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Saturday, August 18, 2018

young Rishabh Pant arrives at Nottingham - Kohli misses century


The River Trent is the third-longest river in the United Kingdom. Its source is in Staffordshire and it flows through and drains most of the metropolitan central and northern Midlands south and east of its source north of Stoke-on-Trent. The river is known for dramatic flooding after storms and spring snowmelt, which in past times often caused the river to change course.  The 3rd  Test, India tour of Ireland and England is now played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, Aug 18-22 2018. Nottinghamshire (Notts) is a county in the East Midlands of England, bordering South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire  and Derbyshire.   The  county council is based in West Bridgford in the borough of Rushcliffe, at a site facing Nottingham over the River Trent.

It is 291 for the youngster ! ~ 280 was Rohit sharma in 2013; then Stuart Binny, Pankaj singh, Karn Sharma, KL Rahul in 2014; Naman Ojha, Jayant Yadav, Karun Nair, KUldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and now Rishabh Pant today at Nottingham.

Remember that at this venue on Aug 6, 2015 – on an interesting Ashes series in which the 1st  Test at Cardiff was won by England with a handsome margin of 169 runs.  At Lords, Aussies came back so heavily that the margin of defeat was 405 runs.  In the Third at Birmingham, England won by 8 wickets and the one at Nottingham was expected to be a challenging gripper. On that day too, I posted at  11 pm, when England were in sound position of 274/4 with Joe Root unbeaten on 124.  His century had clearly been overshadowed by Stuart Broad who bowled out Aussies for 60 in Test no. 2175.   Australia 60 – yes all out - utterly bereft,  dismissed for 60 in only 18.3 overs, with cricket statisticians wading through damning numbers either achieved or narrowly avoided. Broad, carrying an onerous responsibility in the absence of James Anderson, returned his best Test figures of 8 for 15 in 9.3 new-ball overs amid scenes of general delirium. When it was all over, Anderson led the applause from the dressing room balcony.

Now today at 11 pm – India ended the day at 307/6 with Pant unbeaten on 22.  This morning Joe Root made probably "the toughest selection call" as a Test captain on the eve of the match. Sam Curran, the player of the match at Edgbaston, was left out and Root has "no doubt" over Stokes' readiness – at 10.30am England won the toss and choose to bowl in bid to seal the series.

The winner of Toss Joe Root said : There is a nice covering of grass on this pitch and our seamers have been doing extremely well. I think it's a great opportunity for this team to do something special, if we play to potential. When Adil has come into the game, he has played an important part. Good to have a balanced attack.  The Q to Kohli was whether he was disappointed in losing the toss ..  Kohli came with a stunner - We wanted to bat first, it seems pretty hard. The idea was to play freely and put up runs on the board. Just go out and express yourself. Three changes: one combination change with Bumrah replacing Kuldeep. Pant and Dhawan are in. Jasprit did really well in South Africa and bowls attacking lines and lengths. We think thus surface will slow down after two days, and Ash is always a weapon when the wicket offers something.

India started well crossing 5o then at 18.4 Shikhar Dhawan fell; followed by KL Rahul and when Pujara got out it was 82/3 – all to Chris Woakes.  Rahane and Kohli steadied with a very good partnership and at 241 Rahane departed.  Kohli looked well set for another century but at 97 he drove without getting to the pitch and was caught at slip by Stokes off Rashid for a well made 97.

The debutant Rishabh Pant walked in – he was not the first choice – that one  Wriddhiman Saha was injured, the selectors wanted a young deputy to Dinesh Karthik. Pant was the best choice, the selectors and team management felt, keeping in mind his performances for India A in the last 18 months. The other reason Pant became a favorite was because of his batting form on the India A shadow tour of the UK earlier this summer.  Dinesh Karthik failed in the first 2 tests, perhaps he and Murali Vijay might have blossomed at Nottingham but .. .. today Rishabh Pant, 20, has become the fifth-youngest wicketkeeper to play Test cricket for India and the sixth to make his debut before turning 21.

Since making his first-class debut in 2015 for Delhi, Pant has caught the eye primarily with his batting exploits. He was one of India's stars at the Under-19 World Cup in 2016, when he scored 267 runs at a strike rate of 104.29. Back home, he made 928 runs in eight Ranji Trophy games in 2016-17, scoring his runs at an astonishing strike rate of 107.28 - easily the highest among those who made at least 700 runs that season. His scores that season included a triple-hundred against Maharashtra and a blistering 48-ball hundred against Jharkhand. In the IPL, he had been with  Delhi Daredevils' squad over the last two years, and before the 2018 season was retained by the franchise for INR 8 crore

His definitive moment came in 77th over – Adil Rashid bowling and his second ball of the International career, jumped down to a googly, smashed it straight for a 6. He has survived and is unbeaten on 22 at the draw of stumps today .  .. his 48 ball century came against Jharkhand with 21 sixers in that match  - prior only two had  scored a century off 56 balls: Rajesh Borah in 1987-88 and VB Chandrasekhar in 1988-89.

He has started very well – and a reasonable good innings might put the door shut on DK and perhaps Wriddhiman Saha and other aspiring keeper too ! – welcome to Test Cricket – the young Rishabh Pant.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Aug 2018.


Remembering Nethaji Bose this day !! letter to Prof Samar Guha seeking truth !!!


One man who has left the most indelible impression on India – as fighter par excellence was certainly ‘Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose’ and the Nation remembers him today .. 

After their first defeat at the hands of British in 1757, there have been many occasions, when Indian patriots formed groups and fought hard and bitter battles exhibiting selfless sacrifice.  Alongside hundreds of Velu Thampi, Peshwa Baji Rao, Sardar Shyam Sing, Rani Laximibhai, Tantia Tope, Maharaj of Dumraon, Nana Sahib, there are many hundreds hidden whose exploits, history did not record or were neglected by the British historians and later partisan historians.  May be those were the time, when such fighters did not fully realize that British singularly constituted gravest threat to the whole of India and not to a particular dominion alone.  Despite some early stage victories, ill-luck, being unorganized, better arms & ammunition, slavery, and many other aspects led to their subjugation.

Years later in the foreign land came another clarion call for organizing Indians in self-defence and fighting for Independence occurred.  In a conference at Tokyo in March  -    Giani Pritam Singh, Swami Satyanand Puri, Capt, Mohammed Akram and K. A. N. Iyer crashed and died while proceeding for attendance. Delegates to the Conference came from Hongkong, Shanghai and Japan, Malaya and other places.  Rash Behari Bose presided. The Conference decided to start the Indian Independence movement amongst Indians in East Asia. It was also decided to raise an Azad Hind Fauj and resolved  that military action against the rulers of India will be taken by the Indian National Army.  The next conference was at Bangkok in June 1942, under Rash Behari Bose. The Indian National Army was formed on September 1, 1942. Capt. Mohan Singh was appointed G.O.C.   A large body of nearly 7,000 well disciplined troops was raised, the training and fighting being done with British Arms, The  Army was governed by the Indian National Army Act which was specially prepared in August 1942.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose arrived in Singapore on July 2, 1943. On July 4 a Conference of delegates from all countries in East Asia assembled to meet him. At that conference Rash Behari Bose formally handed over presidentship of the Indian Independence League to Subhas Bose.

Tragically for the Nation, Nethaji died in a hospital at Taipei (Taiwan) on 18.8.1945 – two days later, his body was cremated and ashed arrived at Tokyo.  The ashes were kept in a Buddhist temple in Tokyo.

it is stated that the British government did not really believe that Bose was dead. Even for some months after the Japanese announced Netaji’s death, the British goverment continued to discuss ways of ‘dealing with him’.  Sadly, Indians under Congress believed the death.  After Independence too, the Indian Govt  was “not inclined to favour” the bringing back of Netaji’s ashes kept in Renkoji temple, Tokyo “due to possible adverse reactions from members of Netaji’s family, as well as certain sections of the public, who refused to believe in his death in the plane crash in August, 1945”. The commission under  GD Khosla was fully  convinced that  the wooden casket lodged in the Renkoji Temple at Tokyo contained Bose's ashes and these ashes were placed in the box at Taipei after the cremation of his dead body.

According to a confidential report prepared by the home ministry in 1977, the Indian embassy was paying the temple authorities in Tokyo Rs 5000 a year for the safekeeping of the freedom fighter’s ashes.  The chief priest at the temple sought some kind of recognition in the form of a letter or a medal from the Indian government for the trouble he took to retain the ashes. Later it was paid to Netaji’s daughter and was duly discontinued in 1965 when she got married !

That was the sad story of the greatest hero of India – born in 1897, Bose became president of the Congress Party for India's independence but resigned from the post following differences with Mahatma Gandhi. He exiled himself in Germany before moving to Japan. In 1944, he commanded the Indian national army at the Battle of Imphal, a clash during the now-defunct Imperial Japanese Army's invasion of British India through Burma, now Myanmar. He was said to have aspired to continue fighting in the former Soviet Union.   Recently, the  Japanese government declassified archival materials to help settle the long-held controversy over the death of Subhas Chandra Bose, and the Indian govt too declassified its files containing information on the leader’s mysterious disappearance aka presumed death. 

After the fall of Japan on 15th Aug 1945, Tokyo radio reported on 23.8.1945 that Subash Chandra bose had died in a plane crash at Taipei, in former Taiwan on 18.8.1945 ~ however not many bought this report and certainly not Prof. Samar Guha former MP who wrote to Comrade Mikahil Gorbachev, then President of USSR – here is his letter in Nov 5, 1988 – which was sent to the President of India and by him to the PM, VP Singh.  The noted Parliamentarian Guha had been a close associate of Nethaji.  He was an academician, whose books on Chemistry were widely used.  He was elected as a Praja Socialist Party candidate MP in 1967 and relected in 1971 & 1977.

Guha was of firm conviction that Bose was not killed on 18 August 1945 after the overloaded Japanese plane that Bose was flying in crashed in Taihoku Japanese-occupied Formosa (now Taiwan), As a parliamentarian, he was a devoted activist to make Government of India accept that Bose lived after 1945.  He also made several efforts to make Government of India publish all secret files on Bose's death. Guha did not believe prior Shah Nawaz Committee's report on this. Even though the secret files were not published, Guha was one of the main vocal supporter of creating G D Khosla commission to re-investigate Bose's death in 1970. However, G D Khosla Commission also came up with the same conclusion as Shah Nawaz Committee even after Guha's effort to point out the inconsistency in the report produced by Khosla Commission.

In his letter to Russian President, Guha mentions that Dr s Radhakrishnan who was second Indian Ambassador in Moscow confided to his close friend Dr S Das, the head of Philosophy Dept in Calcutta University and Dr LC Majumdar that he came to know that Bose was kept captive in Stalin’s Russia.  He added that he had come across an important report   on Bose’s presence in Russia in 1961, from an Engineer A Sarkar who was sent to Russia 3 times for training from Heavy engg Corporation for manufacturing heavy machinery set up in collaboration with Russia.  While working at Gorlovska, near Doniesh he came into contact with a jew  - BA Zerobin who had earlier designed machines in Nazi Germany.    Zerobin told Sarkar that he was captured in Berlin after fall of Germany and sent to reorientation camp somewhere in Siberian- Mongolian border  and had met Bose twice.  Zerobin having seen him earlier could identify him because of his handsome appearance and rare cut.  According to Zerobin, Bose was brought to the Camp in a car accompanied by 2 Mongolians, one as his interpretor. Zerobin believed that both the Mongolins were KGB men but it appeared to him that Bose was well looked After. When Zerobin tried to converse, the interpreter stopped stating that it was not allowed.  Zerobin while disclosing his meeting with Subhas Bose warned Sarkar that he should not disclose it while in Russia as it would endanger both. Sarkar told about the matter to the Second Secretary of the Indian Embassy in Moscow, who also warned him of the dire consequence if he disclosed it to anybody. Sarkar told Saha after he came out of Govt service by which time Zerobin also was dead.

Saha addressed Comrade Gorbachev- You have taken many bold steps in disclosing many suppressed facts of horror and repression of the Stalin days. You have done great justice to history by rehabilitating Trotsky and Bhukharin and restoring honour to the great scientist, Prof. Sakhalov. Inspired by your great liberal policy of 'Glasnost', I would make an appeal - an appeal from the depth of my soul to you – on behalf of the patriotic people of India to reveal all facts about the Universally adored hero Subhas Chandra Bose.  Stalin might have done injustice to the legendary hero but why would you not reveal it now ? Bose was a Promethean hero of Indian revolution who staked everything for the liberation of his motherland and was always friendly with Russia.  Why should you not let the Indian people know what happened to the hero – and win the hearts of millions of patriotic Indians.  When Comrade Brezhnev visited India in Nov, 1973, I met him in the President’s house as leader of Socialist Party and gave him a letter seeking information about Subash Chandra Bose’s presence in Russia.  The letter was acknowledged but was not replied.  Considering the poignancy of the issue, I hope you will excuse me for addressing this long letter to you.  I eagerly expect reply before you visit India.

The truth as they say, never came out ! and got buried elsewhere perhaps as most attribute to the Congress leaders who were not interested .. !!   - Interestingly, Subhas Chandra was conferred with Bharat Ratna but the award was subsequently withdrawn, due to a technicality, the only case of an award being withdrawn. It was withdrawn in response to a Supreme Court of India directive following a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Court against the “posthumous” nature of the award. The Award Committee could not give conclusive evidence of Bose’s death and thus it invalidated the “posthumous” award.

Sad to read the history of this great son of India ~ and today (18th Aug) is the day when he reportedly perished

J  a  i        H  i  n  d

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Aug 2018.
Biblio : story of INA by Kusum Nair; declassified files & letters of Prof Samar Guha, Ex-MP

cattle rearing ~ floating farm plan at Rotterdam


We design and create iconic, innovative, sustainable buildings and landscapes on the water. Have a look at our projects and feel free to reach out to us with ideas.~ following some links I was led to the website of Bealadon BV – which is a property developer in Nederland -  sure have no reason for reading about property development in the Netherlands !  it further read - our engineering and design principals are in line with nature’s biggest challenges concerning Energy, Food, Water & Waste.

Back home at Thiruvallikkeni – much is written about the cattle menace – that of roaming cows in the mada veethis putting fear into humans and harming them too – for sure, Triplicanites are not against the holy cows – we have seen hundreds of them (owned by couple of individuals too) – those days in the morning & evening, the owners would bring the cows / buffaloes to the door steps, show the jorthalai to give confidence that there is no water inside, milk the cow in front and sell milk. Those days, the cattle were so well maintained. Gone are those days - the population of cattle has come down to less than hundred and those owning too have migrated to greener pastures. There are scenes of untethered cattle roaming, looking out for food, sometimes causing trouble by chasing humans – and sadly, one could see on road, the cattle being crudely given hormonal injections for giving milk.. .. ..

Population across the globe is growing.  This growth will take place in the big (delta) cities, creating great pressure on the demand for food, water and energy, and consequently on dwellings as well. Where will we be able to live safely, cleanly that is also a healthy environment?  Producing food is a growing challenge to a world population that is growing intensively and becoming increasingly prosperous. After all, there is less and less suitable agricultural land to produce food. The cities of the world are expanding to meet the demand for housing, so that the citizen literally gets further and further away from agriculture.

I read about Bealadon BV and an interesting plan called ‘floating farm’ to produce fresh milk ! though they claim to produce fresh products, do research and education on cattle – it would be more of commercial of exploiting cow and earning revenue, yet the idea of keeping cows on a transparent farm on water, does look novel and interesting.   

In developed countries, cattle are reared in large numbers in dairy farms – mostly mechanized producing huge quantities of milk, out of which dairy products are made and sold.   Dairy cows generally are of the species Bos taurus. BBC reports that the  world's first offshore dairy farm opens in the Port of Rotterdam this year, with the aim of helping the city produce more of its own food sustainably. But will such farms ever be able to produce enough to feed the world's growing urban populations? A Dutch property company, Beladon, is launching the world's first "floating farm" in a city port. It has built the offshore facility right in the middle of Rotterdam's Merwehaven harbour and will use it to farm 40 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows milked by robots.
Meuse rhine issel cow – pic credit : www.dairydreams.co.uk

Built-up urban areas may not seem like the most sensible places to run farms, but reducing the distance food travels before it reaches consumers' plates makes environmental sense as it reduces transport pollution. And if the global population grows to 9.8 billion by 2050 as expected, 70% are forecast to live in cities - up from 55% today. Beladon's farm, which is on three levels and is anchored to the ocean floor, is expected to open at the end of 2018 and produce about 800 litres of milk a day. The concept would be resilient against hurricanes, too, it is stated.  Over the last few years, the farm’s concept  has taken shape, and earlier this summer its floating platform was moved by barge from Zaandam in the north of Holland, to Rotterdam.

Peter's wife and business partner, Minke van Wingerden, says the farm will start with 40 cows, enough for the venture to break even. But she says it is "easily scalable", with larger operations promising "obvious efficiencies". The farm also aims to reuse and recycle as much as it can. "At least 80% of what our cows eat will be waste products from Rotterdam's food industry," says the farm's general manager, Albert Boersen. That might include grains discarded by local breweries, leftovers from restaurants and cafes, by-products from local wheat mills, and even grass clippings, all collected and delivered in electric trucks provided by local "green waste" firm GroenCollect. "We will grow duckweed as an animal feed, too," says Ms van Wingerden. "It is high in protein, fast-growing and can be nurtured with cow urine. We will have an installation of four or five vertical platforms growing the plant under special LED lights."

The project will even generate some of its own energy - hydrogen produced through electrolysis powered by solar panels. Once up and running, the farm will produce and pasteurise milk and yoghurt on-site and sell it in Rotterdam. It will also process and sell its own cow manure.

"Healthy, sufficient food production is key to a better, cleaner, safer world." ~ but often mankind’s greed ensures that it is not the quality or sustenance of animals but only the sustainability of the product and the financials that overweigh everything else – be it local Thiruvallikkeni or any other part of the globe.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Aug 2018.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Inflation ~ Venezuela cuts 'five zeroes' from its currency !!


Inflation is too much money chasing too few goods !


Canada’s inflation hit the 3% mark for the first time since 2011 in July, an unexpected surge that puts pressure on the Bank of Canada to accelerate interest-rate increases. The consumer price index recorded an annual pace of 3 percent, quickening from 2.5 percent a month earlier, Statistics Canada said Friday from Ottawa. Economists expected the inflation rate to remain unchanged

Back home, India’s retail inflation cooled more than expected in July due to subdued food prices after the Monetary Policy Committee raised interest rates for the second straight time. Consumer price inflation in July rose 4.17 percent compared with the same month last year, declining from the five-month high of 4.9 percent in June, according to data from the Central Statistics Office. Headline inflation slowed for the first time after rising for the past four months. India’s rate-setting panel has hiked benchmark lending rates twice —in June and in August—to its highest level in two years for tackling inflationary pressure. The country’s inflation-targetting central bank has had a long-term aim to keep CPI at 4 percent. “We took two steps, one in June and one in August, to maximise our chances that we don’t drift away from 4 percent and in fact we move towards 4 percent,” Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel had said earlier this month after the policy meeting.

Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising and, consequently, the purchasing power of currency is falling. In economics, inflation is a sustained increase in the price level of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.  When the price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation reflects a reduction in the purchasing power per unit of money – a loss of real value in the medium of exchange and unit of account within the economy.  A chief measure of price inflation is the inflation rate, the annualized percentage change in a general price index, usually the consumer price index, over time.

Economists generally believe that the high rates of inflation and hyperinflation are caused by an excessive growth of the money supply.  Inflation may also lead to an invisible tax in which the value of currency is lowered in contrast with its actual reserve, ultimately leading individuals to hold devalued legal tender.  Today, most economists favor a low and steady rate of inflation. The task of keeping the rate of inflation low and stable is usually given to monetary authorities. Generally, these monetary authorities are the central banks that control monetary policy through the setting of interest rates, through open market operations, and through the setting of banking reserve requirements.



Four years of recession and the world's highest inflation have plunged millions of Venezuelans into poverty. Supermarket shelves in the capital Caracas have no food as Venezuela's economy sinks into the abyss        - in January, a non-governmental organization found that more and more Venezuelans, unable to afford anything else, were buying dog food to feed their families. The situation is reported to be especially dire for prisoners in the country who have resorted to eating rats and pigeons to avoid starving to death. Looting has been increasing in the provinces since Christmas, with food shortages and hyperinflation leaving millions of people hungry, though the capital, Caracas, has mostly lbeen unaffected. Stories of degradation and deprivation come out of Venezuela at a 'relentless clip', the Washington Post recently reported. Life has seldom been so challenging for people living in shanty towns      - and that is a reflection of the misrule. 

It is estimated that as many as four million Venezuelans - more than 10 percent of the population - have left the country.  That is an exodus on a similar scale to that of war-torn in Syria.  Now MailOnline reports that Venezuela will cut FIVE ZEROS from its currency in a desperate attempt to battle economic crisis which is set to see inflation hit one million per cent.

Media reports suggest that Venezuela is minting a new currency with five less zeroes than the bolivar in a desperate attempt to stem inflation and tackle its economic crisis. The new 'sovereign bolivar' will enter circulation on Monday, which has been declared a national holiday so that the population can get used to the new banknotes. Inflation in Venezuela is forecast by to hit a million per cent this year, with a cup of coffee now costing around two million bolivars.  President Nicolas Maduro  said the virtual petro currency, which was launched in February, would be a second 'accounting unit' for the country alongside the bolivar. Maduro said the virtual petro currency, which was launched in February, would be a second 'accounting unit' for the country alongside the bolivar and would have an official exchange rate.

Maduro said he would unveil a new salary and pricing system which would be anchored to the petro, which is backed by oil, ABC International reported. Venezuela's president said the country's central bank would publish an exchange rate for the new virtual currency.  In March,  US  President Donald Trump banned Americans from using the cryptocurrency in a move to stop Venezuela using it as a way to avoid U.S. sanctions. The executive order described the petro as an 'attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions by issuing a digital currency in a process that Venezuela's democratically elected National Assembly has denounced as unlawful.' 

The currency reforms are the latest effort to shore up the country's struggling economy. Gasoline is practically given away in Venezuela with the subsidy, meaning a single liter of gasoline costs a bolivar, which is next to nothing. A dollar exchanged on the black market would buy nearly five million liters. Maduro has announced that Venezuela's dirt-cheap fuel will be available only to people with a special government aid card that the opposition has denounced as a tool for controlling people. People who want to keep benefiting from subsidized gas prices in this oil-rich nation must register their vehicles by Friday using the so-called 'carnet de la patria,' or fatherland card, which provides access to government assistance.

Certainly – all is not well in Venezuela

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th aug 2018.

foot-boarding passenger ~ liability of Railways


The gory accident involving death of passengers is now probably forgotten in a few days – that  sad incident, occurred at St Thomas Mount police station -  as the train was rolling on to platform 4, normally reserved for express trains, several commuters hanging on to the footboard in the compartment next to the engine smashed into the concrete fencing wall built on platform 3 and fell to the ground. Four of them were crushed to death under the train that was still moving fairly fast. Railway authorities said shoulder bags of several commuters travelling footboard hit the cement fence, and 10 passengers fell to the ground.A snag in the overhead electrical line had forced them to run slow local trains on the fast lines meant for express services, said southern railway officials.

With effect from 1.8.1994 under Section 124-A of the Railways Act, 1989 the railway administration has  become liable to pay compensation for loss of life or injury to bonafide rail passengers, who become victims of untoward incidents such as terrorist acts, violent attack, robbery, dacoity, rioting, shoot-out or arson by any persons in or on any train carrying passengers, waiting hall, cloak room, reservation or booking office, platform, any place within the precincts of a railway station or the accidental falling of any passenger from a train carrying passengers.

Section 124-A of the Railways Act, 1989 reads as under:-Provided that no compensation shall be payable under this Section by the railway administration if the passenger dies or suffers injury due to:- (a) suicide or attempted suicide by him; (b) self-inflicted injury; (c) his own criminal act; (d) any act committed by him in a state of intoxication or insanity; (e) any natural cause or disease or medical or surgical treatment unless such treatment becomes necessary due to injury caused by the said untoward incident.

Payment of compensation is governed by the Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Amendment Rules, 1997. Under these Rules, the amount of compensation payable in case of death is Rs.4 lakhs. For injuries the amount varies from Rs.32,000/- to Rs.4,00,000/- depending on the nature of injury sustained. Ex-gratia relief is given by the railway administration soon after an accident, at the rate of Rs.15,000/- to the next of the kin of the dead, Rs.5,000/- in the case of grievous injury and Rs.500/- in the case of simple injury. The ex-gratia relief is intended to meet the immediate expenses and is not taken into account at the time of final settlement of compensation claims. The coverage for Hospitalization Expenses for Injury is over and above the death/permanent total disability/partial disability – then there is the Travel Insurance Scheme kept uniform for all classes.  You would have noticed this provision while booking a travel ticket in IRCTC for any class of travel.

Train Accident is as defined under section 123 read with Sections 124 and 124A of the Railways Act, 1989 subject to the qualification that the coverage will be valid from the actual departure of train from the originating station to actual arrival of train at the destination station including’ process of entraining ‘ and process of detraining ‘ the train. One of the Q in the media was whether Railways would pay compensation to those who lost their lives in the accident – would this be construed as – self-inflicted, negligence, carelessness or even a criminal act, which Railways forbade. 

Travel on the footboard and a fall from the running train resulting in serious permanent disability are technically no longer any hurdle for seeking compensation.The mere fact of a fall from the moving train and the resultant injuries/disability sustained is enough, the Tribunal comprising vice-chairman (judicial) Mukesh Kumar Gupta and member (technical) S Mohan held earlier and  directed Southern Railway to cough-up the enhanced compensation of `8 lakh, with six per cent interest from the date of filing the claim petition.  In an earlier accident a person had   purchased a ticket for travel from Paramakudi to Chennai on April 27, 2014. As the unreserved compartment was over-crowded, he had to travel on the footboard.He fell down when the train was nearing Manamadurai junction and sustained serious injuries. His left leg below the knee and right foot were finally amputated. The victim,  a daily wage earner, moved the Tribunal claiming `4 lakh as compensation. Meanwhile, a GO dated December 22, 2016, which amended the Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) rules, 1990, raised the compensation amount to `8 lakh with effect from January 1, 2017.

Railways submitted that since the claimant  had travelled on the footboard, an offence punishable under Section 156 of the Railways Act, the Railways could not be held responsible for his fall from the running train as the same was on account of his complete negligence. Moreover, he was a ticket-less traveller as he could not produce a valid one.  The counsel for the victim was to submit that  his client had lost his bag containing purse and ticket during his transit from accident site to the hospital. Passing orders, the Tribunal pointed out that the injuries suffered by the applicant victim, as reflected in various medical documents, has not been questioned in any manner. Similarly, not much has been stated on the journey ticket and thus, the basic issues that the applicant was a bona fide passenger, sustained injuries on April 27, 2014 due to the fall from the running train, remain uncontested.As far as the plea regarding ‘negligence’ on the part of the victim, the tribunal said it has no relevance. Law, as laid down by the Supreme Court, is that liability of Railway is strict and even if it were to be assumed that a passenger fell down from the train due to his own negligence, it would not have any effect on compensation payable under Section 124-A of the Railways Act, the tribunal added and directed payment of enhanced compensation of `8 lakh, as the injury and the disability were very serious falling within the ambit of Part II of Schedule appended to the Railway Accidents Rules.

Then there is another judgement pronounced by the High Court of Delhi in Sept 2017, wherein the claimants challenged an  order dated 31st Aug 2012 whereby their application for compensation was dismissed by the Railway Claims Tribunal. A person by name  Kamal Singh fell down between platform No.3 and 5 of Old Delhi Railway Station in Jan 2011. According to the appellant, they were  travelling from Ghaziabad to Delhi – nearing Old Railway station, the deceased fell down due to huge rush and jerk which resulted in fatal injuries. In this Court observed that the legal position with respect to the untoward incident inside the railway station is well settled. Section 124-A of the Railways Act is based on the principle of no fault liability and the compensation cannot be denied to the appellant on the ground that the deceased was negligent and it is wholly irrelevant as to who was at fault. Section 123(c) of the Railways Act defines „untoward incident‟ to include the accidental falling of any passenger from a train carrying passengers. The word „passenger‟ has been defined under Section 2 (29) of the Railways Act as a person travelling with a valid pass or ticket.  The court in an earlier instance stated that  it will not legally make any difference whether the deceased was actually inside the train when she fell down or whether she was only trying to get into the train when she fell down. In our opinion in either case it amounts to an "accidental falling of a passenger from a train carrying passengers". Coming back to the case in hand, it is not the case of the Railways that the death was a case of suicide or a result of self-inflicted injury. It is also not the case that he died due to his own criminal act or he was in a state of intoxication or he was insane, or he died due to any natural cause or disease. His falling down from the train was, thus, clearly accidental.

So in various cases, it has been held that an accidental fall even when the passenger was foot-boarding would still make the Railways liable for compensation – but what humans need to understand is whether there is compensation or none – it makes sense not to expose self to any form of danger.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th Aug 2018.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ajit Wadekar is no more !




Later he was to become a Coach  – far off those days, when there were only Managers who would primarily take care of travel, ticketing, PR and less.  Wadekar's tenure marked the decisive shift from ad hoc team managers running Indian teams on a tour-wise basis to having a full-time coach who had a longer tenure. Over his four-year tenure, Wadekar forged a strong working relationship with captain Mohammad Azharuddin, and India dominated at home for the best part of this period. For 14 Tests between 1992 and 1994, India were unbeaten, including a 3-0 whitewash of a strong touring England side.   Hero Cup was won when he was at the helm.

Surprisingly for those days, he played in 2 One dayers too – both of which India lost in England in that disastrous tour in 1974.  You will be surprised to know in that ODI at Leeds on Jul 13, 1974 – 12 Indians made their debut.  India made a good 265 yet lost – Wadekar scored 67 and was overshadowed by Brijesh Patel’s 82.  The debutants were :  Sunil Gavaskar, Sudhir Naik, Ajit Wadekar, Gundappa Viswanath, Farokh Engineer, Brijesh Patel, Eknath solkar, Abid Ali, S Madanlal, Srinivasan Venkatraghavan and Bishan Bedi – 11 yes, who was that 12th Indian making debut ??

Ajit Wadekar, who made 2113 test runs and who led India to historic series wins in the West Indies and England in 1971, has died at the age of 77 on 15th Aug 2018. He had been suffering from a prolonged illness. Ajit was an aggressive left-hand batsman and an excellent catcher in the slips, played 37 Tests, scoring 2113 runs at an average of 31.07. His one century, a match-winning 143 at Wellington, came during India's 1967-68 tour of New Zealand, where they won a series away from home for the very first time. During his tenure India grew to a genuine force in World of Cricket.  When  Pataudi sat out the tour of the West Indies in 1970-71, Ajit took over the captaincy, thanks to the casting vote of Vijay Merchant, the chairman of selectors. Fuelled by the batting exploits of Dilip Sardesai and the debutant Sunil Gavaskar, India would go on to clinch a 1-0 victory over Sir Garfield Sobers' side. When they followed that up with another 1-0 win in England, inspired by BS Chandrasekhar's 6 for 38 at The Oval, many considered India unofficial world champions.

Indian team has many a times been let down by its poor fielding, more so poor catching.  The career of TA Sekar was marred by those dropped catches on his debut at Pak.  Ajit  strategically picked Solkar, Abid Ali and Venkat. Add Engineer and himself, this perhaps represented the best close-in cordon that could pluck catches from vicious spinning deliveries of the quartet.   Eknath Solkar did a great job standing very close at forward short leg.
Sadly enough that tour of England in 1974 when Indians were bowled out for a paltry 42 hastened his career – and when WI Clive Lloyd toured India, Mansur ali Khan Pataudi was back at the helm.

To those who remember the Q on 12th player making debut in that match.  It was Robin Jackman, who debuted for Surrey in 1966, could bowl fast, made ODI debut in 1974 and Test debut in 1981.  Robin David Jackman was born in Simla in 1945, had close ties with South Africa, coaching and representing Rhodesia ~ when he was chosen for the WI tour in 1980-81 representing England, the Guyanese Govt objected to his involvement with the apartheid Proteas and revoked his visa.  The second test was thus cancelled as England did not heed to the pressure.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Aug 2018 :  pic credit :  http://alpha.supersport.com/

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

tears of the Nation ~ the cruel walls of Cellular Andamans (Port Blair prison)


WE are all set to celebrate the 72nd INDEPENDENCE DAY of the Nation ~ the great day of 15th August when BHARAT was liberated from foreign rule. .. .. often described in a terse statement, India achieved freedom ‘without battle or shedding blood’ – Indian freedom struggle was far different perhaps – thousands sacrificed and more number underwent innumerable difficulties for that magic freedom, which we happily enjoy .. .. .. and, Indian History does not have much written about those great martyrs. 

Before Collector Ash was assassinated by Veera Vanchinathan – there was this murder of a British officer in Indian civil service - Arthur Mason Tippetts Jackson,  Magistrate of Nasik, assassinated by a young 17 year old student.   Anant Laxman Kanhere, student of Aurangabad, shot Jackson on 21 Dec 1909 at a theater where a drama was tobe staged in his honour on the eve of his transfer.  The lesser known of the Savarkars – Mr Ganesh Savarkar elder brother of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was implicated and sent  to trial.


Never a great movie buff, I cried seeing this film in Kakinada – ‘Kalapani (Chiraichalai)’ in Telugu.  Mohanlal as hero it was on the  lives of prisoners in British India sentenced to Kālā Pānī, the Cellular Jail in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Illayaraja’s music was lifting, yet I felt very gloomy towards the climax. So I was looking forward to the opportunity of visiting this historic place and when it occurred in June 2018, I was overwhelmed.  The imposing cellular jails, to which  the British exiled  political prisoners and treated them cruelly.  It housed many great freedom fighters including Batukeshwar Dutt, Yogendra Shukla and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, among others.

In the dark hours of  April 29, 1912, an alarm went up on the ‘yard three’ wing of the Cellular Jail in Port Blair. Warden Gulmir, stationed at the jail’s central tower, rushed to the wing and shined a hurricane lamp through the iron-barred door of cell 82. He found the bed empty. The prisoner, a young Bengali revolutionary called Indu Bhushan Roy, who had completed two years of his ten years’ rigorous imprisonment, was dead. His body hung from the window, a strand of torn kurta wound around his neck.  The newspapers wrote : Kalapani  had claimed one more tortured soul. Three suicides a month had become the norm in Andaman.  Roy’s death drove fellow Bengali prisoner Ullaskar Dutt to madness. For the British, Dutt was a “known troublemaker”: as a student in Calcutta, he stole chemicals from the university laboratory to make bombs. One of his homemade bombs killed two British citizens—an act that landed him in Andaman. Roy’s suicide had so angered him that he accused the jail’s medical superintendent Dr F.A. Barker of aiding it.

At Kalapani, it was madness to accuse a jail officer of anything, let alone of killing an inmate. Dutt got the punishment of ‘standing handcuffs’: for seven days, he hung by his wrists from a peg hammered into the wall. On the eighth day, Barker ran a test on the prisoner. “I could feel the metal clips on my body. The electric current passed through me with a force of lightning,” Dutt would write in his memoirs years later. He was transferred to the island’s lunatic ward at Haddo, where he was kept for 14 years.  Both Roy and Dutt had been incarcerated alongside a Marathi prisoner, a Chitpawan Brahmin from Nashik, described by a British official as “a small man with an intelligent face and a nervous manner”. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar had set foot on Andaman on July 4, 1911, but his reputation had preceded him. His arrest in London in 1910, his subsequent deportation to India and his attempt to escape to Marseille while being transported on a ship had become a cause célèbre in Europe. It was said that Savarkar had slipped through a porthole, leapt into the sea and swam ashore.

The “architectural monstrosity” was a 698-cell jail—a massive, three-storey structure with seven wings, or yards, of unequal lengths, radiating from a central watch tower. The jail’s design was ‘panoptical’—all (pan) could be observed (optical) from the central tower, without the prisoners being able to see anyone. The buildings rose out of mangrove swamps on a promontory called Atlanta Point in Port Blair. The cells, measuring 13.5x7.5ft each, had tiny, iron-barred windows and wooden beds measuring 6x3ft. “I felt that I had entered the jaws of death,” Savarkar wrote later. “The high wall was adorned with a festoon of manacles, and several similar instruments of torture were hanging down from it.”

The origins of this torture cell could be traced to that communication of Jan 1858, the most faithful humble servants, Canning, Low, Peacock wrote to the Hon’ble Court of directors of the East India Company, our rulers at that point of time (shortly after the rebellion ~ the first freedom struggle of India) .. they wrote :

WE have the honour to acknowledge receipt of ycur letter, No. 2436, dated the 20th November, 1857, intimating that the Right Hon'ble the Governor General in Council had been pleased to appoint us to be a Committee to examine the shores of the Andaman group of islands (for finalizing a prison in that forbidden land !) ~ they were mention among many important things instrumental in raising the prison - The only vegetable food found in their canoes or habitations was the fruit of the mangrove, a large leguminous bean and some wild spinach.  We  did not ascertain whether they were eaten cooked or raw. The inhabitants of the islands were all entirely naked; top of head and anterior part of chest were clay which was found hardened in large shells.  Their bodies were found scarred in lines by a cutting instrument and savage form of tattooing.

The natives like many parts of the global found that globalization only meant that their habitats taken away, they called barbaric, enslaved and subjected to harsh punishments .. .. sad for those inhabitants of Andaman – in fact a chain of many islands stretching from Cape Negrais in Burma to Achin Head in Sumatra.  This line of islands forms a single geographical system, as it were a submarine range of mountains, the highest points rising here and there above the surface of the ocean. Some 80 miles or so from Cape Negrais lies the first of the islands in the chain, Preparis Island, between which and the mainland the sea depth does not exceed 100 fathoms. Southwards of this the submarine ridge sinks to a depth of about 150 fathoms, rising again to form the small group of islands known as the Cocos, some 50 miles from Preparis.  The Andaman Group itself consists of the Great and Little Andaman with their outlying islets, and occupies a distance approximately north and south of about 210 miles. Eighty miles to the south of the Andamans lie the Nicobar Islands, a scattered archipelago occupying a distance of about 160 miles from north to south. The sea between the Andamans and the Nicobars is over 700 fathoms deep. Deep sea also divides the Nicobars from Sumatra, which is about no miles distant from the most southerly point of Great Nicobar. On the west the Andamans are separated from the coast of Madras, 700 miles distant, by the Sea of Bengal. On the east the Andaman Sea, a depression with a depth of over 1000 fathoms, separates the Andamans and Nicobars from the Malay Isthmus and Peninsula.  Until the nineteenth century the Cocos Islands were uninhabited. The Andamans and the Nicobars have for many centuries been inhabited by two entirely different races.

Getting back to that letter of the committee to the East India Company in 1858 – with advertence to the   6th  paragraph of your  Honorable Coures Despatch No. 24 of 1857,  we have the honor to state for your Honorable Court's information, that on the 20th  Nov  last we appointed a Committee, composed of Dr. F. 1. Mouat, the Inspector of Jails in the Lower Provinces, Assistant Surgeon G. R. Playfair, Lieutenant J. A. Heathcote of the Indian Navy, to examine the Andaman Group of Islands~ with a view to the selection of a site for the establishment of a Penal Settlement for the reception, in the first instance, of Mutineers, Deserters, and Rebels, sentenced to imprisonment in banishment, and eventually for the reception of all Convicts under sentence of transportation whom for any reason it may not be thought expedient to send to the Straits Settlements. 

The committee upon returning to Kolkatta, communicated that  Old Harbour, henceforward to be distinguished by  the name of "Port Blair," as the locality of the proposed Penal Settlement; and they had  directed Captain H. Man, the Executive Engineer and Superintendent of Convicts at Moulmein, to proceed at once to the spot with all the means necessary for cleaning a site, and otherwise preparing it for the reception of the Convicts.   For housing the convicts, the built-up too was done by engaging the convicts, grouping them in to  gangs of twenty five, named a section, under a convict gangsman; four sections constituting a sub-division finally a convict division and a free Overseer, accoompanied by a native doctor. Such convict groups were to work together in hundreds to enable resist any attack by  aboriginal savages.  The aggressors were kind to allow a fair day’s labour as wges which was multiplied by food, cooking utensils, working implements, medicines and necessaries supplied by the Govt.  when any convict worker suffered sick or was maimed by an accident, incapacitated from actively employed – the supervisor had the power to either  permanently or for a long time, transfer them to invalid gang or dispose of otherwise (! What !) and draft another healthy prisoner in lieu.

Port Blair Cellulars rekindles the memories of Savarkar.  .. .. before leaving for England to study law, Savarkar had been a member of a secret society, Mitra Mela, which was subsequently renamed Abhinav Bharat. Its goal was to overthrow the British through violent methods.  Savarkar’s older brother, Ganesh, alias Babarao, was an Abhinav Bharat member too. The police nabbed Ganesh Savarkar and stumbled upon a stockpile of bombs. Ganesh Savarkar was sentenced to transportation for life on June 8, 1909. His comrades decided to retaliate. On December 29, 1909, Anant Kanhere shot dead AMT Jackson, district magistrate of Nasik.  Jackson had committed Ganesh Savarkar to trial,  and another Judge  had banished him to the Andamans.
the cell where Savarkar was confined solitarily for 10 years +

The accusation was that group mentored by Savarkar had started manufacture of bombs on a small factory scale. “ Reliable members were called from different districts to learn the preparation of Picric and fulminate, and the teaching was mainly done in specially hired  rooms in mill area by Karve and Nagpurkar  ~ and this had started the next day of Tilakar’s arrest in 1908.  This group manufactured bombs and distributed them to their workers. After the Jackson murder, the bombs and the  factory were removed or destroyed before they were arrested 33 Browning pistols were sent to India in an appreciable number in  1909 by V. D. Savarkar. Jackson murder was planned and executed by Karve group.   The Nasik murder shocked Government  and practically all the underground activities were traced and  suppressed.

Veer Savarkar made that bid  to escape from the ship at Marseilles through port hole.  Savarkar was chased and rearrested and brought back to his cabin.  The extracts on Savarkar’ s case show how the Governments of Bombay and India were anxious to punish him as early as possible without coming in  conflict with their International obligations. However, the Hague Tribunal was in favour of the British Government. The Judgment stated “H. M. Britanica is not required to restore the said. V. D. Savarkar to the Government of French Republic”. The French evidence shows that Savarkar was arrested by the French gendarme ….

(will conclude this lengthy post on : Savarkar, &  more on the cellular prison of Port Blair – Andaman with heavy heart now – this is perhaps only part 1 – desirous of writing more !)
Most prisoners of the dark cruel  Cellular Jail were independence activists. Some famous inmates of the Cellular Jail were Diwan Singh Kalepani, Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, Yogendra Shukla, Batukeshwar Dutt, Maulana Ahmadullah, Babarao Savarkar, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Sachindra Nath Sanyal, Bhai Parmanand, Shadan Chandra Chatterjee, Sohan Singh, Subodh Roy, Vaman Rao Joshi and Nand Gopal.  Several revolutionaries tried in the Alipore Case (1908) such as Barindra Kumar Ghose, Upendra Nath Banerjee, Birendra Chandra Sen too were lodged there. It is written that though Savarkar brothers Babarao and Vinayak were lodged there for two years at the same time, they would not know of each other’s presence.   
the gallows of Andamans

In March 1868, 238 prisoners tried to escape. By April they were all caught. One committed suicide and of the remainder Superintendent Walker ordered 87 to be hanged ~ a visit over here would haunt you for those patriotic souls, who were tortured, grieved to chill penury, and died when cruelty in its worst form was meted out. .. .. now honestly think, have we ever read of a Anant Kanhere, Yogendra Shukla, Batukeshwar Dutt, Savarkars, Sachindranath Sanyal and innumerable others !! ~ and we studied history in schools !!!

With heavy heart –S. Sampathkumar
Eve of Indian Independence day 2018.
            Inspired by the movie  Chiraisalai ~ moved to tears during my  visit to the Cellular jails .. biblio :
o    History of Indian freedom movement vol 11 – 1885 – 1920 – Govt records, Bombay
o    Andaman islanders – Anthropology – A Brown
o   Selections from the records of Govt of India (Home Department) no. XXV – Andaman Islands, Calcutta 1859

o   Tale of my exile – Barindrakumar Ghose.