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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hay and tarpaulin hid the house for 5 years ~ the tarpaulin warranty in Marine Cargo

There existed a Tariff for Marine Cargo Insurance too – there were rates for Inland transits which were discounted by 50% for transits less than 80 kms  – the rates were detariffed in 1994; viewed in hindsight those rates were fabulous  –  the market is yet to recover from the deep fall of those days !!   For bagged cargo, for inland transit risks, the Basic coverage (Inland Transit – B) rate was to be :  0.20% -  Underwriters were permitted to add specified perils to this and for tearing and handling losses it was 0.05%; another 0.05% for rain water damage; another 0.05% for shortage and a similar value for non delivery and so on…. 

~and all those rates were for cargoes carried in ‘closed trucks’ and not by open trucks  - it was further clarified that vehicles with tarpaulin will be considered as ‘closed trucks’!  - now most of the Insurers incorporate a warranty ‘warranted by closed vehicles or vehicles duly covered by tarpauline’ [sometimes some specifically covering bulkier cargo like windmill blades too have this warranty !]

A tarpaulin, or tarp, is a large sheet of strong, flexible, water-resistant or waterproof material, often cloth such as canvas or polyester coated with urethane, or made of plastics such as polyethylene. Tarpaulins often have reinforced grooves  at the corners and along the sides to form attachment points for rope, allowing them to be tied down or suspended. Inexpensive modern tarpaulins are made from woven polyethylene; this material is so associated with tarpaulins that it has become colloquially known in some quarters as polytarp.

There is a Tamil  proverb that ‘one should not attempt to cover pumpkin in meals ’ meaning one cannot hide a bigger thing or mistake and anyway that would be apparent.  A couple of years back, the Election Commission ordered that hundreds of statues of elephants [the election symbol of BSP] be draped in polythene – and it was reported that the  pink drapes cost them crore of rupees.   Pink was the neutral hue chosen for the exercise as it does not represent any party's official colour.

Away in UK is this interesting case of a farmer losing  a nine-year legal battle to save the dream home he built without planning permission and hid behind hay bales for four years.  Yes house hidden behind haystack and tarpaulin.  MailOnline reports that Robert Fidler has lived in castle in Salfords, Surrey, since 2002 with family.  Robert Fidler, 66, secretly constructed the mock-Tudor castle complete with battlements and cannons and lived there with his family from 2002. He unveiled it officially in 2006 when he thought he would be able to exploit a legal loophole that prevents enforcement action against a structure if no objections have been made for at least four years.  No comparisons  though with those three stands at Chepauk  remaining empty during IPL matches !!

But the local authority immediately laid siege by refusing to grant retrospective permission. Now, after numerous court appearances costing tens of thousands of pounds, Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has finally ruled the four-bedroom home on Green Belt land at Honeycrocks Farm in Salfords, Surrey – worth well in excess of £1million if sold on the open market - must be pulled down within 90 days.

Mr Fidler yesterday compared the situation to an artist being made to destroy a piece of work. ‘It would be like Rembrandt being asked to rip up his masterpiece of an oil painting or something for me to demolish it,’ he complained.  He added: ‘I don’t think I have any choice, to be honest. What they’re saying now is if I don’t demolish it in 90 days they’ll put me in prison.’   Mr Fidler started as a tenant farmer at Honeycrock Farm in the 1970s and bought the farmyard and ten acres of land in 1985. There was no farmhouse, however, so from 2000 he began building the house around two grain silos at a cost of £50,000. Features include weathered brick and stone, carved wooden pillars and beams and a stained-glass dome above the stairwell.

 The 66-year-old used dozens of hay bales, blue tarpaulin and tyres to hide the house  from 2002 to 2006. Mr Fidler and his wife, Linda, went to such lengths to hoodwink locals and the authorities that they kept their son Harry, now 14, off playschool on the day his class were due to paint scenes of their homes.  Neighbours expressed anger at the brazenness of the plan when the property’s existence was declared. One said: ‘It was a complete shock when the hay came down and this castle was in its place. Everyone else has to abide by planning laws, so why shouldn’t they?’

The farmer then took his case to the High Court in 2009 and to the Court of Appeal the following year, both of which dismissed his challenge. Further delays were caused when he submitted applications for the house to be retained for agricultural use. He claimed it was needed to provide accommodation for a worker in connection with a beef farming business on the site. These were rejected by the Planning Inspectorate last year but another appeal was heard in a Public Inquiry before Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, intervened and dismissed the claim, which raised ‘important or novel issues of development control and/or legal difficulties.’ A council spokesman yesterday said it had a ‘duty’ to uphold planning rules designed to protect the Green Belt.

Though the farmer lost his case, it is clear that tarpaulin is good enough to cover a big house for years ! ~and hence good enough to cover cargo too !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th Apr 2015.

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