process of rescue. "Saving lives had remained their topmost priority".

Police registered a case of 304A (negligence causing death) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the owner of the building and manager of the commercial complex.  Today’s reports suggest that the Police arrested two persons in connection with the devastating fire ~  Mohanakrishnan, owner of the Sharekhan franchisee and complex manager Baskar have been arrested under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others). Special teams have been formed to nab the building owner Adithya, who is absconding, the Police Commissioner is quoted as saying.  Absence of emergency exit, fire extinguishers, provision for water hydrants, narrow stair case were believed to be the reasons for the loss of lives and injuries to so many. Police are also probing as to whether bio-metric access and exit systems were reasons for the staff not being able to escape instantly because of the failure of power circuits as a result of fire.

When buildings spruce up, it is their utility, the floor space that is utmost and safety takes the back seat.  There are building without emergency exits, violations and deviations being the norm rather than exceptions.  The Coimbatore Corporation is now  looking into the approval details of the building where the fire broke out, said an official of the civic body. Every Dept is aware that there are hundreds of buildings that are in violation of permitted floor space, permitted usage and do not have the fire service department approval.  Many old buildings have improper or temporarily drawn up electrical lines that are a great hazard.  It is time authorities get up and take action against all errant people. ‘Safety is everybody’s concern’….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
Photos courtesy : www.dinakaran.com & the hindu [police commissioner appreciation photo]

glittering gold ~ renting out jewellery trend

In the olden days when you did not have so much of TV channels and spare time, magazines provided the best entertainment…… and the butt of many jokes was ‘borrowing’ – not of money but of jewels and apparels for attending functions…… Either – gone are those days and people have stopped borrowing / lending or perhaps it is no longer one worthy of a joke. !!

Gold rates have started stabilizing and perhaps are on the little upward curve… when the month started a gram of 24 ct gold cost 2979 and that of 22 kt 2785…. It dipped and now it is Rs.2785/- & Rs.2604/- for 24 and 22 Carat respectively……. In between did you amass Gold at low rates ?

Today, read an interesting report in Indian Express of a new trend in Kerala, ‘renting out jewellery’.  The report states that the trade practice, which is prevailing in Gulf countries, has now found a place in the state too. The reluctance of the youth to wear more than bare minimum jewellery, drop in sales of rural jewellery shops and the sky-rocketing price are the major reasons behind the emergence of this new trend, point out jewellers. “The youth in Kerala are not crazy about jewellery. Hence, the parents are now opting for renting the jewellery for a few days, especially on the occasion of a wedding in the family. The affluent class and jewellers in rural areas are also following this practice. Soon it will emerge as a business model, though there are many safety aspects to consider,” said M M Ramachandran, Chairman and founder of Atlas Group. He added that since a majority of the jewellery is lying in bank lockers, people are now wearing it only for a  few  hours, that too only on the day of the wedding.

“They are now wondering why such costly jewellery should be bought for a day or  two,” Ramachandran said. According to Sanjeev Kumar G, MD, Progno Financial Planning Systems Private Limited, the risk factor is high in this kind of rent- the-jewellery business model. “The trend emerged when the prices were stagnant and the small jewellers found it difficult to up their sales. But with the gold prices moving northwards, there may be few takers for this scheme. The jewellers will also find it difficult to ensure safety,” he said. However Joy Alukkas, chairman, Joy Alukkas Group, said in the Gulf countries it is common to rent out jewellery for specific occasions. “But in Kerala, the trend is not going to last as it is a different market,” he said.

‘all that glitters is not gold’ is an old adage; now perhaps all that is glittering on somebody is perhaps not theirs too

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
News courtesy : The Indian Express

the Maha Kumbh Mela and Harvard University


The very name spells knowledge and is associated with educational research and scholarly people ~ that of Harvard University, the high place of learning in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature.

India is a place known for its religious congregations and nothing to beat Kumbh Mela, by its sheer numbers.  Braving the winter cold, tens of millions of people scoop on the confluence of rivers to have that sacred bath, praying, releasing marigold wreaths and rafts of small oil lamps into the river.   The  Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, is a mega event - millions of Hindus gather to bathe at the confluence of the sacred Ganga (Ganges) River, the Yamuna River, and the mythical underground Saraswathi.  Legend says that on his return to the Himalaya, Vishnu flew over this spot and dropped sacred nectar from a pitcher – a kumbh. By some accounts more than 80 million people attended the recent Kumbh Mela on 14 February 2013.



People moved by faith transcend miles completing their pilgrimmage and feeling happy in the holy bath.  Miles away, a study about the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage in India is to be presented at an annual symposium on South Asia hosted by the Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The two-day long symposium in the University's South Asia Institute (SAI) will focus on the timely appeal of South Asia to the humanities at the intersection of religion and civil society, ancient arts and cutting edge technologies, organisers said. South Asia without Borders 2013', the symposium will explore development, the juncture of caste and race, gender and human rights, social entrepreneurship and the arts, constitutionalism and development in South Asia, they said. "Mapping the Kumbh Mela", a study by 50 Harvard faculty, staff and student researchers who travelled to Allahabad in January this year, documents and analyses the processes involved in the Kumbh Mela, billed as the world's largest human gathering.

Team leaders will share insights and outcomes that have come from this massive interdisciplinary project and speak with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan at the symposium. Other topics at the symposium include "Why Europe Got Rich and Asia Did Not", "Historicity and Modernity of Caste" and "Gender and Contemporary South Asia".


The Maha Kumbh Mela, housed roughly 3 million people for its 55-day duration and drew as many as 20 million visitors on peak river-bathing days. Those researchers are to analyze the data they collected, from thousands of patient records at clinics and hospitals to water samples from the Ganges to measurements of the pop-up city’s grid and elevation.  For many these huge human gatherings are opportunities for the practice of commerce, politics, services of many kinds, or public health” — exactly the sort of interactions that bear fruit for academics.  The one big difference between the previous Melas and the present one could be the biggest data set ever of cellphone usage.

It has provided an opportunity for a politician too… the CM of UP Akhilesh Yadav is going to deliver lecture on organising Kumbh Mela.  Reports from Lucknow stated that accompanied by a battery of officials and two ministers, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday left for the US to deliver a lecture at the Harvard Business School on organising the Maha Kumbh Mela and the challenges faced by the administration. The 10-minute speech in English would see the chief minister sharing his upbringing, his schooling and the vision he has for the most populous state of the country. His address would follow a five-minute video presentation “Magic of Kumbh”, and a 25-minute power point presentation detailing the challenges the administration faced while organising the mega event in Allahabad town that began 14 January and concluded on 12 March.

The power point presentation is reported to have been prepared by management consultancy firm Ernst and Young, whose consultants were stationed in the state for more than 10 days during which they met several officials in the state capital Lucknow and Allahabad, and took extensive notes. The presentation was later reviewed by the chief secretary thrice, an official said. Government sources said the chief minister took out time twice from his busy schedule to review the presentation, which contains 60 graphical slides along with speaker notes. The chief minister and his team would also participate in an interactive session with students and faculty of the Harvard Business School and answer their queries. They would be staying at the Taj Mahal hotel on the Arlingston street in Boston.

Away, there is news of India formally protesting to the US over the brief detention of Uttar Pradesh Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan at Boston airport as he arrived to take part in an event at Harvard University. Khan, who is accompanying State Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for the presentation of a Harvard study on the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage, was detained for about 10 minutes for "further questioning" at Boston Logan International Airport Wednesday, according to Indian officials. Once the visitors were cleared for entry by immigration, a woman officer of the US Customs and Border Protection wing of the Homeland Security took Khan to an adjacent room "for further questioning," sources said. Incensed, Khan is reported to have kicked up a ruckus in the Imigration area saying he was detained because he was a Muslim and sought an apology from the officer who merely said she was doing her duty. At the State Department, when asked to comment on the incident, spokesman Patrick Ventrell said he was "not aware of the specifics of this case" as the Department of Homeland Security has jurisdiction over airport movements inside the US.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th April 2013.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kattupalli port handles its first vessel - X Press Indus



X Press Indus had the maiden honour…..

Various measures have been underway to reduce the congestion in the Chennai Port.  On 30th Jan 2013, another minor port came in to being nearer Chennai ~ it is the ‘Kattupalli Shipyard cum Captive Port Complex’  a large shipyard project at Kattupalli village near Ennore of Chennai built by L&T Shipbuilding Ltd. It is being set up jointly by TIDCO and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in two phases.

This is a Container handling facility and is expected to attract bigger container vessels.  In terms of cargo generation, the terminal is located close to the majority of Container Freight stations in Chennai.   In Jan 2013, it was inaugurated by  Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.  This facility coming under the Thiruvallur district is reportedly valued at Rs.3,375 crore.  The  port is spread over 1143 acres at nearby Tiruvallur district and the 810-acre ship building yard is the “biggest in India.” The shipbuilding yard reportedly has facilities for building huge cargo ships, vessels specially designed to transport natural gas, designing of equipment for exploring crude oil and natural gas from the sea and fabrication of heavy machines used for building ships and vessels.

Procedural formalities were cleared and given way for operation – in Nov 2012, Kattupalli Minor Port was declared as ‘Customs area’ for unloading of imported goods and loading of export goods. A day later on 8th Nov 12, the appointment of M/s L&T Shipbuilding Limited was notified as Custodian under Section 45(1) of the Customs Act 1962 vide notification 82/2012 Customs (N.T) issued by the Govt of India, Office of the Commissioner of Customs.

Thus after years of effort, the container loading facility at Kattupalli just 25 kms away from Chennai became operational.  This is expected to turn big much in the way of container terminals operated by DP World & PSA International.  Reports quoting the CEO of L&T Infrastructure stated the rates have been benchmarked with Chennai port.  The new facility constructed with an investment of Rs.3,989 crore,   reportedly has capacity to load 1.2 million standard containers a year.  

Though the port was inaugurated by the CM on 31st Jan, it had to wait till April for receiving its first ship.  According to newspaper reports,  X-PRESS INDUS (TCX service), a vessel belonging to X-press Feeders, reached the terminal about 7.20 PM on April 18 and left the port, after successful handling, by 1 AM on April 19. About 162 TEUs – 152 import and 10 export boxes – were handled at the terminal. The vessel reportedly carried electronic items for Toyota.  Sure the new beginning will grow bigger and we will hear of more activity at Kattupalli…

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
25th April 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Building collapse kills more than 70 in Bangladesh


When Earthquake or Tsunami leave hundreds dead ~ the only refrain that ‘man is too small before nature’ and nothing can be done about natural disasters……but what to say or do when priceless human lives are lost – primarily due to human greed and flouting rules………. Sad…

There are reports that around 70 people are feared dead in a building collapse in Bangladesh.  It happened in the Indian city of Thane and now it is Bangla’s turn… when it comes to travails of people, the Asian countries are no different – be it India, Pak, Lanka, Bangla, Burma or…….  In a dejavu scenario, it is reported that building collapses are common in Bangladesh where many multi-storey blocks are built in violation of rules.  Heard this elsewhere too !!!

The city of Savar nearer Dhaka may have a historic past, but will have to carry this pang of deaths now as  70 people have been killed and many more are feared trapped after an eight-storey building collapsed here. BBC and other agencies report that frantic efforts are under way to rescue those beneath the debris. At least 200 were injured by the collapse. The army is helping with the rescue operation on the outskirts of Dhaka. The eight-storey building contained a clothing factory, a bank and several other shops. It collapsed during the morning rush hour. Many people have gathered near the scene looking for friends and relatives. BBC reports that it is not yet clear what caused the collapse but local media reports said a crack was detected in the block on Tuesday. Rescue workers are using concrete cutters and cranes to dig through the rubble, BBC correspondent says.


There are some reports that factory owners appeared to have ignored a warning not to allow their workers into the building after the crack was detected.  Police told local media that the rear of the building suddenly started to collapse on Wednesday morning and within a short time the whole structure - except the main pillar and parts of the front wall - had caved-in, triggering panic. Only the ground floor of the Rana Plaza in Sava remained intact after the collapse, officials said, as army and fire service rescuers equipped with concrete cutters and cranes dug through rubble to pull out.

These should be termed more as ‘wilful negligence’ rather than accidents – in Nov last, a fire at a garment factory in a Dhaka suburb killed at least 110 people and triggered a public outcry about safety standards in the industry. Bangladesh has one of the largest garment industries in the world, providing competitively priced clothes for major Western retailers which benefit from its widespread low-cost labour.

Earlier this month, 4th of April 2013 to be precise, a building collapsed on tribal land in Mumbra, a suburb of Thane.  In what has been called the worst building collapse in the area, 74 people sadly lost their lives while more than 100 survived. That building reportedly was under construction and did not have an occupancy certificate for its 100 to 150 low- to middle-income residents.  Subsequent reports unearthed that the building was illegally constructed because standard practices were not followed for safe, lawful construction; land acquisition and resident occupancy. By 11 April, a total of 15 suspects were arrested including builders, engineers, municipal officials and other responsible parties.
A campaign began on 9 April by the Thane Municipal Corporation to demolish area illegal buildings, focusing first on "dangerous" buildings.  In wake of collapse, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC)  started a 24-hour call centre to receive complaints regarding the unauthorised constructions in the city ~ clearly giving hint of the menacing proportions of such illegal activity in the city.

Sad, that human life has no value here, especially, if those were to be of the poor

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th April 2013.

Summer rains bring some respite to Chennaites


Rain, the water from the sky is accorded a special status in Thirukural too.  The great sage Thiruvalluvar says


‘the continued existence of the World is owed to the rain ~ and hence it is equivalent to nectar for those of us in earth’


Chennaites were pleasantly surprised this morning ~ the rains in the morning were a great respite from the increasing temperature, a good protection from the increasing heat of summer. Those who were going to offices were affected [!] or did they rather enjoy the little inconvenience ~ suddenly one could see water flowing down the street, two-wheeler riders huddled in street corners and in places of protection…….. it lasted for a few minutes….. while this was the scene nearer Mount Road, back home at Thiruvallikkeni, it appeared there were no droplets even…….



In the past few days, mercury has been going up and it has been hot as people suffered the hot waves. It sweats a lot thereby draining one’s strength.  In some places – during summer there is onset of monsoon ~ no not in our parts…..  but when summer peaks, it does rain occasionally – such rain would either bring down the temperature and provide a pleasant climate and in sometimes do harm by increasing the sweltering heat, paving way for diseases.  

It was indeed a welcome rain, this morning at Chennai.

A casual browse threw up news of at least 13 persons having  died in rain-related incidents in the second bout of unseasonal heavy rain and thunderstorm that lashed several parts of Andhra Pradesh in the past couple of days. The report further puts that the rains also damaged standing crops in thousands of acres spread across the state, particularly in the agriculturally-rich coastal Andhra belt.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th April 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chris Gayle blows the wind out.......... fastest T20 century


Its shows a rather ordinary weather at Kingston, Jamaica.  Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island. Jamaica is an island of  the Caribbean Sea, comprising the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles.

Elsewhere  at Bangalore ~ Pune Warriors won the toss, put their opponents in, had a rain break too……………. but suffered heavily at the hands of - Christopher Henry Gayle

Bhuvaneshkumar started the proceedings – beat Gayle off the 2nd ball, gave a single in the third and finished the over giving just 3 runs………… but that was not to be the pattern of the match as the whole World was to know later – Gayle can shatter glass panes as also the dreams… Ishwar Pandey, the highest wicket-taker in this year's Ranji Trophy, was hit for 21 in his first IPL over, still should consider himself luckier than  Mitchell Marsh,  whose first went for 28; Aaron Finch gave 29 – Ali Murtaza 28 as Gayle first reached the century in just 30 balls and went on to remain unbeaten 175 off mere 66 balls

RCB made 263 and won by 130 runs was irrelevant……….. PWI bowling card were to read:
Bowler
Overs
maiden
runs
wkt
Eco
B Kumar
4
0
23
0
5.75
IC Pandey
2
0
33
0
16.5
AB Dinda
4
0
48
2
12
MR Marsh
3
0
56
1
18.66
AG Murtaza
2
0
45
0
22.5
AJ Finch
1
0
29
0
29
LJ Wright
4
0
26
1
6.5

This is the fastest 100 in T20s – 30 balls; Highest individual score – 175*; Most Sixes in an innings 17; Longest in IPL 119 M……………..

It was Gayle all the way…………

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
Gayle photo courtesy : www.iplt20.com

Enfield Bullet - new version 500 cc to hit Indian roads


A few decades ago, there was not so much of variety…… only the wealthy owned two-wheelers. 

Motor-bikes were considered macho… the brands seen on road were – Rajdoot 175 cc; Jawa [later Yezdi] 250cc with twin silencers; and the most princely Enfield Bullet 350 cc…  A Bullet motorcycle on road was the cynosure of all eyes ~ many would put a rubber mat improperly cut near its silencer that would produce thudding sound as the vehicle went majestically past.. not very fast and it was stated  by people that Bullet can actually cruise at walking speed too….  ~ it was ‘Royal Enfield Bullet’ to be precise – exhibiting its British connection and Enfield Motors was of Madras origin…. a la CSK of yore.  It was the bike used by Police  for patrolling too……

Read that Royal Enfield motorcycles made in England were being sold in India from 1949. The bullet however was first introduced in 1931 as a four-stroke single cylinder motorcycle by Royal Enfield UK. In 1955, the Indian government looked for a suitable motorcycle for its police and army, for patrolling the country's border. The Bullet was chosen as the most suitable bike for the job. The Indian government ordered 800 350 cc model Bullets. In 1955, the Redditch company partnered with Madras Motors in India to form 'Enfield India' to assemble, under licence, the 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle in Madras. The first machines were assembled entirely from components shipped from England. In 1957, the tooling was sold to Enfield India so that they could manufacture components. By 1962, all components were made in India.

After demise of parent company Royal Enfield in England, Enfield India  continued to make Enfield bikes. In 1994, Eicher Group bought into Enfield India and later the Enfield India firm acquired the rights to the name Royal Enfield. Royal Enfield of India now sells motorcycles in over twenty countries.

Over the years 100cc motorcycles and later bigger ones like Pulsar have been dominating the market ~ yet the passionate still retain their love for ‘Bullet’.  Now it is reported that Eicher Motors' two-wheeler arm Royal Enfield are now launching their Bullet 500, priced at Rs 1.54 lakh (on-road, Delhi). "The iconic Bullet motorcycle gets a new lease of power with the launch of the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 in India," the company said in a statement. The 500 cc motorcycle will be available at Rs 1,53,855 (on road price for Delhi) and it will be launched in a phased manner across the country, it added. Initially, the bike will be launched in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi-NCR and Kerala that have traditionally been the best markets for the Bullet.

From the stables of Bullet, had seen Enfield Crusader,  Enfield 200 too ~ there were some other models in 1980s – Enfield Explorer and Silverplus which was 65 cc bike…. Silver+ had hand-operated gears while for Explorer, it was foot… they did not survive and are no longer on road now………. 


In Jan 1980, when India defeated Pakistan in the 1st Test at Chepauk, Kapil Dev the Man of the Match was presented an ‘Enfield Bullet’ ~ Sandip Madusudhan Patil, made his debut in that test….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
23rd April 2013.

Paris Parks try out eco-friendly lawn mowing.. the Ouessant sheeps


After pathbreaking inventions and improvement in technologies, mankind often returns to Nature finding it to be the best solution.

Ouessant  [also- Ushant] is an island at the south-western end of the English Channel which marks the north-westernmost point of metropolitan France.

Many public places have grass and natural vegetation that adds attraction.  Lawn mowers are used to keep them under control ~ the machines use  revolving blade or blades to cut a lawn at an even height. Lawn mowers employing a blade that rotates about a vertical axis are known as rotary mowers, while those employing a blade assembly that rotates about a horizontal axis are known as cylinder or reel mowers.  There are hand guided as also mechanically driven mowers depending upon the area and usage. 



There is a special breed of domestic sheep called - Ouessant (or Ushant) that take their name from the island of Ouessant. It is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds and  is one of the smallest breeds of sheep in the world. Most Ouessant are black or dark brown in color, but white individuals do occur. It is stated that the Ouessant sheep are too small to be eaten, or for their wool to be used.    They are quite robust and used for eco-grazing !  


Now 4 of their brand are in news as they are specially roped in to “mow” the Paris public  park’s 2,000 square meters.  The sheep are kept herded thanks to a high, electrified fence. If the experiment goes well, more sheep could make their way to the French capital. News items suggest that Paris city council has launched a pilot project that if successful will see sheep replacing lawnmowers in the French capital's public spaces. According to reports,  Four little black sheep left the countryside and began their new careers in the city: working as eco-friendly lawn mowers in a largely working-class district in northeastern Paris. Between April and October, the new "park workers" will graze grounds the size of eight tennis-courts in three two-week-long sweeps in a move to promote biodiversity and make the grooming of the capital's green areas more sustainable, replacing both chemicals and lawn mowers. Out of work, they will be resting back at a farm on the outskirts of Paris, the Ferme de Paris.


"For a lawn mowed 24 times a year, there is no biodiversity. When you use animals, the droppings attract insects and the insects bring birds," said Eco Terra president Alain Divo whose company plans and organises eco-pasture projects in French urban areas. The sheep reportedly have adjusted to their new environment quicklyin the project ordered by local authorities as a "first" for the city.

Back home, in Tamilnadu, the Chief Minister J Jayalalitha soon after coming to power launched a scheme distributing free goats to poor and landless women.  This was a  scheme proposed to give  them a solid foundation and a sustainable income model. As part of the scheme, government distributed four goats and assistance for maintaining them too.  There is news that  goats distributed during last year, have started giving birth to kids. The beneficiaries point out that the kids could be sold for about Rs 3000 within four months. What you see here are not free goats but the ones taken in an agricultural farm……..

There are Sheeps and there are goats…. Sheep belong to the Ovas Aries species and have 54 chromosomes while goats belong to Capra Hircus species and have 60 chromosomes. A goat’s tail is for most part stands up while a sheep’s hangs down.  More importantly, their eating habits are distinct. A goat is a typical browser, feeding on leaves, shrubs, twigs and vines. A sheep on the other hand loves to graze on grass and clover.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
5th April 2013.