Thursday, 31 October 2013

Pallikaranai sediments as old as 27 centuries

Chennai, October 31: While the city corporation seems in great hurry to destroy it by dumping tonnes of garbage, the precious Pallikaranai marshland adjoining Chennai’s IT highway boasts of history dating back to 2700 years, scientists have found. Soil sediments picked by the Anna University and tested at the radiocarbon dating lab at New York 
showed that the place was flourishing with
 living organisms even 27 centuries ago.

Sadly oblivious of the eco-value of such marshland and the need to preserve it at all costs, the corporation has been dumping thousands of tonnes of Chennai’s garbage, the dangerous plastics included, in the area. Also, several private companies have been quietly letting in their untreated sewage, thereby harming biological activity in the marsh.

Result: the marshland, which would otherwise act as a bowl for carbon sequestration, is now emitting dangerous methane gas, says A. Ramachandran, director, Centre for climate change and Adaptation Research (CCC&AR) at the Anna University. 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Tallest Menhir cries for attention
Chennai, October 19: One of the tallest menhir in Tamil Nadu is crying for attention. Located in non descript village Kumarikalpalayam in Tirupur district, the menhir which is nine meters high is surrounded by bushes. The locals conduct an annual festival and perform poojas to the menhir. But so far the site has not been studied and promoted like many other historical sites in the state. Locals said that if the place is promoted as historical site, it would add value to their village.

Speaking to DC Superintendenting archeologist of Archeological survey of India, Chennai circle G.Maheswari said, “Mehir is known as ‘nadukal’ in Tamil. It is placed in the memory of a brave leader. Many menhirs belong to 1,000 BC. We will look into this menhir situated in Kuarmikalpalayam. This could be promoted as potential tourist spot.” She added that ASI would pitch in to improving the site after studying it in detail. “Erode and its neighbouring districts have several historical sites. Whenever we come to know about new sites, we will engage people to study and take necessary steps to improvise the place,” she said.

Educationists say that students should be exposed to historical sites in local areas so as to increase their interest in history. Social activist A.Devaneyan, who campaigns for child friendly education said, “Unless children are informed about history of their villages, their towns, they would not be interested to follow up global issues. In order to widen their perspective, local history is very much needed. That too menhirs stand as an evidence for real heroes in villages who fought centuries back to protect the land. It is quintessential to protect the sites and teach children about it.”

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

4th November -rebirth of a girl in the world of sound

Pramila Krishnan
Chennai, October 10: November 4 would mark a rebirth for Abinaya. The five-year-old inmate of an orphanage at Madurai will be wheeled into the operation theatre for a free cochlear implant that will introduce sounds and songs to the world of the cute girl born with hearing impairment. The state government has waived the requirement of 
producing ration card or any other identity card for her to benefit from the CM’s free insurance scheme, as Abinaya has no family and was found abandoned near Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple three years ago.

The government gave her the exemption and will release the funds for the expensive surgery. When the private hospital authorities insisted hat the staff of the home produce the identity cards to register for the scheme, the orphanage was clueless on how to solve the issue. The appeals by many kind hearts and media reports influenced the panel which finalises beneficiaries for the surgery. The panel gave the green signal and approved her for the surgery next month. 

Thanking the panel for the clearance, Abinyaya’s caretaker Joseph Benziger said, “ After the surgery, Abinaya would be a happy child. She is studying in a special school. This surgery would empower her to be a normal child. We will help her to go to a normal school,” he said with happiness.

Benziger recalled that all efforts to trace her parents ended in vain. “She was found close to the temple and she could not provide any details about her family or native town when she was rescued. A teashop owner rescued her and produced her in the local police station and finally she was placed in our home. We suspect that she was abandoned because of her hearing disability,” said Joseph.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Elders to man desks at Madurai police stations

Pramila Krishnan

Chennai, Oct 2: On World Elders Day, senior citizens of Madurai received a bonanza from the district police chief. In a first of kind initiative, all the 44 police stations in Madurai will have an exclusive elder as an in-charge person to lend an ear to complaints from senior citizens and to guide them to get justice.

Introducing the ‘elder representative in police station’ initiative along with Helpage India, voluntary organisation, on Tuesday, SP V. Balakrishnan said networking active elders with police stations would help the vulnerable elders. The SP told DC that he introduced this initiative “to help, to serve many fathers and mothers.”

He said, “Scores of elders visit me during the weekly grievance day meet. If the elder is ill-treated by his son or daughter, we arrange a meeting with them and help resolve the issue. In case of serious abuse, we take strict action.” 

“Many elders do not want to complaint about their children and continue to suffer. Now, we have connected elders with police stations. Affected elders can approach the elders’ representative in person and personally share their problems. We will sensitise the elder representative about what action can be taken by the police to
protect  vulnerable elders,” he said.

He added that this initiative would bridge the police and the elderly community. “Our men would also pay a little more attention to the complainants who are in the evening of their lives and would need immediate relief. The elder representative would be a person well informed about elders rights and implementation of the 
‘Maintenance of parents and senior citizens Act, 2007,” he said.

Thanking the SP for the initiative, elder representative C. Sundararaman (71), said, “I will be available in Nagamalai Pudukottai station. I am very much clear about senior citizens Act and ready to reach out to the affected elders."