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Monday, June 30, 2014

PSLV C23 launch successful...

The good news is PSLV C23 LAUNCHED SUCCESSFULLY….

Agency reports state that ISRO  today launched five satellites from four countries from the spaceport of Sriharikota in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The launch of rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C23) lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 9.52 am today.
The 49-hour countdown for the launch was progressing smoothly and preparations for Mobile Service Tower withdrawal to the parking end were also under progress, ISRO said.

Speaking to ANI, former ISRO Chairman Madhvan Nair said, "PSLVC-23 launch will be a major stepping stone towards centering space commerce". The five satellites are from four countries - France, Germany, Canada and Singapore.


According to news reports, PSLV C23 lifted off from the spaceport at 9.52 am on Monday instead of 9.49am as decided when the launch plan was announced. One of the debris objects could have come as near as 40 metres from the spacecraft and by delaying the launch Isro wanted to avoid the objects by thousands of kilometres as debris move at a velocity of several kilometres per second, said Isro officials. A report quoting experts stated that the debris from the 2011 collision of a US satellite and a Russian satellite, were found at altitudes above 600km. This means that the PSLV rocket was not in danger during the flight, but the satellites, during or after their injection into the orbit, could have been at risk.

It may be noted that until PSLV-C23, the largest number of satellites from other countries launched by PSLV were from Germany. The other countries which had sent their satellites through PSLV include UK, Denmark, Austria, France, Singapore, Switzerland, Israel, Italy, Belgium, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Argentina, The Netherlands, Algeria and Luxembourg.

Proud to be an Indian - S. Sampathkumar.

Source : Zee News, NDTV; Dinamalar; Business Standard & ISRO.

photo credit : Indian Express

Here is something more after the success ….. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that India’s space programme must be made available to developing nations, and the SAARC countries in particular, minutes after witnessing the successful launch of five foreign satellites on board the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) workhorse PSLV rocket. Spelling out his vision for the Indian space sector at ISRO’s first commercial satellite launch in over a year, and the first since the BJP government came to power, Modi said, “India is rooted in the age old ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — the whole world is one family.

India’s space programme is driven by the vision of service to humankind and not by the desire for power. We must therefore share the fruits of our technological advancement with those who do not have the expertise, and our neighbours in particular.” He said, “Today I ask our space community to make plans for developing a SAARC satellite, a satellite that provides a full range of applications and services to all our neighbours. There is a lot of poverty in the SAARC nations and we need scientific solutions for this. It will be beneficial for the development of all the countries in the region.”  Great words indeed !!!.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

praying for successful launch of PSLV C 23 ... and Modiji in Chennai

Tomorrow i.e., on 30th June 2014 – around 9.52 am – look towards the sky and the Nation should be feeling the pride….

In his first trip to the south after he assumed office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here today (29th June 14)  on a special aircraft enroute to Sriharikota to witness the launch of ISRO's PSLV C-23 rocket. It rained here somewhat heavily for few minutes and reportedly the Prime Minister's special aircraft landed after a delay of 40 minutes following bad weather, after which Sri Narndra Modiji  was welcomed by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Governor K Rosaiah and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the VIP lounge, airport sources said.

Later, Shri Modi left for the spaceport of Sriharikota, about 100 kilometres from here, where he is set to witness the launch of ISRO's PSLV C23 carrying five foreign satellites tomorrow. PSLV C23 is scheduled to lift off at 9.52 am tomorrow with 714 kg weighing French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7, 14 kg AISAT of Germany, NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) & NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) of Canada each weighing 15 kg and the 7 kg VELOX-1 of Singapore.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, (PSLV)  is the first operational launch vehicle of ISRO. PSLV is capable of launching 1600 kg satellites in 620 km sun-synchronous polar orbit and 1050 kg satellite in geo-synchronous transfer orbit. 

In the standard configuration, it measures 44.4 m tall, with a lift off weight of 295 tonnes. PSLV has four stages using solid and liquid propulsion systems alternately.  The reliability rate of PSLV has been superb. There had been 25 continuously successful flights of PSLV, till April 2014 . 


With its variant configurations, PSLV has proved its multi-payload, multi-mission capability in a single launch and its geosynchronous launch capability. In the Chandrayaan-mission, another variant of PSLV with an extended version of strap-on motors,

Nation waits for successful launch of PSLV C-23

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

29th June 2014.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

massive blaze in GAIL pipeline in East Godavari kills 15..

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had to cut short his Delhi visit and rush back to his state – sad, because of  a blast and fire in a gas pipeline  that reportedly killed 14 people on 27th June 14 morning.  It is reported that Mr Naidu cancelled all his scheduled meetings on Friday to leave for the accident site in East Godavari district.   NDTV quotes Mr Naidu as saying that  a thorough probe would be ordered and if anybody was found responsible for negligence, action would be taken against him."Wealth creation and development is important but at the same time safety is also important. All lapses have to be corrected," he told reporters in Delhi.

Mr Naidu was on a two-day visit to the national capital to meet the central ministers to discuss various development proposals mooted for the state as part of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.  You might have heard the song ‘aa ante Amalapuram’ – now in Maximum (Hindi Movie) – earlier a rage when it first cast in 2004 Telegu film Arya.  Amalapuram is a town, municipality and revenue division in East Godavari district known for its picturesque surroundings.  Situated at around 60 kms from Rajahmundry, it is in Konaseema delta of Godavari river.  The delta's black cotton soil is very fertile and crops and one can see rows of coconut trees.

The calm place with many temples is again in wrong reasons as 15 people are feared killed and 18 injured in a massive blaze at GAIL pipeline in Andhra.  Local and International newspapers report that huge flames, which leapt from the pipeline of state-owned Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL), burned down whatever stood in its path. Most of the victims are said to be locals of Nagaram village. According to media reports, the blast took place when a tea vendor across the road lit his stove at 5 am. The blaze spread quickly in the vicinity, giving little time to the victims to escape in its wake. Besides building structures, the fire destroyed 10 acres of coconut grove.

Later, angry locals alleged that GAIL officials did not heed to their warning that a gas leak had taken place in the village. There reportedly some damage arising out of the angry belting of the locals too.  Energy Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu have ordered an inquiry into the blast and fire.   The one which went on flames is reportedly a  state-owned gas pipeline.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives and announced an ex-gratia relief of  Rs.2 lakh to the next of the kin of those killed in the inferno. "My thoughts with the families of those who lost their lives in the GAIL Pipeline fire in AP. Prayers with the injured. I have spoken to the Petroleum Minister, Cabinet Secretary & GAIL Chairman and asked them to ensure immediate relief at the accident site," Modi said. The inquiry committee will be headed by a joint secretary in the Petroleum Ministry and will have officials of Oil Industry Safety Directorate, NDMA and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) as members.

The Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD), under the Petroleum Ministry, carries out safety audits of oil and gas installations, besides formulating and standardising procedures and guidelines for design, operation and maintenance.  It is reported that  OISD is not a statutory authority. ONGC director (onshore) Ashok Varma is quoted as saying that the fire occurred a few hundred metres from ONGCss Tatipaka Refinery at Nagaram village in Amalapuram Mandal.

Fires in oil installations especially in Krishna Godavari basin is not new … I remember a ‘blow-out’ that occurred in Pasaralapudi in Amalapuram, way back in 1995 …. More  of that later in a separate post.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th June 2014.


News credit : NDTV and Daily Mail.. photo credit – Daily Mail.

Friday, June 27, 2014

fare hike - in OMR Chennai - Toll Plazas

In the sizzling summer of Chennai, life is on fastlane, especially if you are to travel on  the IT Corridor aka OMR (Rajiv Gandhi Salai). Recently railway fares were hiked and there is expectation that there cold be further hikes of many in the forthcoming budget…. this is on one more hike, which perhaps either goes unnoticed or has not impacted people at all.


The winding  Old Mahabalipuram Road (Rajiv Gandhi Salai)  starts near the Kasturibai Nagar Railway station -  the Madhya Kailash temple in Adyar in South Chennai – winds it way till Mahabalipuram – being the earliest route – it carries the name ‘Old Mahabalipuram Road’ – this is State highway-49A. From Madhya Kailash,  it is designated ‘toll road’ and you have toll booth near Thuraipakkam (DB Jain College) as also in other places from where one enters OMR.  The corridor where some madly race in the jostling traffic alongside big plush buses; PTC buses; private vehicles; share autos and so many two wheelers (sadly one see / hears of nasty accidents frequently) – there are people changing lanes suddenly, riding on wrong lane, sudden turns unmindful of vehicles coming behind; big buses turning at will; people jumping over the median ….and more..

The corridor, an ambitious six-lane project with service lanes and landscaping, came in to being around 2005 – the 1st phase being  20.1 km from Madhya Kailash junction  to Siruseri — it is ever expanding and already struggling to find space for the ever increasing no. of users.  The IT Corridor Project, was an initiative of Government of Tamil Nadu to develop the Corridor as a world-class facility and to promote a progressive and IT/ITES friendly image of Tamil Nadu. The project is maintained by  TNRDC (Tamil Nadu Road Development Company). TNRDC floated a wholly-owned special purpose subsidiary viz., IT Expressway Ltd (ITEL) for domiciling the IT Corridor Project.


Fare hike is generally responded with lot of noise. … there is going to be hike in Toll rates in OMR effective 1st July 2014 – the hike may not impact you much and hence people most likely would not comment on that at all.  While daily travellers may not even think of it, there is some change in monthly pass rates. The 10 per cent fare hike on the road is a once in two years increase stipulated by the government, according to Tamil Nadu Road Development Corporation officials. The current revised fares will be in effect till 2016. Though it may not impact individuals, there could be financial impact as thousands of vehicles use this road – of which private cars seem to outnumber all other vehicles put together.

As one would know – all tickets and passes(excluding Monthly Trip Pass) are vehicle specific and not transferable. In case of overloaded or over-sized vehicles, toll fee is charged at the rate of 200 percent of the applicable rates.  The monthly trip pass is also applicable in fact only for 60 single trips from 1st of the month to the last day of the month…. One trip would mean -  One Entry and Exit at any one of other Four plazas (other than originating plaza). If 60 trips are exhausted before the month end, the user will have to pay again for each trip.  Here is a table showing the existing, revised rates and the difference….


Rate from 1st July 2012
Cagtegory
One way
Return
Daily
Monthly
3 Wheeler
7
12
20
200
Car/Jeep
20
38
65
1550
LCV
34
60
90
2100
Bus
54
100
150
3450
Truck
80
140
220
5100
MAV
160
290
440
10300

Rates from 1st July 2014
Cagtegory
One way
Return
Daily
Monthly
3 Wheeler
8
15
25
250
Car/Jeep
22
40
70
1700
LCV
37
70
100
2300
Bus
59
110
170
3800
Truck
88
160
250
5600
MAV
176
320
500
11300





Difference
Cagtegory
One way
Return
Daily
Monthly
3 Wheeler
1
3
5
50
Car/Jeep
2
2
5
150
LCV
3
10
10
200
Bus
5
10
20
350
Truck
8
20
30
500
MAV
16
30
60
1000

Hope this is useful in some way

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th June 2014.

Chennai Corporation ~ paying Property Tax Online

It is stated that certainties in life are – ‘death and taxes’ ….. cities are the leading edges of economic  dynamism – long back people started agglomerating in cities moving away from villages.  The bustling metropolis ~ Chennai city according to provisional results of 2011 census, has  4.68 million residents and a few more millions floating.  Though one would dream to live in an independent villa replete with all facilities, there would be still many common requirements, which are expected of the State to be performed and maintained.  There are roads, electricity, sewerage, water supply and much more. The city of Chennai is maintained by Corporation of Chennai.

The Corporation of Chennai (previously Madras) is the Oldest Municipal Institution in India established on the 29th September 1688. A charter was issued on the 30th December, 1607 by East Indian Company constituting the "Town of Fort St. George" and all the territories thereunto belonging, not exceeding the distance of ten miles from the Fort, into a Corporation.  There are various aspects including maintenance of roads; providing electricity, metro water; removal of solid waste etc., that are managed by the Corporation.  It is administered by the  200 councillors, headed by the Worshipful Mayor.  There are Deputy Commissioners and various Heads of Departments and 15 Zonal Officers at present.

The history of tax dates back to many centuries – though crazy Finance Ministers have strived it to make it more encompassing. Taxes on income, sale, purchase and properties were collected to run the ruling Government machineries.  In India, property is considered as a source of income and hence, tax is levied on that. Properties are usually meant by real estates which include any building, flat, shop etc. as well as the land appurtenant to the building. Under the Income Tax Act, incomes from the properties are regarded as one of the heads of income. The amount of tax is calculated on the value of the property being taxed. It is the local municipality authority that levies property tax for the maintenance of basic civic services in the city. Unlike the countries like UK where the occupier is liable to pay the property tax, it is the liability of the property owner to pay the property tax India to the concerned municipalities. Property tax in India is calculated on the basis of ‘Annual Value’.

The need for prompt and timely payment of taxes by all the citizens need not over stated – for it is our responsibility as good citizens to pay tax promptly. In earlier days, people had to stand in long queues to pay the property tax …. and in few places the officials would come door-to-door, collect the tax and issue receipts.  For Office-goers, both presented some problems.  I had earlier posted about paying Property Tax Online – besides ease of convenience, link to the digitized property data for computation of tax eliminates scope for undervaluing the property for taxation purpose thus ensuring  greater revenue mobilisation for the corporation. For making Online payment  of Property tax, one need to know their Zone No. ~ Ward No. and Bill No – all of which are available on the Property Tax assessment book.  On the website of CoC, on the Right hand side, One can find the link –  simply log on to : http://www.chennaicorporation.gov.in/ and  proceed with hassle-free experience of paying your Property tax Online through Credit / Debit card or Internet banking.


About a week back, when I tried paying the tax for this half-year, the link was not working …. After trying many a times, web search led me to an article in The Hindu on 23rd May 2014 – whichs tated that Corporation’s online system of property tax collection has stopped working over the past two months because of problems in its electronic data processing cell. It quoted officials as saying that problems pertaining to electronic data processing in the civic body was the reason and would be resolved shortly.

Yesterday, I checked up again – the links are working – I was able to pay the property tax so easily – there is no need for User ID or Individual login – you should only have details of Zone No. / Ward No. and Bill no.

Pay your Taxes without delay…. Be a responsible citizen

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

27th June 2014.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

TN CM Ms J Jayalalithaa launches 464 buses ...

This evening as I entered  Venkatrangam Street from Bharathi Salai (PyCrofts Road) – had to wait a while as MTC bus was turning … nothing new in that – those buses which terminate at Triplicane – enter the road, reverse skilfully and stop a while at the Triplicane Terminus before continuing.

What was unusual was the way the bus stood decorated with garlands all over – curiosity aroused, went closer and took a photo too.  It was Route No. 13 – one of the long surviving routes of MTC which fleet serve lakhs of people everyday efficiently.  The buses on Route no. 13 originate from Triplicane, run through the entire stretch of Bharathi Salai take a left near Wesley High School, run in Royapettah High road, take a right in Avvai Shanmugham Road, go through Gopalapuram passing through NPS and DAV schools, turn towards Gopalapuram play ground – Peters Road, reach Anna Salai, turn at Aalaiamman kovil, (earlier it used to go through Sun theatre) and reach T Nagar.  In the few minutes could see 5 buses on this route, which again is unusual.

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (formerly Pallavan Transport Corporation)  is the agency that operates the public transport bus service in Chennai – and lakhs utilise the services daily. Today, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms. J. Jayalalithaa flagged off 464 buses, including 39 new ones, in various routes across the State reportedly at a cost of Rs. 94 crores +

Here are couple of photos of the new buses in route no. 13….


A web search indicates that route no. 13 runs from Hendon to London Bridge.  (in London, UK). Hendon is a London suburb  and was a parish  in the county of Middlesex.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th June 2014.


The route map of 13 courtesy : http://busroutes.in