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Emotional Sasikala takes charge as AIADMK Gen Secy, says she’ll sacrifice life for party & people

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>VK Sasikala Natarajan, 54, a close aide of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, took charge as General Secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Saturday at the party’s headquarters in Chennai.AIADMK party members had in a unanimous resolution adopted at the party’s general council meeting earlier this week, appointed Sasikala to the post.Chinnamma addressed AIADMK cadres at the party Head Quarters. She began by thanking her supporters for choosing her to be the next General Secretaryafter Jayalalithaa’s death.Breaking down with tears, she said that the despite Jayalalithaa’s demise party under her leadership will continue to rule the state. “Amma is not with us now but our party will rule here for the next 100 years,” she said.Sasikala said that she had dedicated her life to serving Jayalalithaa. “For Amma party was life and for me Amma is my life.We have tried our best to safeguard Amma; but unfortunately she passed away.”She reminded party workers to be loyal and committed towards the party to fulfil Jayalalithaa’s dream for the state. “Amma always expected loyalty and true work from all cadre and functionaries. I will sacrifice my life for my party and the crores of people. Amma’s dream will continue for Tamil Nadu,” she said. “This government is people’s government. We will follow the path shown by our Amma. If we stand united, future is ours,” she said. “In those days Indira Gandhi was the only woman leader in politics but Amma broke the tradition and made history,” said Sasikala about Jayalalithaa’s ascension to power as a woman. Sasikala also promised grand celebrations for entire year in 2017 for the centenary of AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran. “Centenary of AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran will be celebrated in a grand manner throughout the year,” said the new AIADMK General SecretaryAhead of taking charge, Sasikala paid tribute to Jayalalithaa.The AIADMK in its general body meeting passed a resolution to work under the leadership of Sasikala on Friday. The resolution was accepted by Sasikala, the confirmation of which was posted on the party’s Twitter handle. The close aide of late Jayalalithaa first garlanded the statue of party founder MG Ramachandran at the AIADMK headquarters after she arrived in the midst of tight security. She then proceeded to pay floral tributes to the portrait of Jayalalithaa. Sasikala formally assumed charge by signing papers after which she addressed the gathering outside.Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam handed over a copy of the resolution to Sasikala.En route to the party office, she was given a rousing welcome by party leaders, functionaries and cadres who had gathered in large numbers. Party activists had lined up on both sides of the road from the Poes Garden residence to the party headquarters at Royapettah to welcome her.Sasikala, clad in a light green saree with a pink border, greeted them with folded hands. Party flags, banners and festoons sporting bright images of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala were put up on roads, all along from Poes garden to Royapettah. Banners and hoardings hailed Sasikala as Chinnamma everywhere.After Jayalalithaa died, the party had announced that Natarajan would replace her as the chief of her party even though she is not technically qualified. The general secretary has to have completed five years as an active member. Jayalalithaa who passed away on December 5 evening after suffering cardiac arrest was the party’s general secretary from 1989 to 2016. With PTI/ANI inputs.

‘Chinnamma’ Sasikala to formally take over as AIADMK chief on Saturday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>VK Sasikala, who was appointed to the top post in the AIADMK on Thursday, will formally take charge as its general secretary here on Saturday, the party has said.The AIADMK headquarters at Royapettah here is being spruced up for the occasion with a dais being set up near the MGR statue to facilitate Sasikala to pay tributes to the party founder before taking charge.In keeping with the Dravidian political ethos of paying tributes at memorials of leaders before key events, Sasikala placed a wreath and paid floral tributes to Jayalalithaa at her burial site in the MGR Memorial at Marina beach this evening.She also laid wreaths and paid floral tributes at the memorials of MG Ramachandran and Dravidian ideologue and former Tamil Nadu chief minister CN Annadurai.Amid chants of “compassionate mother Chinnamma” by her partymen, Sasikala showered flower petals on Jayalalithaa’s burial site.With moist eyes, she placed a copy of the party resolution appointing her as the AIADMK general secretary at the burial site.After silently praying for a while, she went around the site during which she paused and touched it twice as a mark of respect.On her arrival at the MGR Memorial, Sasikala was received by AIADMK presidium chairman E Madusudanan, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and senior party leader M Thambidurai and state ministers, including Dindigul C Srinivasan and Edappadi K Palanisami.They accompanied her as she paid her respects to the late leaders.Party MPs, MLAs former ministers and legislators were also present on the occasion even as a large number of AIADMK cadre thronged the place.Earlier, former Puducherry chief minister and chief of the All India NR Congress (AINRC) N Rangaswamy met Sasikala at her Poes Garden residence and congratulated her on being appointed as the AIADMK chief.

DMK seeks probe by sitting HC judge over Jayalalithaa’s death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after a Madras High Court judge expressed doubts over the circumstances leading to the demise of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, DMK on Friday sought a comprehensive probe by a sitting HC judge into the death.”A comprehensive probe must be done by a sitting judge of the High Court and people should be told the truth,” DMK Treasurer M K Stalin said.Against the backdrop of the court raising questions, he said it was imperative for the government to come out comprehensively on the medical treatment provided to the former AIADMK chief.In a statement here, he said complete medical bulletins, video footage and photos of her getting treatment at the hospital should be released.Citing Justice Vaidyanathan’s observation yesterday that he may consider ordering exhumation of the body of the departed leader, he said “it is imperative for the government to release comprehensive information”.Stalin, who had earlier sought a white paper on the treatment given to Jayalalithaa, said there was no statement from the government ever since she was admitted to the hospital on September 22.He said the Centre and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had a duty to answer questions related to the treatment provided for the late leader. Doctors from Delhi’s AIIMS too had treated her, he said.If the ruling regime had explained the “true (health) status” of Jayalalithaa and released pictures of her getting treatment, the issue could not have reached the doorsteps of court, he said.He recalled a statement of his party chief Karunanidhi seeking release of pictures of Jayalalithaa being treated and said, “had the ruling side not viewed it from the prism of politics, the issue would not have come to such a pass”.Only such activities has cast a “cloud, giving room for suspicion,” among the people, he said, adding it was the right of the people to know about the treatment given to her and the circumstances leading to her death.

Madras High Court judge raises doubts on Jayalalithaa’s death, wants health records made public

There couldn’t have been a better timing for the Madras High Court to raise questions on the mysterious conditions under which former Tamil Nadu chief minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam head, J Jayalalithaa passed away earlier this month.

A file image of new AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala with J Jayalalithaa's body. PTI

A file image of new AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala with J Jayalalithaa’s body. PTI

On the day the AIADMK appointed Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala as the next general secretary of the party, a post held by Jayalalithaa before her death, the high court observed that there are many unanswered questions surrounding her death and that the details of it should be made public.

Expressing doubts over the circumstances leading to death of former Tamil Nadu chief minister, a Madras High Court judge indicated that he may order exhumation of the body after a plea before the court sought a probe by an inquiry commission or a fact-finding committee.

According to ANI, Justice Vaidyalingam, who was heading a two-judge vacation bench, pointed at the doubts raised by the media and said that the mysterious conditions under which she died should be probed.

His observations came when the bench, also comprising Justice V Parthiban, was hearing the PIL filed by an AIADMK worker PA Joseph seeking an inquiry commission or a fact-finding committee to probe the circumstances leading to the death of Jayalalithaa.

“After the demise, everybody has a right to question. I personally have a doubt,” Justice Vaidyalingam remarked adding, “”One day it was told that she is walking, another day you said that she will come out and suddenly what happened. Even with regard to the health of late  Chief Minister MGR, video was released,” Justice Vaidyanathan said.

When a special mention was made before the bench by senior counsel KM Vijayan who argued on the plea, Advocate General Muthukumaraswamy said there is no mystery in the death.
Justice Vaidyanathan asked the AG, “What is that you say. Right to live is a Fundamental Right. Public should know what has happened.” “Even relations were not allowed to see and they are also
not before the court now. I personally find in case if I have doubt I may order exhumation of the body of deceased and you have not told anything when she was alive,” the judge said.

Turning to counsel J Madanagopala Rao, who appeared on behalf of Union Government, the Judge said: “You went there. You have not reported anything. You know everything. But not reported anything for the reasons best known to you. You kept quiet.” The bench said, “We also saw in newspapers that the chief minister was recovering, and that she was eating, signing papers and even conducting meetings. And then suddenly she was dead.”

“At least after her death now, the truth should be revealed,” the bench added.

The bench then recorded the acceptance of notice by counsel for Union Government on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministries of Home, Law and Parliamentary Affairs and CBI and posted the matter for further hearing to 9 January.

According to CNN-News18, the high court judge also asked why her body was buried and not exhumed. The bench, it said, has issued a notice to the prime minister, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Apollo Hospital, where Jayalalithaa was being treated regarding the same.

The PIL had sought a commission comprising retired Supreme Court judges to look into “questionable incidents”, including Jayalalithaa’s sudden hospitalisation, reported recovery and the cardiac arrest resulting in her death on 5 December.

The PIL listed the sequence of events since Jayalalithaa’s admission to Apollo Hospitals here on 22 September and claimed that the “secrecy” preceding her death gave rise to “grave doubts” in the minds of the people.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 12:23 IST

Sasikala: The ‘new mother’ of Tamil Nadu politics

BBC Tamil’s Thirumalai Manivannan profiles Sasikala’s political and personal journey in Tamil Nadu.

BJP accuses Rama Mohana Rao of ‘doing politics’ by thanking Rahul and Mamata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> BJP on Tuesday lashed out at former Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao over his critical remarks on Income Tax raids at his home and office and charged him with “doing politics” by thanking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.Party’s state unit President Tamilisai Sounderrajan said no one is above the law and sought to know why Rao would talk about the state’s security when an elected Chief Minister was there to take care of it. “By thanking Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi, his intentions are clear. It is clear that he is brazenly doing politics,” she said in a statement. She asked if he was “challenging” the Chief Minister and Governor by his remarks.”Who is he to say that there is no security for the people of Tamil Nadu? Why is he bothered when there is an elected Chief Minister? (to take care of that),” she said. Further, the Income Tax department can carry out checks anywhere in connection with a probe, she said responding to Rao’s contention that the tax men’s search warrant did not have his name.Tamilisai also slammed Rao for claiming that he continued to be state Chief Secretary and termed it as “arrogant.” “Overall his remarks amount to impeding the peaceful situation in Tamil Nadu. The fact is he has become a wrong precedent by a wrong action (of talking to the media). It is amazing that an official does not have the patience to wait for law to take its own course,” she added.

Tamil Nadu: CM should respond to Rama Mohana Rao’s claim that he is Chief Secretary, says DMK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK on Tuesday demanded an explanation from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam over former Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao’s insistence that he continued to remain on the top post despite being replaced following Income Tax raids at his residence and office.DMK Treasurer and Opposition Leader M K Stalin said he had sought an explanation from Panneerselvam when the raids were being carried out at Rao’s house and office last week.”If the former Chief Secretary is in a position to claim that he is the Chief Secretary, then only the Chief Minister has to respond to that,” Stalin told reporters here.Rama Mohana Rao, who is under I-T scanner, had earlier in the day said that the copy of the transfer order on his removal as Chief Secretary has not been handed over to him yet, and that therefore he continued as the topmost official of the state government.The state government had last week appointed Girija Vaidyanathan in his place, a day after I-T sleuths raided Rao’s Anna Nagar residence and chamber at the state Secretariat.Asked if the BJP government at the Centre was “behind” the raids, Stalin said it was up to the central government, BJP and I-T officials to clarify it.

IT department summons former TN Chief Secretary’s son for tax evasion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Widening its probe, the Income Tax Department has summoned the son of former Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao in connection with its tax evasion investigation against sand mining operators of the state where one of the biggest seizures of cash and gold was made by the taxman in the aftermath of demonetization.Officials said while Rao’s son Vivek Papisetty was first summoned to join investigations last week, after searches were carried out against him and his family on December 21, and now fresh reminders have again been sent to him in this regard.They said Vivek has informed the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case that he would join the probe soon and has cited his wife’s illness as the reason for not being able to do so till now.The department, it is understood, wants to confront and question Vivek regarding a number of seizures of documents made by the sleuths from his and his kins’ locations and from the premises of Shankar Reddy after searches were first carried out against the latter here earlier this month.Reddy was arrested by CBI last week.”Vivek has said he would be joining I-T investigations in a day or two. His questioning is vital in the case,” they said, adding that three other associates searched in the case are also being questioned by the department.I-T officials had earlier claimed that Vivek had “admitted to a total unaccounted income of about Rs 17 crore”, a day after I-T raids were carried out at the top bureaucrat’s house and other premises linked to his kin.Last week, the department had launched searches on at least 15 premises related to Vivek and others and had claimed to have seized Rs 30 lakh in new currency and five kg gold.The Tamil Nadu government, on the very next day of raids on December 22, had replaced Rao from the top bureaucratic post and had appointed senior IAS officer and Additional Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan as the new Chief Secretary.The I-T case emerges from the to biggest cash haul of new notes post demonetization after the department raided some sand mining operators of Tamil Nadu.Over Rs 142 crore unaccounted assets have been recovered so far by the department in this case apart from seizure of Rs 34 crore in new notes. The total cash seizure in this instance was over Rs 170 crore and this has become the single largest case of disclosure of undisclosed assets post the note ban.

2004 Tsunami: Tamil Nadu observes 12th anniversary of tragedy

Chennai: The 12th anniversary of the killer tsunami that caused massive destruction in Tamil Nadu in 2004 was observed across the state with people mourning the dead and fishermen keeping off the seas.

Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar and Handloom Minister OS Manian paid tributes in Chennai and at Nagapattinam, respectively.

Special prayers and floral tributes besides remembering the loved ones by pouring milk into the sea marked the day, even as many recalled that fateful day on December 26 when tidal waves swept away their loved ones along the coast.

Prayers and tributes were held in Chennai and Nagapattinam, with the latter bearing the brunt of the killer waves, besides others, including Cuddalore and Kanniyakumari.

Women poured milk into the sea as a mark of respect to the departed ones while candle light and floral tributes were paid by people for their relatives who were consumed by the sea.

While many remembered their surviving the ordeal, others recalled how the waves swept away their close relatives.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Fishermen did not venture out to sea for their vocation on Monday.

At Nagapattinam, when the clock struck 9:17 a.m, people rose to observe a minute’s silence to pay homage to the persons who lost their lives in the tsunami.

District Collector S Pazhanisamy and other officials participated in silent marches, candle processions and floral tributes.

At Vailankanni, a special mass was conducted at the Shrine Basillica in memory of the tsunami victims. A silent procession was also held.

At Nagore, tributes were paid to those who were buried in the land owned by the Dargah. The graveyard of the dargah of Saint Hazrath Syed Shahul Hameed Quadir Wali at Nagore, which is more than 500 years old, witnessed mass burials 12 years ago.

Memorials were also held in neighbouring Karaikal.

Hundreds of fishermen from 12 affected villages in the district took out silent processions,placed wreaths and lit candles at the memorial sites. Puducherry Agriculture Minister Kamalakannan,District Collector P Parthiban and other officials paid floral tributes at Nandalar memorial site.

In fishing hamlets such as Pattinacherry, Karaikalmedu and Kottucherrymedu, people hoisted black flags in memory of the departed and decorated photographs of victims with flowers.

Triggered by earthquake in Indonesia, a massive tsunami struck the Tamil Nadu coast on December 26 morning, a Sunday, causing massive damage to life and property across the state.

Nagapattinam faced the maximum fury of the natural disaster even as other coastal districts like Chennai, Cuddalore and Tiruvallore suffered.

Nearly 7,000 people died on that fateful day.

The government later rolled out series of rehabilitation schemes for the affected people.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 14:59 IST

Tamil Nadu: DMK General Council meet on January 4

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK announced that its General Council meeting on Monday, which was deferred in view of M Karunanidhi’s hospitalisation, would be held on January 4, 2017.DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan said that the General Council, originally slated on December 20 under its President M Karunanidhi, will now be held next month.The General Council was earlier scheduled on December 20 amidst an increasing chorus from Stalin’s supporters for his elevation.Stalin, also leader of the opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, was expected to be appointed working president of the party in the General Council, the powerful decision-making body of DMK.However, the meet was deferred following Karunanidhi’s hospitalisation due to lung and throat infection.Karunanidhi was discharged from the private hospital on December 23.

3 killed in fireworks factory blaze in Tamil Nadu

Mon, 26 Dec 2016-01:58pm , Virudhunagar (Tamil Nadu) , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three workers were killed on Monday after a fire broke out at a fireworks factory at Naranapuram in the district, police said.Three others trapped in the factory were rescued by fire and rescue services personnel, who are trying to bring the blaze under control, they said.Police said the fire spread quickly owing to extreme heat conditions and the cause of the fire is being ascertained.The injured have been admitted to the Sivakasi government hospital.

Acid attack in Vellore: Woman constable suffers injury, search on for assailants

Acid attack in Vellore: Woman constable suffers injury, search on for assailants

A lady police constable was attacked with acid by unknown assailants in Vellore city of Tamil Nadu on Friday, reports said.

According to PTI, the incident took place at Tiruppattur in Vellore district. The constable, named Lavanya suffered injuries on her face and right hand, police said. She has been admitted to a nearby hospital.
A probe is on to ascertain the reason for the attack and nab the culprits. According to ANI the Tamil Nadu Police has formed a special team to nab the culprits.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 11:23 IST

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DMK seeks special assembly session to discuss Cauvery issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK urged the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu to convene a special session of the state assembly to discuss the Cauvery water issue and the situation faced by farmers in the delta region.Party Treasurer and Leader of the Opposition MK Stalin alleged that because of the ruling AIADMK’s “confrontational approach” toward the upper riparian state Karnataka, the state could not get its due share of water from the inter-state river for the past six years.In such a situation, some farmers in the Cauvery delta region had died unable to bear the losses suffered due to failure of crops or had committed suicide, he claimed. Farmers’ associations, besides DMK, had staged a series of protest on the Cauvery issue, but the government had so far neither held any talks with the ryots on the matter, nor has it provided any relief to them, he said in a statement here.With Karnataka not releasing water, the delta region was “dry” he said, adding, the lawmakers, should therefore discuss the “critical” situation of farmers.Further, with the Centre proposing to establish a single tribunal to look into all inter-state water disputes, he doubted if the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) will be constituted in the near future and sought confidence boosting steps from the government for the farmers. “Therefore, a special session of the Assembly should be convened to discuss the critical situation of farmers. Further, a resolution should be adopted for constituting the CMB and declaring Tamil Nadu as drought-hit and it should be sent to the Central government,” he said.

SC to hear petitions seeking CBI probe into Jayalalitha’s death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will on Friday hear pleas seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe or a judicial investigation into former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa’s death.A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by a Chennai-based NGO and a writ petition was filed by expelled AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa in the apex court seeking a CBI probe or a judicial investigation into Jayalalithaa’s death, who breathed her last at Chennai’s Apollo Hospitals on December 5 where she was admitted on September 22 with fever and dehydration.The NGO has sought the recovery of all medical documents during the AIADMK chief’s stay in Chennai’s Apollo Hospital for more than two months, while Pushpa alleged that Jayalalithaa’s death was ‘suspicious’ as her actual medical condition was not disclosed, no one was allowed to visit her, her funeral photographs showed embalming marks and everything from her hospitalisation to her death ‘was kept under wraps’.A day after filing a petition, Pushpa on December 19 said a proper inquiry should be done as the people of Tamil Nadu want to know the actual reason of Jayalalithaa’s death.”I filed a writ petition at Supreme Court regarding the mysterious death of Amma. Right from the day September 22 when she has been admitted at Apollo hospital stating that she has dehydration and fever and after that when it has been announced that she is dead till that complete judicial inquiry should be done. Initial enquiry is to be done by the CBI. The case has been filed at SC,” Pushpa said.”Tamil Nadu people, entire nation wish to know what happened to the late chief minister. The CM of a state has been foul played like this is a million dollar question. I just want to take this matter to SC to get justice,” she told ANI, adding that it was suspected by Tamil people that her close ally might have done something.”I could not get justice from the Tamil Nadu government so, I directly filed the writ at the apex court stating that we need justice and I have made Apollo hospital and chief secretary as respondents,” she added.

Tamil Nadu: Girija Vaidyanathan replaces Rama Mohana Rao as Chief Secretary

Thu, 22 Dec 2016-05:29pm , Chennai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior IAS officer Girija Vaidyanathan was appointed Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu on Thursday, replacing P Rama Mohana Rao whose residence and office was raided by the Income Tax department on Wednesday. “Dr Girija Vaidyanathan IAS, Additional Chief Secretary/ Commissioner of Land Administration, is transferred and posted as Chief Secretary to Government, vice Dr P Ramamohana Rao,” a Public (Special A) Department order dated December 22 said.The fate of Mohana Rao was not immediately known. Vaidyanathan shall also hold full additional charge of the post of Vigilance Commissioner and Commissioner for Administrative Reforms, previously held by Rao, it said. The Income Tax Department had carried out searches at over a dozen places in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh against the son and some relatives of Rao, including at the latter’s Anna Nagar residence in Chennai, during which they claimed to have seized Rs 18 lakh cash and gold bars.

Major I-T raids since demonetisation: ED arrests TN chief secy; DRI seizes Rs 1.34cr in new notes at Chennai airport

It has been more than a month since the Narendra Modi government decided to demonetise high-denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 and even though queues outside banks and ATMs might have shortened from how they used to be, income tax officials have been busy with several high-profile seizures of cash and gold. Some of the seizures reflect poorly on the government — in a few instances new currency notes were seized as well which in turn raises questions about the BJP government’s decision.

Since 8 November, the Income Tax department has detected Over Rs 3,185 crore of undisclosed income, while seizing Rs 86 crore worth of new notes, as part of its country-wide operations against black money hoarders. Official sources said the taxman carried out a total of 677 search, survey and enquiry operations under the provisions of the Income Tax Act since the note ban was declared on 8 November, even as the department has issued over 3,100 notices to various entities on charges of tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.

The I-T department, they said, has also seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 428 crore during the same period.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The agency has also referred over 220 cases to its sister agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe other financial crimes like money laundering, disproportionate assets and corruption as part of their legal mandate.

Here are some of the biggest raids conducted by tax sleuths since the high-profile cleanup of the Indian economy began:

Kolkata businessman raided

Kolkata businessman Parasmal Lodha was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly converting over Rs 25 crore in demonetised currency notes into new ones, reports News18. According to the report, Lodha has links with industrialist J Shekhar Reddy, who was arrested along with his associate K Srinivasulu on Wednesday.

Chennai airport raid 

In the latest development, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence busted a hawala gang and seized Rs 1.34 Crore in Rs 2000 notes & $ 7000 from five persons in early morning hours, near Chennai airport, reported ANI.

Tamil Nadu chief secretary, his son under taxmen scanner

The house and office of Tamil Nadu chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao was on Wednesday searched by Income Tax officials who claimed to have recovered Rs 30 lakh cash in new notes and five kgs of gold besides getting “disclosure” about Rs five crore of unaccounted income.

On Thursday, tax sleuths raided his son, Vivek Rao’s office in Chennai. Sources told NDTV that the taxmen are probing the source of funding for the six companies that Rao established in 2012.

Continuing raids in Chennai

On 20 November, taxmen raided the premises of a prominent engineering college after reports arose of the owner depositing Rs eight crore in unaccounted cash in the accounts of employees. IT officials later found that the amount was deposited in over 400 bank accounts.

According to The Indian Express, on 8 December, the IT department busted a money exchange racket in the Tamil Nadu capital, seizing Rs 90 crore in cash, of which 70 crore were in new notes, along with 100 kgs of gold.

The Income Tax officials on Monday seized demonetised currency notes worth Rs 10 crore and a few kilogrammes of diamond and gold jewellery during a raid in the house and showroom of a jeweller in Chennai.

BJP leader arrested with new notes

On 6 December, the Special Task Force arrested former West Bengal BJP leader Mahesh Sharma, after Rs 33 Lakh in form of Rs 2,000 notes was confiscated from him.

New notes found in ‘secret chamber’

In a surprise raid at a hawala operator’s residence in Hubballi led to the Karnataka and Goa taxmen unearthing Rs 5.7 crore in new cash, The Times of India reported. The stash of new cash, interestingly, was found in a secret chamber in the bathroom.

Post note ban Rs 30 crore seized in Maharashtra excluding Mumbai

Post demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the Income Tax department seized about Rs 30 crore in cash, including Rs 12.32 crore in new bills, from Maharashtra, excluding Mumbai.

The cash was seized during 57 surveys and search operation carried out since the decommissioning of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, I-T department said in a release in Mumbai.

CBI raid at Hyderabad post offices

The CBI conducted surprise raids after the note ban. During one such search at the Himayatnagar Post office, the invetigation agency found Rs 40 lakh. The raid took place on reports of irregularites in phasing out of old currency notes.

Bahubali producer raided in Hyderabad

The IT department raided the residences and offices of the producers of the multi-lingual blockbuster Bahubali, Business Standard reported. Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni, the two producers, were at the recieving end of the taxmen, as Rs 60 crore worth of new notes were found during the raids.

G Janardhan reddy under IT scanner

On 21 November, within days after G Janardhan Reddy’s daughter’s lavish wedding grabbed headlines for its splendour, Income Tax Department raided the mining baron’s offices in Bellari.

A team of five I-T Department officials raided the former BJP lawmaker’s Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) offices.

NGO linked to Pakistan singer raided

On November 18, Delhi police and the IT department raided the offices of a NGO, Routes of Roots, run by the managers of eminent Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, after it recieved reports of illegal conversion of black money.

IT raids in Chandigarh college

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday seized Rs 50 lakh cash, including Rs 46.80 lakh in new notes, after raids at the premises of an educational institute’s owner. Acting on a tip-off, the ED sleuths swooped down on the premises of the owner of Swami Devi Dyal Group of Institutes in Chandigarh.

Over two crores seized from Meerut engineer

Cash worth more than Rs 2.67 crore in both old and new notes, and 30 kilograms of silver were seized from an engineer, working in the irrigation department, by the Income tax sleuths on Tuesday.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 14:26 IST

Major I-T raids since note ban: TN chief secy held; DRI seizes Rs 1.34 cr in new currency in Chennai

It has been more than a month since the Narendra Modi government decided to demonetise high-denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 and even though queues outside banks and ATMs might have shortened from how they used to be, income tax officials have been busy with several high-profile seizures of cash and gold. Some of the seizures reflect poorly on the government — in a few instances new currency notes were seized as well which in turn raises questions about the BJP government’s decision.

Since 8 November, the Income Tax department has detected Over Rs 3,185 crore of undisclosed income, while seizing Rs 86 crore worth of new notes, as part of its country-wide operations against black money hoarders. Official sources said the taxman carried out a total of 677 search, survey and enquiry operations under the provisions of the Income Tax Act since the note ban was declared on 8 November, even as the department has issued over 3,100 notices to various entities on charges of tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.

The I-T department, they said, has also seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 428 crore during the same period.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The agency has also referred over 220 cases to its sister agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe other financial crimes like money laundering, disproportionate assets and corruption as part of their legal mandate.

Here are some of the biggest raids conducted by tax sleuths since the high-profile cleanup of the Indian economy began:

Kolkata businessman raided

Kolkata businessman Parasmal Lodha was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly converting over Rs 25 crore in demonetised currency notes into new ones, reports News18. According to the report, Lodha has links with industrialist J Shekhar Reddy, who was arrested along with his associate K Srinivasulu on Wednesday.

Chennai airport raid 

In the latest development, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence busted a hawala gang and seized Rs 1.34 Crore in Rs 2000 notes & $ 7000 from five persons in early morning hours, near Chennai airport, reported ANI.

Tamil Nadu chief secretary, his son under taxmen scanner

The house and office of Tamil Nadu chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao was on Wednesday searched by Income Tax officials who claimed to have recovered Rs 30 lakh cash in new notes and five kgs of gold besides getting “disclosure” about Rs five crore of unaccounted income.

On Thursday, tax sleuths raided his son, Vivek Rao’s office in Chennai. Sources told NDTV that the taxmen are probing the source of funding for the six companies that Rao established in 2012.

Continuing raids in Chennai

On 20 November, taxmen raided the premises of a prominent engineering college after reports arose of the owner depositing Rs eight crore in unaccounted cash in the accounts of employees. IT officials later found that the amount was deposited in over 400 bank accounts.

According to The Indian Express, on 8 December, the IT department busted a money exchange racket in the Tamil Nadu capital, seizing Rs 90 crore in cash, of which 70 crore were in new notes, along with 100 kgs of gold.

The Income Tax officials on Monday seized demonetised currency notes worth Rs 10 crore and a few kilogrammes of diamond and gold jewellery during a raid in the house and showroom of a jeweller in Chennai.

BJP leader arrested with new notes

On 6 December, the Special Task Force arrested former West Bengal BJP leader Mahesh Sharma, after Rs 33 Lakh in form of Rs 2,000 notes was confiscated from him.

New notes found in ‘secret chamber’

In a surprise raid at a hawala operator’s residence in Hubballi led to the Karnataka and Goa taxmen unearthing Rs 5.7 crore in new cash, The Times of India reported. The stash of new cash, interestingly, was found in a secret chamber in the bathroom.

Post note ban Rs 30 crore seized in Maharashtra excluding Mumbai

Post demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the Income Tax department seized about Rs 30 crore in cash, including Rs 12.32 crore in new bills, from Maharashtra, excluding Mumbai.

The cash was seized during 57 surveys and search operation carried out since the decommissioning of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, I-T department said in a release in Mumbai.

CBI raid at Hyderabad post offices

The CBI conducted surprise raids after the note ban. During one such search at the Himayatnagar Post office, the invetigation agency found Rs 40 lakh. The raid took place on reports of irregularites in phasing out of old currency notes.

Bahubali producer raided in Hyderabad

The IT department raided the residences and offices of the producers of the multi-lingual blockbuster Bahubali, Business Standard reported. Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni, the two producers, were at the recieving end of the taxmen, as Rs 60 crore worth of new notes were found during the raids.

G Janardhan reddy under IT scanner

On 21 November, within days after G Janardhan Reddy’s daughter’s lavish wedding grabbed headlines for its splendour, Income Tax Department raided the mining baron’s offices in Bellari.

A team of five I-T Department officials raided the former BJP lawmaker’s Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) offices.

NGO linked to Pakistan singer raided

On November 18, Delhi police and the IT department raided the offices of a NGO, Routes of Roots, run by the managers of eminent Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, after it recieved reports of illegal conversion of black money.

IT raids in Chandigarh college

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday seized Rs 50 lakh cash, including Rs 46.80 lakh in new notes, after raids at the premises of an educational institute’s owner. Acting on a tip-off, the ED sleuths swooped down on the premises of the owner of Swami Devi Dyal Group of Institutes in Chandigarh.

Over two crores seized from Meerut engineer

Cash worth more than Rs 2.67 crore in both old and new notes, and 30 kilograms of silver were seized from an engineer, working in the irrigation department, by the Income tax sleuths on Tuesday.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 14:26 IST

Tamil Nadu: Day after IT raids, Rao dropped, Girija Vaidyanathan appointed as new Chief Secretary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the Income tax department conducted raids, Tamil Nadu government on Thursday appointed Girija Vaidyanathan as the new Chief Secretary in place of P Rama Mohana Rao.”Dr Girija Vaidyanathan IAS, Additional Chief Secretary/ Commissioner of Land Administration, is transferred and posted as Chief Secretary to Government, vice Dr P Ramamohana Rao,” a Public (Special A) Department order dated December 22 said.In perhaps the first case of a top bureaucrat being raided, the house and office of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary was on Wednesday searched by Income Tax officials and recovered Rs 48 lakh cash in new notesThe IT action came in connection with a case related to the biggest cash haul of new notes post demonetization after the department raided some sand mining operators of Tamil Nadu here.The search locations included the residence of Rao, his kin and associates, besides his chamber at the Secretariat.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Rahul’s info on ‘PM’s corruption’ turns out to be old I-T diary notings; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul’s info on ‘PM’s corruption’ turns out to be old I-T diary notingsThe information on Prime Minister Modi’s “personal corruption” which Gandhi finally let out after days of suspense related to the account books of Sahara and Birlas seized by the Income Tax Departments. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told a press conference that Gandhi had brought out nothing new as he had tabled the Income Tax Department’s appraisal reports of both Sahara and Aditya Birla Groups in the Assembly showing the bribes allegedly paid to Modi in 2013 during his tenure as the Gujarat Chief Minister. Read more here.Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary in I-T net, dept recovers Rs 48 lakh in new currency notesThe search of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao’s home unearthed an estimated Rs 18 lakh in cash and gold bars. Investigators have so far recovered Rs 48 lakh in new currency notes and 17 kg gold from the premises of Rao and his relatives. Read more here.China sticks to its stand on JeM chief Masood Azhar despite NIA chargesheetIndia’s move to charge sheet Masood Azhar in the Pathankot terror attack appears to have not made much impact on China as Beijing on Thursday said any move by New Delhi to bring about a UN ban on the JeM chief must be in line with rules and procedures laid down by the Security Council. Read more here.Watch: YouTube star Adam Saleh says kicked of Delta flight for speaking ArabicA Yemeni-American YouTube star from New York, Adam Saleh, called for a boycott of Delta Airlines after charging he was removed from one of its flights on Thursday for speaking Arabic. Read more here.The reason Pakistan lifted ban on Indian filmsAs the Pakistani government has not yet given a green signal to renew the import of new Indian films, Pakistan’s movie theatres have only resumed the screening of old Bollywood films. Indian censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani has an explanation for the lift of the ban. Read here to find out more.

CM Panneerselvam urges Modi to ‘act decisively’ to secure release of Tamil fishermen in Sri Lanka

Chennai: Taking exception to the “alarmingly increasing frequency of apprehension” of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday urged the Centre to “act decisively” and bring back 51 fishermen languishing in the island republic.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he cited the latest instance of the Lankan navy arresting 29 fishermen from Ramanathapuram and Pudukottai districts and said these came just a day after the arrest of seven of their counterparts from Pudukottai.

Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam. PTI

Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam. PTI

“The alarmingly increasing frequency of apprehension of our fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy is a matter of utmost concern for my Government. An immediate intervention at the highest level is sought to resolve this longstanding issue,” he said.

“The recurrent instances of attacks and abduction of our fishermen on the high seas in the Palk Bay should be stopped immediately. Our fishermen should be allowed to pursue their peaceful avocation of fishing in their traditional fishing waters of the Palk Bay,” he said in the letter.

He reiterated Tamil Nadu’s stand that Centre should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line with Sri Lanka as a settled question since the constitutionality of the 1974 Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement ceding Katchatheevu islet had been challenged in the Supreme Court by his predecessor, the late J Jayalalithaa, with the state government later impleading itself in the case.

“This livelihood issue of thousands of our fisherfolk needs your personal intervention. I request the Government of India to act decisively in the light of the sensitive nature of this issue. I also request you to secure the immediate release of 51 fishermen and 114 fishing boats, including the 29 fishermen and their five fishing boats apprehended on 21 December 2016 without any delay,” he said in the letter to Modi.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 22:56 IST

Tamil Nadu: IT sleuths raid chief secretary residence, office; recover Rs 30 lakh, five kg gold

Chennai: In perhaps the first case of a top bureaucrat being raided, the house and office of Tamil Nadu chief secretary was on Wednesday searched by Income Tax officials who claimed to have recovered Rs 30 lakh cash in new notes and five kgs of gold besides getting “disclosure” about Rs five crore of unaccounted income.

With about 35 personnel of CRPF providing security, around 100 Income Tax sleuths, launched the raids as early as 6 am at 15 places, including the office and the residence of Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao, his son Vivek and some relatives in Chennai and Chittoor in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, IT sources said.

A top Income Tax official said Rs 30 lakh in cash in new notes and five kgs of gold were recovered during the raids.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“Disclosure” of Rs 5 crore of unaccounted income allegedly by Vivek was also obtained, he added.

Rao or his son could not be contacted for their comments.

The IT action came in connection with a case related to the biggest cash haul of new notes post demonetisation after the department raided some sand mining operators of Tamil Nadu in Chennai.

“We proceeded (to carry out the raids) on the basis of evidence which includes documents, notings and others pointing to receipt of income by Rao and his son to the tune of about Rs 16 crore to Rs 17 crore,” the Income Tax official said.

The search locations included the residence of Rao here, his kin and associates, besides his chamber at the Secretariat, he said.

The searches, top IT sources said, were launched against Rao’s son Vivek Papisetty and his relatives, including his father-in-law based in Chittoor.

To a query on the type of evidence they had, the official said, “We have lots of evidence, otherwise, how we can conduct searches.”

He referred to the recent seizure of Rs 135 crore in cash and 177 kg of gold from sand mining baron Shekar Reddy and Srinivasulu and said “through that (operation) too we have evidence”, without elaborating.

Reddy and and his associate K Srinivasulu were on Wednesday arrested by CBI and remanded to judicial custody by a Chennai court.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 22:41 IST

DNA Evening Must Reads: Rahul Gandhi’s allegations against PM Modi, Sunny Leone sizzles in ‘Raees’, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul Gandhi claims PM Modi took bribes from Sahara and Birla, BJP laughs off allegationsRahul Gandhi alleged that Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and demanded an independent inquiry into it, a charge BJP rejected as an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland probe in which the names of Congress leaders and the “family” were coming up. Read more hereIncome Tax raids on Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary: BJP rejects Mamata’s criticism, denies any ‘vindictive action’Rebutting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s criticism of the Income Tax raids on Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Ramamamohana Rao, BJP said Wednesday’s raids prove the agency was working without any discrimination and had carried out a “usual procedure.” Read more here After backlash, RBI amends Rs 5000 deposit order, says KYC account holders won’t be asked questionsAfter facing huge backlash, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday amended its order on deposit limit of Rs 5,000 and said that KYC account holders will not be asked questioned. Read more hereWatch: Dramatic video footage of Mexico fireworks market fire that left 31 dead, several injuredA series of massive explosions destroyed a fireworks market outside the Mexican capital on Tuesday, killing at least 31 people, injuring dozens and leaving the market a charred wasteland. Read more hereWatch: Sunny Leone sizzles in ‘Laila Main Laila’ song from Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Raees’The much awaited dance number from ‘Raees’ is finally out and we’re completely digging it. Read more here

Raid at TN Chief Secretary’s residence: ‘Why not Amit Shah?’ asks Mamata, questions ‘vindictive’ & ‘unethical’ action

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday hit out at the government after the Income Tax (I-T) department raided the residence of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao and questioned why they don’t raid Amit Shah and others who were collecting money.The I-T department conducted searches at over a dozen locations in connection with its tax evasion probe against the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary’s son and a few other relatives. The searches that began as early as 6 AM are on at various places in the state and in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.The searches, they said, are related to the department’s probe in the biggest haul of cash and gold here post demonetization, in which over Rs 142 crore in unaccounted assets have been recovered so far.The total seizure is over Rs 170 crore in a single case related to action against sand mining operators in the state and few others including S Reddy, who was also on the panel of a religious shrine body.In a series of tweets, Mamata said, “Earlier the Principal Secretary of @ArvindKejriwal was raided and harassed. Now I read Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu also raided. Why this vindictive, unethical, technically improper action? Is it only to disturb the federal structure?”Stating that corruption needs to be condemned strongly, she added, “Raid on TN Chief Secretary by the Central agencies devalues institution of head of civil service.””The proper procedure should have been to take the State leadership into confidence,” she added.(With agency inputs)

Madras HC’s order declaring Sharia courts illegal is a start; Supreme Court must follow suit

The Madras High Court order of 19 December that declared Sharia courts functioning from mosques across Tamil Nadu as illegal is of far-reaching consequences. The court said, “If a place of worship — whether it be temple, mosque or church — is used for purposes other than prayers, and more specifically to create extra-constitutional forums, certainly the authorities are duty-bound to take action against them.” The order, delivered by a bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sundar, shows a ray of hope for the Indian republic because India has recently seen the birth of parallel courts being run by Islamic groups — many of them funded by Saudi money.

This might also be the first time that the higher judiciary has made it clear that “extra-constitutional forums” like Sharia courts are illegal and unacceptable. The order came on a petition challenging the extra-constitutional role of Chennai-based Makka Masjid Shariat Council, which has been engaged in administering justice in Muslim family disputes. The high court order also clarifies that mosques, churches and temples can only be used as a place of worship — a point with which no religious group should have any disagreement. The order is not specific to Muslims and empowers police and administrative officials in Tamil Nadu to close down any extra-constitutional court whether run by Muslims, Christians or Hindus.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

However, it is not clear if the 19 December order applies only to those Sharia courts that function from mosques, or also to those which operate from madrassas and non-religious places. A large number of Sharia courts — managed by imams (prayer leaders) and Islamic scholars associated with mosques, madrassas and religious organisations — operate from places that are not mosques. Therefore, there will be a need for further legal clarification on this subject. Otherwise, these Sharia courts in Tamil Nadu will simply move away from the mosques to non-religious places in order to skirt the high court order.

In July 2014, the Supreme Court of India had declared that the Sharia courts run by Islamic clerics have no legal basis, and their orders are not binding and can be challenged in a court of law. The Supreme Court order effectively meant that government officials and police officers are free to close down extra-constitutional institutions like Sharia courts. However, the Madras High Court order is clear in that it makes the operation of Sharia courts illegal. But this order applies on to the state of Tamil Nadu. Ultimately, the Supreme Court too will need to deliver such a clear judgment that outlaws parallel courts across the country.

As the world is witnessing the rise of jihadi groups worldwide, India too has seen the emergence of radicalisation among Muslim youths in favour of the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. India is at present surrounded by two countries where jihadi forces are strong: Bangladesh and Pakistan. Within India, a number of new Islamic organisations and NGOs are being formed whose funding comes from Saudi Arabia and other West Asian countries. Between 2011 and 2014, around 25,000 Wahhabi preachers reportedly visited India.To counter jihadism, both courts and government officials in India need to have a clear thinking that the modern Indian State cannot allow a parallel legal system to continue to function in the country.

In this context, it is a matter of concern that a number of Islamic clerics and religious organisations are running Sharia courts across the country. Such courts are known by many names such as Dar-ul-Qaza (House of Justice) and Dar-ul-Ifta (House of Fatwas). They deliver fatwas that are supposed to be juristic opinions but carry more weight than the law. Almost all major religious groups, mosques and madrassas such as Darul Uloom Deoband run such parallel Sharia courts.

Two Islamist organisations engaged in running aparallel Sharia-based legal system are prominent: the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Aandolan (BMMA), both of which run Sharia courts. While the role of AIMPLB in running Sharia courts and promoting an orthodox version of Islam across India is well known, the BMMA has got some legitimacy in the press for the reason that it is opposed to the practice of instant triple talaq. Due to this, BMMA is seen as a legitimate organisation by women’s rights groups but for all practical purposes, it is a Sharia group out to promote the same religious orthodoxies that its male counterparts in the AIMPLB do. The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Aandolan announced last July that it is training 30 women judges in Quranic law.

India is a hugely diverse country that was divided in 1947 in the name of religion, not by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is to the credit of the framers of the Indian Constitution that they did not come under the influence of the communal nature of the Partition, and despite the Muslim-Hindu bloodshed that was raging at the time, delivered an authentic secular Constitution to the people of India. The Madras High Court order reminds us that Indians must not accept parallel courts and religious organisations like the AIMPLB and the BMMA which ultimately sow the seeds of partition from the country’s mainstream.

The author is a former BBC journalist and is presently executive director of the Open Source Institute, New Delhi. He tweets @tufailelif

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 15:55 IST

Chennai: IT officials seize demonetised notes worth Rs 10 crores

Tue, 20 Dec 2016-01:15pm , Chennai , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Tamil Nadu, the Income Tax department has seized 10 crore rupees cash and 6 kg gold jewellery in Chennai as part of its anti-black money crackdown operations.Officials said, the seizure, all in demonetized notes of 1,000 and 500 rupee, was made after searches were conducted against a trader dealing in imitation jewellery located in Periamet area of Chennai.They said that the department sleuths acted based on a tip off about stashing of huge currency in scrapped high value notes. He is now being questioned about the source of the huge cash haul.Earlier this month, the Income Tax department raided eight locations in Chennai including Anna Nagar and T Nagar, seizing Rs 90 crore in cash out of which Rs 70 crore were in new notes.

Seven Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seven Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested by Sri Lankan Naval personnel for allegedly fishing near Neduntheevu in the island nation.The fishermen from Jegadapattinam hamlet in Pudukottai district were detained yesterday and taken to Kangesanthurai Port there, along with their two boats, Pudukottai Fisheries Department Assistant Director, Sekar said today.The Lankan navalmen also allegedly rammed their boat against one of the mechanised boats and sank it leaving five fishermen on board to struggle in the sea till fellow fishermen rescued them, he said.The fishermen had put out to sea in more than 100 boats and were fishing off Neduntheevu when the naval personnel arrived and chased them away, he added.On December 17, fishing nets of 10 mechanised boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen were allegedly snapped by the Lankan Naval personnel, who also chased away nearly 3,000 Rameswaram fishermen off Katchatheevu islet.

Confer Bharat Ratna on Jayalalithaa: Tamil Nadu CM’s request to PM Modi

Mon, 19 Dec 2016-11:35pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to confer “Bharat Ratna” posthumously on J Jayalalithaa.”I have requested the prime minister to recognise services and welfare policies of Amma and confer her Bharat Ratna,” he said after a meeting with Modi. Accompanied by state Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao, advisor Sheela Balakrishnan and Deputy Lok Sabha Speaker M Thambidurai, he also put forth a request for setting up a state-sponsored statue of Jayalalithaa in Parliament complex.”Permission for installation of a life-sized statue of the departed leader on the Parliament premises has also been sought,” Panneerselvam said.At its first meeting on December 10 after Jaya’s death, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet had decided to recommend her name for Bharat Ratna and to propose to the Centre to install her life-size bronze statue in Parliament complex.

A small dot signalled IMD of severe cyclonic storm Vardah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A small dot marked on the screens of weathermen at the IMD signalled to them that a very severe cyclonic storm was building up in the South Andaman Sea, nine days ahead of the landfall of ‘Vardah’ that ravaged coastal Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The dot on the screen signified pressure movement over a particular area, which had the potential of snowballing into a cyclone.Weathermen at the IMD’s Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC) in Delhi, who monitor any slight change in weather patterns around India especially in the cyclone-prone Bay of Bengal, realised on December 3 that a low pressure area was being formed near the South Andaman Sea. The pressure belt had traversed from the South China Sea, flowing over Thailand and Vietnam which had reduced its speed considerably due to its contact with the land.”So, as soon as it reached the South Andman Sea, it again got traction. The warm water in the Indian Ocean and the South Andaman Sea gave it momentum and then started the process of forming a low pressure area. We realised that there was an anti-clockwise pattern, the wind speed around it had increased more than other parts of the sea,” said M Mohapatra, Additional Director General (Services) with the India Meteorological Department, who has been in the business of forecasting cyclones. He was also the head of Cyclone Warning Division during Phailin and Hudhud.September to December is also the time when weathermen at the Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD avoid taking leaves. For them, this is cyclone season.Realising that the low pressure area was developing into something stronger, the officials started gathering more data, pressing into service IMD’s two doppler radars at Chennai and Machilipatnam, coastal automatic weather stations and manned observatories, besides its buoys in the sea.Satellite images from INSAT-3D and Met services of Thailand and Malaysia were also used. With constant hourly updates, the data gathered was then coalesced, a usual practise. After analysis and clearance from senior meteorologists, a small dot was marked to track its path.With every passing day, the low pressure area became more intense. On December 6, it turned into a depression and graduated to deep depression the very next day. Since then there was daily monitoring and alert reports being sent to the Andaman and Nicobar Administration, and state governments of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Puducherry and Kerala.It was declared a cyclonic storm on the morning of December 8 and became a severe cyclonic storm on the midnight of December 9. Vardah was finally declared a very severe cyclonic storm on the evening of December 10.

Chennai: Madras HC bans ‘Sharia’ court in mosque, directs Tamil Nadu govt to ensure implementation

Directing the Tamil Nadu government to curb unauthorised ‘Sharia’ courts, the Madras High Court on Monday, declared all sharia courts working out of mosques as illegal, reported ANI.

The High Court made it clear that religious places are meant to be used only for religious purposes.

The High Court bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sundar also ordered the Tamil Nadu government to file a status report within four weeks, The Times of India reported.

The court passed the order after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Non-Resident Indian (NRI), Abdur Rahman, senior advocate A Sirajudeen told IANS.

The petitioner, an England-based NRI had first sought the intervention of a Shariat Council functioning from the Makkah Masjid in Chennai to reunite him with his wife. However, the Council forced him to divorce his wife following which he decided to approach the High Court.

The litigant’s senior counsel, however, said that the PIL was filed to in larger public interest to safeguard the interests of large number of Muslims who suffered due to the Islamic courts, according to The Times of India. 

The Makkah Masjid is located on Anna Salai, Chennai’s main arterial street.

With inputs from IANS

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 18:23 IST

From low pressure area to very severe cyclonic storm: Here’s how IMD tracked Cyclone Vardah

New Delhi: A small dot marked on the screens of weathermen at the IMD signalled to them that a very severe cyclonic storm was building up in the South Andaman Sea, nine days ahead of the landfall of ‘Vardah’ that ravaged coastal Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The dot on the screen signified pressure movement over a particular area, which had the potential of snowballing into a cyclone. Weathermen at the IMD’s Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC) in New Delhi, who monitor any slight change in weather patterns around India, especially in the cyclone-prone Bay of Bengal, realised on 3 December that a low pressure area was being formed near the South Andaman Sea.

PTI

PTI

The pressure belt had traversed from the South China Sea, flowing over Thailand and Vietnam which had reduced its speed considerably due to its contact with the land. “So, as soon as it reached the South Andman Sea, it again got traction. The warm water in the Indian Ocean and the South Andaman Sea gave it momentum and then started the process of forming a low pressure area. We realised that there was an anti-clockwise pattern, the wind speed around it had increased more than other parts of the sea,” said M Mohapatra, Additional Director General (Services) with the India Meteorological Department, who has been in the business of forecasting cyclones. He was also the head of Cyclone Warning Division during Phailin and Hudhud.

September to December is also the time when weathermen at the Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD avoid taking leaves. For them, this is cyclone season. Realising that the low pressure area was developing into something stronger, the officials started gathering more data, pressing into service IMD’s two doppler radars at Chennai and Machilipatnam, coastal automatic weather stations and manned observatories, besides its buoys in the sea.

Satellite images from INSAT-3D and Met services of Thailand and Malaysia were also used. With constant hourly updates, the data gathered was then coalesced, a usual practise. After analysis and clearance from senior meteorologists, a small dot was marked to track its path.

With every passing day, the low pressure area became more intense. On 6 December, it turned into a depression and graduated to deep depression the very next day.

Since then there was daily monitoring and alert reports being sent to the Andaman and Nicobar Administration, and state governments of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Puducherry and Kerala.

It was declared a cyclonic storm on the morning of 8 December and became a severe cyclonic storm on the midnight of December 9. Vardah was finally declared a very severe cyclonic storm on the evening of 10 December.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 17:52 IST

597 people have died of grief post Amma’s demise, AIADMK offers Rs 3 lakh compensation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Monday announced that a total of 597 people have died so far of grief and shock post the demise of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa and added that Rs 3 lakh would be paid to their families.”Total 597 people died, unable to bear death of Puratchi Thalaivi Amma. Rs 3 lakh aid will be given to each families,” the AIADMK tweeted.On December 11, the party had announced the same amount of compensation for the 470 people who had died. Since then the death toll has risen by more than 100. Earlier, the party had also announced Rs 50,000 for a party functionary who allegedly attempted self-immolation and a similar amount to another person who cut his finger off following Jayalalithaas’s demise on December 5.Even before the news of Jayalalithaa’s demise, a 65-year-old painter in Singanallur (Tamil Nadu) complained of chest pain while watching news on Jayalalithaa’s health in his house. He passed away before he could reach hospital.Similarly, in another incident, Palaniammal (62) of Thudiyalur, died of shock after watching the TV news in her house on December 5. Similarly, a 38-year-old load worker, Raja, collapsed on the chair while watching the news in Erode. Though his wife called for assistance, the 108 crew of emergency service declared him dead on arrival.Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5 after suffering a cardiac arrest and was buried with full state honours near the MGR Memorial in Chennai on December 6.The party also conveyed its condolences to the family members of the dead.

Indian writer held for ‘insulting’ national anthem

A writer in India is charged with sedition for allegedly showing disrespect to the national anthem.

Tamil Nadu: Jayalalithaa Peravai urges ‘Chinnamma’ Sasikala to become CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jayalalithaa Peravai, a wing of the ruling AIADMK, on Sunday urged VK Sasikala, aide of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, to take over the mantle of party General Secretary, contest in bypoll and become Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister. A resolution in this regard was adopted at a meeting of the Peravai held at the burial site of Jayalalithaa at the Marina Beach in Chennai.Later, it was handed over to Sasikala by the Peravai’s Secretary RB Udhayakumar, who is also the Tamil Nadu Revenue Minister, at the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa where Sasikala continues to live.At a time when the party leaders including Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai have been urging Sasikala to lead the party, the Peravai’s resolution impressing upon Jayalalithaa’s confidante to take over as Chief Minister assumes significance. Homage was paid to Jayalalithaa at the site before the meeting began, which was attended by 50 Peravai district (party-districts) Secretaries and AIADMK presidium chairman E Madhusudanan.
ALSO READ Wrong to nominate ‘Chinnamma’ as AIADMK gen secy, she tried to kill Jayalalithaa: Sasikala PushpaAmong the participants were State Ministers, Kadambur Raju (Information Technology) and Sevoor S Ramachandran (Hindu Religious and Endowments Department) who also happen to be among the district Peravai secretaries of the AIADMK. “Besides guarding the AIADMK, Chinnamma (as Sasikala is referred to by party workers) should fight the RK Nagar bypoll (now vacant due to the death of Jayalalithaa) and assume responsibility as Chief Minister, and lead the Amma’s government,” Udhayakumar told reporters.The resolution adopted at the Peravai meeting condoled Jayalalithaa’s death, hailed her contribution and work for the people. It also hailed Sasikala as the party’s only “trust and confidence” in the wake of void created by the death of Amma. Meanwhile, State Ministers, AIADMK functionaries and the general public continued to throng the burial site of Jayalalithaa to pay their homage. Food packets were distributed by the AIADMK at the burial site to visitors. A “music homage” was paid to Jayalalithaa by veena exponent of the traditional Carnatic music E Gayathri, who is also the vice chancellor of Tamil Nadu Music and Fine Arts University at Marina beach burial site of the late Chief Minister.

Tamil Nadu CM to meet PM Modi; Jaya’s Bharat Ratna, Cyclone Vardah on agenda

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday in the national capital and relay the details of the damages caused by the Cyclone Vardah in the state.”The Chief Minister will also handover a letter to bestow late chief minister J Jayalalithaa with the Bharat Ratna and to unveil bronze statue in the Parliament campus,” an official statement said.Tamil Nadu Cabinet earlier on December 10 decided to recommend late AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa for India’s highest civilian honour, the ‘Bharat Ratna’.In its first meeting chaired by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam after Jayalalithaa’s demise, the Cabinet also decided to recommend to the Centre installation of her life-size bronze statue in Parliament complex.Cyclone Vardah hit several parts of Tamil Nadu earlier on December 12. The storm uprooted trees, overturned cars and did extensive damage to buildings as it tore across Chennai. According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) at least 10 people have died.Prior to the storm’s landing, Chennai already was pounded with heavy rain and winds.

Cyclone Vardah: TNCC Chief mocks at BJP for not aiding post storm clean-up

Residents looking at uprooted trees in an area in Chennai. PTIResidents looking at uprooted trees in an area in Chennai. PTI

Residents looking at uprooted trees in an area in Chennai. PTI

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president Su Thirunavukkarasar  on Sunday charged the BJP leaders with not doing anything for the post cyclone clean-up efforts in the State, though the saffron party leaders posed for pictures espousing the Swachh Bharat campaign.

“They (BJP leaders) posed for pictures hailing the Swachh Bharat mission and they claimed to clean-up and now they did nothing for the post cyclone clean-up efforts,” he told reporters here at the airport. Thirunavukkarasar said the BJP leaders used the clean-up drive only for propaganda and photo opportunities and when a need arose for such efforts they did not deliver.

The remark of the state unit Congress chief comes against the background of hundreds of trees being cleared by civic workers, from the city roads. Cyclone ‘Vardah’ uprooted several trees, which fell everywhere blocking traffic in many locations in Chennai and neighbouring districts of Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram.

Condemning the fuel price hike, the TNCC Chief said, “The Centre did not lower the price when the crude prices were falling and now they have hiked the rate by passing the buck on the climbing crude prices.”

It did not bother about the impact of fuel price hike on the people, he said. He also urged the Centre to sanction Rs 5000 crore for Tamil Nadu towards cyclone relief and rehabilitation efforts.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 16:13 IST

Cyclone Vardah relief: Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam to meet PM Modi

File image of O Panneerselvam. PTIFile image of O Panneerselvam. PTI

File image of O Panneerselvam. PTI

Chennai: Days after he urged the Centre to grant Rs 1000 Crore for cyclone relief operations in the state, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to press the demand.

He will also urge the Centre to posthumously confer “Bharat Ratna” on former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and also put up her life size bronze statue in Parliament complex, an official release said.

The first Cabinet meeting chaired by Panneerselvam on 10 December had adopted a resolution in which the twin matters of the highest civilian award and a statue for Jayalalithaa figured.

On 13 December, a day after the cyclone wrecked havoc in the state, Panneerselvam had urged Modi in a letter to sanction Rs 1,000 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund to the state for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Panneerselvam will also give a memorandum on several other demands of Tamil Nadu to the Prime Minister, the release said adding he will return to Chennai the same day. After he took over as Chief Minister on 6 December, it will be the first visit of Panneerselvam to the PM in Delhi and he is expected to follow up on the previous memorandums submitted to Modi by his predecessor Jayalalithaa.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 15:41 IST

Tamil Nadu fishermen chased away by Sri Lankan navy, fishing nets snapped

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fishing nets of 10 mechanised boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen were allegedly snapped by Sri Lankan naval personnel who also chased away nearly 3,000 fishers off Katchatheevu islet.The Lankan naval personnel cut the nets and chased away the fishermen on charges of entering their territorial waters yesterday, Rameswaram Fishermen’s Association president P Sesuraja said.The fishermen who had ventured into the sea from this island town in more than 600 boats were intercepted by the naval men, who also threatened to shoot them, he added.The fishermen returned to the shore this morning, he said.Sesuraja urged the Centre to act on Sri Lankan navy’s “atrocities” against Tamil Nadu fishermen.On December 15, more than 2,500 fishermen from here were forced to return without their catch after lankan navy personnel allegedly snapped the fishing nets of 50 mechanised boats off Katchatheevu.

BMC tells Bombay HC could not meet due to Jayalalithaa’s death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bombay High Court on Thursday expressed surprise over civic body BMC’s contention that its general body could not meet on December 8 to grant approval for setting up of a doppler radar system due to AIADMK leader Jayalalithas demise and asked if corporators went to Tamil Nadu to mourn.The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) general body was to meet on December 8 to discuss a proposal for sanctioning of a site in suburban Goregaon to set up a doppler radar system.BMC counsel SU Kamdar on Thursday informed a division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak that the body, comprising corporators, could not meet due to the death of Jayalalithaa and Mumbai’s former Mayor Ramesh Prabhu. The bench expressed surprise at this and asked if the corporators had gone to Tamil Nadu to mourn after Jayalalithaa’s demise on the night of December 5.Kamdar told the court that the general body would now meet on Friday.The bench was hearing a public interest litigation by advocate Atal Bihari Dubey on the heavy rains that brought Mumbai to a halt in June this year. While there is one doppler radar system in Colaba weather station, a state government-appointed committee had recommended for setting up another system in suburban Mumbai.The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had identified three sites for construction of the system, but the civic body had not granted its approval to hand over the land. The high court had in the past come down heavily on the corporation for dragging its feet in the matter and directed the civic body to ensure that all efforts are taken to grant approval for the site.The bench has posted the petition for further hearing on December 20.

Centre’s nod for 100 Tamil Nadu fishermen to attend church ceremony

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre has given its nod for participation of 100 fishermen pilgrims from Tamil Nadu in the December 23 consecration ceremony of St Antony’s Church at Katchatheevu.The ceremony, scheduled earlier for December 7, was postponed by Sri Lankan government to December 23 following the demise of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.As the Centre has granted permission to 100 fishermen from the state to attend the ceremony, the Tamil Nadu government said it would make adequate arrangements for the pilgrims.Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had on December eight asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the External Affairs Ministry to facilitate the participation of all fishermen devotees from the state intending to participate in the consecration ceremony of the church at Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to Sri Lanka in the 1970s.In the letter, he had urged Modi to instruct Ministry of External Affairs to accord political clearance for the visit of pilgrims to the church without any cap on the number of visitors.He also recalled that Chief Secretary P Ramamohana Rao had also written to Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar seeking political clearance for upto 100 pilgrims from Rameswaram but the MEA had allowed only 20.Political clearance accorded for the participation of only 20 persons will disappoint the ardent devotees, he had stated.He had recalled that his predecessor, the late J Jayalalithaa, had earlier written to him that the construction of the church should be jointly taken up by the Indian and Sri Lankan sides in view of the joint heritage of fishermen from both sides.The state’s fishermen were “very keen” on protecting their traditional and customary access to this “important place of worship,” he had said.Though he had stated that no restrictions should be placed on the number of participants, the Centre gave its permission for 100 fishermen to attend the ceremony, official sources said.

Calcutta, Madras, Bombay High Courts to retain their names in the near future

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The names of iconic high courts of Madras, Calcutta and Bombay may not be changed in the near future as a bill moved in this regard has run into trouble and the revised one has to be introduced in Parliament. The High Court (Alteration of Names) Bill, 2016, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 19 to allow the names of the Calcutta, Madras and Bombay High Courts to be changed to Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai respectively.But, now the Tamil Nadu government has asked the Centre to rename the Madras High Court as ‘High Court of Tamil Nadu’ instead of ‘High Court of Chennai’ as proposed in the bill. While the West Bengal government wants the Calcutta High Court to be renamed as Kolkata High Court, the high court itself “not agreed for revised nomenclature.” Minister of State for Law PP Chaudhary said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the old bill will have to revised and a new bill will have to be introduced.”The central government has sought views from the concerned state governments and the respective high courts for finalising fresh bill. No time frame can be fixed for finalising of the fresh bill and its introduction in Parliament,” he said.The Calcutta High Court has the distinction of being the first high court and one of the three chartered high courts to be set up in India, along with the high courts of Bombay, Madras. It was formally opened on July 1, 1862. ‘Indian High Court Act’ of 1861 vested in the Queen of England to issue letters patent to establish high courts of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.The Bombay High Court was inaugurated on August 14, 1862. The high court today has three benches at Nagpur, Aurangabad and Goa. Bombay HC is one of a few institutions in Maharashtra that continue to carry the old name of the city. The state government renamed Bombay as Mumbai in 1995 and all institutions under it altered names accordingly.The Madras High Court, which came into being around the same time, has one bench in Madurai.

Bill to amend SC/ST list introduced in Lok Sabha

Wed, 14 Dec 2016-02:50pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A bill seeking to transfer certain communities from the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) to Scheduled Tribes (ST) and include new communities in the ST list was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to transfer ‘Bhogta’ community of Jharkhand from the list of SCs to the STs list.The Bill, introduced by Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram amid din over the note ban issue, also seeks to include certain more communities in the list of STs relating to Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.The government keeps amending the lists originally notified in 1950 based on requests made by various state governments.

Cyclone Vardah: Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam asks for Rs 1,000 crore for relief from Centre

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sanction Rs 1,000 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund to the state for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction in the wake of the havoc wrought by cyclone Vardah.

In a letter to Modi, he also requested that a team be deputed to study the damage caused by the cyclone in Chennai and neighbouring districts of Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur.

“I request you to urgently sanction the release of an ‘on account’ payment of Rs 1,000 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund to the Government of Tamil Nadu to enable immediate relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction measures to proceed expeditiously,” he said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

This request was being made as relief, rehabilitation and immediate reconstruction measures had to be undertaken by the government along with urban and rural local bodies in the area affected by the cyclone, which was beyond the funds available in the State Disaster Response Fund, he said.

He said the state government had swung into action and taken precautionary measures on receipt of information from the Meteorological department about cyclone Vardah, which had caused extensive damage to state infrastructure and property.

High level teams, comprising Ministers and senior IAS officers were deputed to the badly hit Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts to monitor relief operations.

Several teams of officials of various departments, including revenue, Police, Fire and Rescue services, PWD, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd, water supply and other local bodies were deployed to take up necessary interventions, he said.

Besides the services of National Disaster Response Force, Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard were “requisitioned”, he said and thanked Modi for prompt response in dispatching the Central forces.

Stating that 16 people had died in rain related incidents linked to the cyclone, he said more than 15,000 people in low lying areas were evacuated to 104 relief camps and provided food, water and medical services.

Giving details of the damage, he said Vardah had uprooted more than 12,000 trees, damaged more than 10,000 electric poles and 800 transformers in the city and Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur districts, as also transmission lines, substations and distribution lines, badly affecting power supply.

The immediate priority was to restore power supply to affected areas, Panneerselvam said.

He said Government has taken up a detailed exercise to assess the damage and requirement of funds for relief works.

“State government will present a detailed memorandum (to the Centre) on the extensive damage suffered due to cyclone Vardah in next few days”, he said.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 10:17 IST

Cyclone Vardah: 18 people killed in Tamil Nadu, telephone services crippled

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eighteen people were killed in six districts of Tamil Nadu in rain-related incidents linked to Cyclone Vardah that crossed the coast, as Chief Minister O Panneerselvam held a meeting of top officials on Tuesday to speed up work to ensure return of normalcy in storm-hit regions.The government said it is taking all steps to ensure that the jammed mobile phone networks are restored and a meeting of telecom operators and officials was held.”A total of 18 persons were killed in rain-related incidents linked to Cyclone Vardah,” a top Tamil Nadu government official monitoring the situation told PTI.He said five each were killed in Chennai and Tiruvallur districts. Four persons died in Kancheepuram district, one each in Villupuram and Nagapattinam districts and two in Tiruvannamali district, the officials added. All these deaths were in the revenue districts.He said as expected districts like Tiruvannamalai, Vellore and the Western belt of Dharmapuri too witnessed heavy rains that began with the commencement of the cyclone Vardah’s landfall.”Chief Minister Panneerselvam held a meeting of top officials today. Our priority is to restore power supply which has been hit due to fallen trees, clear clogged roads which have fallen trees,” the official said.He said traffic has already been cleared in all arterial roads in all of the affected districts and efforts were now on to clear the roads and restore power in other neighbourhoods.”TANGEDO (State-run power undertaking) itself has deployed about 4,000 personnel to ensure quick restoration of power supply,” he said.Personnel from multiple government departments including Revenue, Police, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and other state agencies from Ariyalur, Perambalur, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Salem and Thanjavur districts were being deployed to handle the situation in the cyclone-hit regions, he said.On the number of people now housed in relief centres, he said more than 13,000 people are being sheltered in over 100 centres. All vulnerable areas were identified in advance and teams of officials are on the job, he said.To a question on clogged mobile phone networks, he said a meeting of telecom officials and operators was being held to address the situation and ensure expeditious return of normalcy. Authorities provided food to stranded passengers in many locations and even buses were arranged for the passengers to ferry them to nearby destinations, including Chennai.Nearly 100 buses were arranged at different stations to facilitate stranded passengers from destinations such as Sholingur and others on the Chennai Egmore-Chengelpet routes to reach Chennai, Southern Railway said.Trains on suburban MMC-Gummidipoondy and Egmore-Tambaram sections started running, but only ‘skeletal’ services were being operated, they added.Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Agency (SDMA) said power supply was being restored based on transmission and distribution network clearance in the affected districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallore.”Electricity Update!! More than 3,000 personnel are working for restoring power. It takes time. It will be restored ASAP,” SDMA said in a tweet.Manpower from other districts with power saws and NDRF teams were also deployed to clear uprooted trees, it said in a series of tweets.In another notification, it said, “power supply was partly restored in Mambalam, Kodambakkam, KK Nagar, High Court, Ambattur, Anna Nagar, Mambakkam, Royapettah” in Chennai.Meanwhile, the Coast Guard Eastern region said it has taken up extensive search and rescue operations following cyclone ‘Vardah’ having made landfall near Chennai on Monday.In an official release, the Coast Guard said it launched extensive search and rescue operation to assist stranded fishing boats on the Bay of Bengal.”Coast Guard is maintaining close liaison with the state Fisheries Department at Chennai and Andhra Pradesh and also at various ports and harbours,” it said.Coast Guard’s Chetak helicopters and Dornier aircrafts were pressed into search and rescue operations along the coast of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and South Andhra Pradesh.A Coast Guard team is closely associated with the disaster management group to provide all required assistance for providing rescue and relief, it added.Telecommunication network services were hit the most by cyclone Vardah that barrelled through the city yesterday, leaving many people without any means to contact their near and dear ones.Mobile services, including of Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, were affected in the city and its neighbouring districts, bringing back memories of the deluge last year.BSNL landlines were operating at some places but its network services were disrupted.Several people took to Twitter expressing anguish over the disruption of services.Telecommunication companies could not be contacted for a comment. However, the state government has asked them to restore their “full network” at the earliest.”All telecom companies are told to restore their full network as quickly as possible and its being monitored,” State Disaster Management Agency said in a tweet.

Cyclone Vardah creates havoc in Tamil Nadu, thousands displaced from their homes

Cyclone ‘Vardah’ hit the Tamil Nadu capital on 12 December, 2016. It was the most severe in two decades, that claimed at least 10 lives, flattened homes to the ground, disabled communication lines and brought the transport system to a halt on Monday, as it crossed Chennai’s coast with heavy rain and storm.

Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts were struck with heavy rain. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was on the move to control the havoc. Thousands of people were evacuated.

Chennaities woke up to uprooted trees, big broken branches blocking the roads, fallen name boards, hoardings, damaged compound walls and vehicles under fallen trees, power cut and lack of milk supplies on Tuesday, a day after severe cyclone Vardah ripped through the city.Chennai’s green cover faced a considerable loss as thousands of trees were uprooted by the cyclone.

Cyclone Vardah crossed the Chennai coast and ripped through the city killing three and leaving a trail of destruction in the form of 4,000 uprooted trees, damaged roof sheets and more. Photo credits: twitter.com/@dailyonion

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam in a statement said three persons were killed and around 4,000 trees were uprooted in the city.Chennai has recorded second highest rainfall in the last ten years. Vardah has vacated the region and is presently seen over Interior Tamil Nadu, north of Dharmapuri. It will continue to move in west-southwest directions towards South Interior Karnataka, according to Sky Met Weather.

Panagal park in Chennai was brought to ruins as Cyclone Vardha crossed the coastPanagal park in Chennai was brought to ruins as Cyclone Vardha crossed the coast

Panagal park in Chennai was brought to ruins as Cyclone Vardha crossed the coast. Photo credits: Twitter/@poeticgooner

The cyclonic storm Vardah made landfall near Chennai resulting in heavy rainfall which left the city drenched. But most people, aware of the nature’s fury, remained indoors, leaving the roads across the city virtually deserted.

Advertisement hoardings and name boards of offices and shops were damaged and glass panes on windows and buildings shattered due to the strong wind. Photo Credits: Twitter/@dailyonion

The windows of Hotel Hyatt were ripped apart by the powerful winds of Cyclone Vardha. Heavy winds tore the panels apart leaving the building looking like an underconstruction concrete tower.

Cyclone Vardah tears off pieces of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Chennai. Photo Credits: Twitter/@dailyonion

Gusty winds and heavy rains transform the residential localities into islands and mobile phone signals were affected severely due to the cyclone.

Anna-nagarAnna-nagar

The heavy rainfall brought by the cyclone transformed residential areas into Islands, making it difficult for the people to step out. Photo credits: Twitter/@JAnbazhagan

Not only uprooting of trees, the winds brought down overhead cables and electricity poles. Some trees fell collapsed on parked vehicles, damaging them.

The Chennai Airport was non-operational and no flight on Monday landed or took off from Chennai Airport as airmen were issued a notice of the severe cyclonic storm.

“As the wind speed is around 50 knots, it is not conducive to operate the flights,” Chennai Airport Director Deepak Shastri told IANS.

A total of 25 Chennai bound flights were diverted, nine got delayed and five were cancelled. The incoming flights were diverted to Bengaluru or Coimbatore.

Passengers who reached Chennai by trains just before the cyclone hit faced huge problems reaching their destinations due to the fewer number of buses and autorickshaws on the roads.

The Chennai Airport was non-operational and no flight on Monday landed or took off from Chennai Airport as airmen were issued a notice of the severe cyclonic storm. Photo Credits :twitter/@ChennaiCityNow

Amidst the destruction caused by the cyclonic storm, the Chennai toll gate collapsed.

Cyclone Vardah leaves behind a trail of destruction in Chennai, destroys Toll Gate. Photo Credits: twitter/@dailyonion

Volunteers and residents came together and reached out to the stranded.

Volunteers and citizens came out to reach out to the public and help them. Photo Credits: Twitter/@JAnbazhagan

The Indian Army troops were deployed for releif and rescue operations.The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had kept ready eight flood rescue teams comprising more than 250 members. Equipped with 23 inflatable rubber boats and communication equipment, these had been pre-positioned in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh. Eleven flood rescue teams comprising 428 rescuers, equipped with 48 inflatable rubber boats and communication equipment have been pre-positioned in low-lying parts of Tamil Nadu. The Tamil Nadu government said over 7,350 people were shifted to 54 relief camps set up in Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur and Villupuram districts.

Indian-army-troop-2Indian-army-troop-2

The Indian Army troops were deployed to help in rescue and relief operations. Photo Credits: Twitter/@dailyonion

The Indian Army troops and Chennai Police were on the move to monitor the situation. Photo Credits: Twitter/@dailyonion

As Cyclone pounded Tamil Nadu, Banaglore recieved thunder, lightning and rains on Monday.Meteorologists predict more rain on Tuesday and Wednesday.The Tamil Nadu government declared a holiday for all government, government-aided private schools, colleges and other educational institutions in the affected areas. All educational institutions in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur districts will remained closed on Tuesday.It has told the private sector to allow their workers to avail a holiday or work from home.Meanwhile shops and hotels opened their shutters in the morning as usual. Some hotels refused to accept debit/credit cards for payment saying the point-of-sale terminals were not working.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 14:32 IST

Cyclone Vardah: O Panneerselvam survives the storm with the right political optics

In his first week as third time chief minister, O Panneerselvam has impressed. It helped that expectations from him were very low. For a government known for its opacity, the fact that the AIADMK dispensation found a voice and communicated effectively in the run-up to Cyclone Vardah and through it, was commendable. All forms of social media were extensively used to ensure the messaging reached far and wide.

Once it was clear that the cyclone was headed towards north of Chennai and not between Kakinada and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh as it was initially predicted, work on warning people began 24 hours before 12 December. The first advisory asked people to stay indoors. Experience in other cities like Hyderabad during the 2016 floods and Visakhapatnam during the 2014 ‘Cyclone Hudhud’ has shown human misery can be minimised to a great extent by ensuring citizens did not venture outdoors. It was also ensured that those living in the low-lying areas were moved to safer locations and vigil posted on the Marina to keep an eye on any fishermen who tried to venture into the sea.

Area-wise groups were created on Whatsapp by the Chennai police, the city corporation and even some MLAs to disseminate information on real time basis. The Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority used its Twitter handle to keep a two-way communication going, informing people about the movement of Cyclone Vardah and asking people to send information about blockades and uprooting of trees in their areas. Electricity minister Thangamani was giving updates on when power will be restored in Chennai. Amma Canteens were kept open to serve food, free of cost.

File image of O Panneerselvam. PTIFile image of O Panneerselvam. PTI

File image of O Panneerselvam. PTI

The Tamil Nadu Public Relations department also was putting out information about what its ministers and bureaucrats were doing to tackle the devastation caused by the cyclone. Photographs of Panneerselvam at review meetings and distributing relief material were shared. As did the AIADMK twitter handle, which focused on reaching out to people in distress rather than scoring political brownie points.

Disaster management expert WG Prasanna Kumar says the government’s response was effective. “Northeast monsoon increasingly throws these challenges. Regular preparatory drill is a must. Chennai, in the long run, needs effective community-based disaster risk reduction management system where local communities along with local bodies should be able to alert and support each other,” says Prasanna Kumar.

Contrast this with December last year, when Jayalalithaa was at the helm of affairs. Barring the Chennai municipal commissioner who was drafted to be the face of the government and defend it, the political administration was clueless and completely absent. AIADMK spokespersons tried every trick in the book to ensure the buck did not stop with Poes Garden, even suggesting that it was because of Amma that Chennai was not devastated.

The distribution of relief material was largely a private affair, with several citizens including film stars, pitching in as volunteers. But overenthusiastic AIADMK cadre stopped several vehicles carrying relief material and allegedly pasted photographs of Jayalalithaa on the packets containing food, water, medicines, blankets and so on. That left a bad taste in the mouth.

AIADMK paid the price for this crass behaviour. In several localities of Chennai, the anger against the AIADMK representatives was so much they many were booed away after they made an appearance after the waters had receded. The people of Chennai showed their anger on the EVM in May this year, when 10 of the 16 AIADMK candidates in the Chennai constituencies lost.

But it is not as if the response to Cyclone Vardah was perfect. The AIADMK leadership was still in mourning after former chief minister Jayalalithaa’s demise on 5 December. And till Saturday, it was obsessed more with requesting Sasikala to take over the reins of the party as the next general secretary.

Chennai-based social activist Chandramohan points out that the city would not have lost more than 500 trees if the Corporation had planned for a stormy and wet December. “Common sense would suggest that when a cyclone approaches with over 100 kilometres per hour speed, the best way to deal with it is by trimming as many trees as you can so they do not get uprooted in the manner so many have in Chennai,” says Chandramohan.

Given that the cyclones frequently ravage the Andhra and Tamil Nadu coast, Vishakhapatnam and its experience with Cyclone Hudhud should be a template. A centralised control room that branches out to disseminate information to people, media and other agencies is critical to keep losses to the minimum. It will take several years for Chennai to replace the kind of green cover it has lost to Cyclone Vardah. Fortunately, human loss was kept low, unlike last December, when over 500 people were killed.

The sight of Chennai airport going under water each time the city faces rain fury is terrible advertisement for a metropolis. It urgently needs to ensure against flooding of the runway so that unless visibility is very low, the airport can still be operational. Last December saw Chennai airport cut off for close to a week, this year, the closure will be for a shorter period.

Chennai on Tuesday morning is picking up the pieces. It is a city ravaged with streets lined with uprooted trees, smashed cars, broken windowpanes and blown away hoardings. Life will return to normal soon but hopefully it has learnt its lessons and will better its response the next time a system in the Indian Ocean decides to test it.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 12:31 IST

DNA Morning Must Reads: At least 10 dead in Cyclone Vardah in TN; ISI new chief’s agenda against India; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Cyclone Vardah: Death toll rises to 10 in Tamil Nadu, more than 10,000 people rescued, schools to remain shutCyclone helpline numbers in TN are – 044-25619206, 25619511, 25384965, 25383694. WhatsApp number – 9445477207, 9445477203. Read more.2. ISI’s new chief has an agenda: scuttle India-Afghanistan tiesIn his thesis, ‘Afghanistan — Alternative futures and their implications’ he speaks of taking ‘aggressive measures’ to undermine India and prevent Afghanistan from becoming its proxy. Read more.3. India’s landmark forest rights law hobbled by conflicting policies: ReportThe report released by a citizens’ advocacy group said that only 3% of potential community forest rights have been granted so far, and conflicts between states and indigenous communities have been rising. Read more.4. Russian woman who sacrificed freedom for faith gets ‘moksha’Faith transcended all boundaries for Zoia when she embarked on the spiritual journey from St Petersburg to the Amarnath cave in August last year. Read more.5. India v/s England: Champions all the wayIndia trounce England by an innings and 36 runs to clinch series; Skipper Kohli rates this rubber triumph best as it has come on true pitches. Read more.

Cyclone Vardah: At least three killed, more than 10,000 rescued from cyclone-hit Tamil Nadu

Cyclone Vardah crossed the Chennai coast and ripped through the city killing three and leaving a trail of destruction in the form of 4,000 uprooted trees, damaged roof sheets and more.

More than 10,000 people were rescued and sheltered by the National Disaster Response Force in nearly 300 relief camps after cyclonic storm, the most intense to have hit the Tamil Nadu capital in two decades made a landfall.

The cyclone flattened homes, snapped communication lines and threw into disarray rail, road and air traffic as it crossed the coast near the Tamil Nadu capital, pounding Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram with heavy rain and squall.

A locality in Chennai after Vardah made landfall. Firstpost/Jency SamuelA locality in Chennai after Vardah made landfall. Firstpost/Jency Samuel

A locality in Chennai after Vardah made landfall. Firstpost/Jency Samuel

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam in a statement said three persons were killed and around 4,000 trees were uprooted in the city.

He announced a solatium of Rs 4,00,000 to the families of the dead.

“The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board has deployed 4,000 personnel to set right power lines damaged due to high speed winds that blew at a speed of 130 kmph when the cyclone Vardah crossed coast near Chennai Port,” Panneerselvam said.

While all efforts would be taken to restore power supply at the earliest, it will take couple of days for that to happen in some places in North Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts, Panneerselvam said.

Advertisement hoardings and name boards of offices and shops were damaged and glass panes on windows and buildings shattered due to the strong wind. Water-logging was reported from in several roads, and sewage overflows in many areas.

The National Disaster Management Authority said that a total of 10,432 people were rescued by 19 NDRF teams in different parts of Tamil Nadu as the severe cyclone hit the state.

As many as 296 relief camps were set up of which 97 have become operational, the NDMA said in a statement.

Altogether 11,857 food packets were also distributed by the NDRF. As many as 297 roads were blocked in Tamil Nadu after the cyclone’s landfall of which 89 were cleared so far.

30 electric Transformers were also damaged. The NDMA said the cyclone will slow down by midnight and weaken by Tuesday.

However, it asked people in cyclone-hit areas to remain indoors and not to venture out besides remaining calm. Cyclone helpline numbers are — 044-25619206, 25619511, 25384965, 25383694. WhatsApp number — 9445477207, 9445477203.

One NDRF team comprises of 35 personnel.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 07:53 IST

Accident deaths: Tamil Nadu roads get dubious repute

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With as many as 717 fatalities in 11 ‘black spots’ or accident-prone stretches from 2011-14, Tamil Nadu accounts for the maximum number of road accident fatalities on national highways, with Meghalaya in the second position and Uttar Pradesh third.While Tamil Nadu is the country’s most unsafe state in this category, Meghalaya reported 222 deaths in just three black spots and UP 146 fatalities across five black spots, reveals data from the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways. However, the maximum fatalities seen in a single black spot remains the Nonthymmai area in the east Khasi Hills at NH 44 of Meghalaya, with 89 fatalities.Data on black spots for 2015 is still being compiled, an official said. Inputs had to be invited twice over after some discrepancies in data sent by the states was spotted the first time, he explained.According to the data, accessed by DNA, five of Tamil Nadu’s black spots were in Kancheepuram and they led to 305 fatalities in the four years from 2011-14. Villupuram district, with 30 fatalities across four such accident-prone stretches, was number two.The three states — Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh – account for the top 20 black spots of the 789 identified in terms of fatalities. Tamil Nadu has 102 identified black spots, while Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh have reported eight and 104 black spots, respectively.Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, with 86 black spots, are actively working to make their highways safer by putting adequate signages and improving road design in the risk-prone stretches. Other states, in comparison, are lagging behind, an official said.”Despite repeated reminders, only 50 per cent states have set up a dedicated road safety engineering cell,” he said. Only 19 states have submitted their road safety action plan, a draft of which was sent to the states in 2013 by the government.While some of these black spots come under the jurisdiction of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), some are also on state roads that fall under state governments. A fund of Rs 600 crore has been earmarked for road safety engineering works by the government; of this, Rs 12 crore has been sanctioned for the rectification of six black spots.India has the highest number of road fatalities in the world with road accidents claiming more than 1.4 lakh lives every year, according to government reports. The ministry hopes to reduce the number of road- accident deaths by half in the next four year, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said at a road safety engineering workshop here recently.Status updateOf 789 black spots, 100 have already been improved and 214 come under ongoing road-widening projects. Survey investigations are on or proposals are under consideration in the case of another 125, sources said.

Cyclone Vardah: Home Minister Rajnath Singh assures Tamil Nadu of all help

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday assured the Tamil Nadu government of extending all help to the state in the wake of cyclone ‘Vardah’.”Singh called up Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and enquired about the situation in the aftermath of cyclone Vardah crossing the districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur,” a government statement said.”The Union Home Minister assured the Chief Minister that the Centre would extend all help required by the State Government in this regard,” it added.Panneerselvam told Singh that the state’s administrative machinery is kept in readiness in all respects to face the cyclone, even as senior IAS Officers have been posted in the affected districts to oversee rescue and relief operations, it said.He also informed the Home Minister that NDRF and SDRF teams have been deployed and that the armed forces, besides the Coast Guard, have been kept on alert.The State machinery has been pressed effectively for rescue and relief work undertaken on a war footing, Panneerselvam was quoted as telling the Home Minister.Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu government said a total of three persons have lost their lives in the cyclone “Vardah” related incidents in the state and announced a solatium of Rs four lakh each to the next of the kin of their families.”Three persons have lost their lives in the Cyclone Vardah related incidents”, Chief Minister O Pannerselvam said in a statement here.Expressing deep condolences to the bereaved family members, the Chief Minister said “a sum of Rs four lakh each will be given from the State Disaster Relief Fund”.

Cyclone Vardah as it happened: Four killed in Tamil Nadu, two fishermen go missing off Kakinada coast

Cyclone Vardah as it happened: Four killed in Tamil Nadu, two fishermen go missing off Kakinada coast

By Updated: Dec 12, 2016 21:36 IST

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New Delhi: Cyclonic storm Vardah, which was earlier expected to weaken considerably, may not see its intensity going down when it makes landfall near Chennai on Monday. According to the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department, (IMD), Vardah, which is currently, a very severe cyclonic storm, will weaken, but only to a severe cyclonic storm.

Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The earlier forecast made by the IMD was that it would weaken into a cyclonic storm, thereby reducing its intensity considerably. At 9.30 am, the cyclone was lay centered around 105 kms east-northeast of Chennai.

By the time it makes a landfall, its wind speed is expected to be 100-110 kilometres per hours with winds gusting up to 120 kmph. The wind speed during a very severe cyclonic storm is 120 to 130 kmph. In a severe cyclonic storm the wind speed is somewhere between 110 to 80 kilometres per hour. One of the major reasons for destruction in any cyclone is the wind velocity, apart from heavy to heavy rains and flooding.

Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is very likely during 36 hrs. The rainfall intensity will increase gradually becoming heavy to very heavy rainfall (7-19 cm) at a few places and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (20 centimetres) over Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh on 12 December, the IMD said.

Tidal wave of about one metre height above the astronomical tide is very likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh during the time of landfall.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 21:35 IST

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Cyclone Vardah: Two killed, thousands evacuate low-lying areas, normal TN life hit

Demonetisation: No action initiated to cancel Axis Bank’s license, clarifies RBI

The Reserve Bank of India on Monday clarified that it had not initiated any action against Axis Bank for cancellation of its license, as held by some media reports, in wake of some officials found to be involved in violative activities post-demonetisation.

Cyclone Vardah: Normal life hit in Tamil Nadu, schools, colleges to remain shut on Tuesday

Chennai: Heavy rains accompanied by high- velocity winds pounded the city and coastal districts of north Tamil Nadu as severe cyclonic storm Vardah commenced its landfall through the coast, killing two persons and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people from low-lying areas.

The cyclone, that triggered strong winds of nearly 100 km/hour, uprooted hundreds of trees and disrupted power supply lines besides land and air transport, throwing normal life out of gear.

“The cyclone is still crossing, only the eye portion has crossed… Presently it is calm. The entire system is expected to fully cross coast between 6 pm and 7 pm,” a top India Meteorological Department (IMD) official told PTI.

Showers and heavy winds will resume once the eastern portion of the system begins to blow over, the official said.

However, the respite is Vardah is “weakening” and is expected to be turn into a “cyclonic storm” in next three hours, said M Mohapatra, IMD Additional Director General (Services).

“The Cyclone made its landfall near Chennai between 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm bringing in winds clocking 11-120 kmph. It is showing signs of weakening and the wind speed will reduce to 60-70 kmph in next 3-4 hours,” he said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam urged people in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts – where “Vardah” brought life to a virtual halt – not to venture out of their homes till an official announcement was made.

Two persons had died and 24 huts were damaged, most of them in Tiruvallur district, according to an official statement.

About 8,000 people from low-lying areas in north Chennai, Pazhaverkadu in Tiruvallur district and villages off Mamallapuram, in Kanchipuram district were safely evacuated to 95 relief shelters, officials said.

Authorities here were seen swiftly removing uprooted trees and restoring snapped power lines, trying to bring normalcy to enable vehicular traffic to resume.

The IMD’s latest inputs indicated that heavy wind and rains would continue till about 7 pm, Panneerselvam said, adding all arrangements are in place to handle the situation.

Coastal regions of northern Tamil Nadu — Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram — continue to be on high alert even as people in low-lying areas were accommodated in relief centres.

Fishermen from Adyar and Tiruvanmiyur areas were accommodated in local schools and food and blankets were being distributed to them. State Ministers are visiting relief centres and inspecting distribution of food to the people, an official release said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Under the impact of “Vardah”, hundreds of trees were uprooted, land and air transport was disrupted and normal life was thrown out of gear in many areas.

Power supply was suspended in many areas.

Long distance buses were stalled and traffic came to a grinding halt in most areas.

All suburban train services were also suspended by Southern Railway. Trains to various destinations, including Bangalore, Hyderabad, Madurai, Coimbaore were all cancelled, Southern Railway said.

Over 15 teams of NDRF have been deployed in various coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, where over 9,400 people living along the Bay of Bengal coast were evacuated to relief camps amid heavy rains.

IMD Director-General K G Ramesh said, “Strong winds of 92km/h have been recorded. Chennai has been experiencing heavy rains since morning and heavy rainfall zone is persisting over west of Chennai and south of Chennai. This would continue for couple of hours more.

“…strong winds are there for northern parts of Chennai up to Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.”

He said power transmission lines and cables on the poles have got damaged due to which traffic-related interruption will be there in the city and suburban areas also wherever heavy rainfall is taking place.

“Once the complete landfall takes place, dusty winds will then slowly recede over to coastlines by the night or middle of night and rainfall will continue in interior parts of Chennai, and definitely intensity will reduce over Chennai by midnight,” he added.

Responding to a question, Ramesh said strong surge will be to the north of the landfall point. “It is about the astronomical tide… Because of the full moon high tide is already there and so over and above, 1 metre surge is expected.”

When asked how severe was the cyclone compared to Phailin, which hit Odisha in 2013, he said “Vardah” is a “severe cyclonic storm” while Phailin was an “extremely severe cyclonic storm”.

“It will take six more hours for the storm to turn into a cyclonic storm,” Ramesh said.

Under the cyclone’s influence, rains at most places with “heavy to very heavy” falls at few places very likely to continue in Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh during next 12 hours after landfall.

As the cyclone moves inland, north interior districts of Tamil Nadu and Rayalaseema may also experience “heavy to very heavy rain” at isolated places during next 24 hours after landfall and squally winds reaching 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph are likely during 12 hours after the landfall.

The state government said 37 fallen electricity poles were removed in affected areas of the state.

A total of 224 roads were blocked, of which 89 were cleared and 190 of 226 fallen trees removed. It said 266 relief centres are ready of which 95 are operational.

A total of 10,754 food packets were distributed to people in low-lying areas, now sheltered in relief centres.

Meanwhile, operations at Chennai airport were suspended for the entire night, with nearly 170 services being disrupted through the day even as 10 flights were cancelled.

A total of 44 international and 123 domestic services were affected as they were diverted to nearby airports like Bengaluru even as many stranded passengers were still waiting at waiting halls of Domestic and International terminals.

Steps were being taken to distribute food to them, they said.

Departing flights to cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru were cancelled. Subsequently, there was no possibility of resuming operations, which were earlier announced suspended till 5 PM, officials said.

The strong winds damaged seven glass panels and roof at three places, officials said, adding that a car was damaged after an uprooted tree fell on it.

The Navy, Coast Guard and the Army have also pitched in with their assets for the relief operations.

Two Indian naval ships Shivalik and Kadmatt sailed out from Visakhapatnam early morning and proceeded to Chennai to augment relief efforts as part of ‘Operation Madad’.

These ships had embarked additional medical teams, divers, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopter and relief material which include food, tentage, clothes, medicines, blankets.

Additional ships have been kept on standby to supplement efforts for undertaking Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, should the situation demand.

The army had kept about seven columns (around 700 personnel) on standby along with equipment.

Army officials said one column from Garrison battalion in Chennai has been rushed to Ponneri and Thiruvalur districts.

Coast Guard authorities said three ships have been deployed for rendering search and rescue assistance.

All ships at Chennai, Vishakapatnam, and Karaikal among other places have been kept standby and ready for deployment.

One ship has already being deployed for search of two missing fishermen near Kakinada.

In addition to 10 diving teams embarked on Shivalik and Kadmatt, Flag Officer Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Naval Area (Fotna) has readied six diving teams for immediate deployment in consultation with the state administration while 22 diving teams have been kept on standby at Visakhapatnam for immediate deployment, should the situation warrant.

Shelter places have been identified and medical teams are also kept on standby for providing humanitarian assistance.

One Survey ship has been kept on standby to undertake harbour survey in case of requirement. Naval aircraft are also standing-by at the naval air stations Rajali and Dega to be pressed into action to augment relief operations.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 21:15 IST

Cyclone Vardah batters south India coast killing four | Reuters

CHENNAI, India A cyclone barrelled into the southeast coast of India on Monday, killing at least four people and bringing down trees and power lines as authorities moved tens of thousands of people from low-lying areas.Cyclone Vardah moved west over the Bay of Bengal before hitting Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu, as well as neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, the Indian Meteorological Department said, describing it as a “very severe storm”.Strong wind of up to 140 kph (87 mph) battered the densely populated coast, uprooting trees and bringing down electricity pylons. Flights at Chennai airport were cancelled, railway services in the area suspended and schools and colleges were closed.Chennai is home to Indian operations of major auto firms such as Ford Motor, Daimler, Hyundai and Nissan. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said Vardah is passing over Chennai, drenching the city in heavy rain, but is expected to ease in intensity later.

“Winds and rains might still intensify. Do not venture out,” the NDMA said on Twitter, adding that four people had been killed. More than 23,000 people in Tamil Nadu have been moved to relief centres, with plans for tens of thousands more to be evacuated if needed, a senior state official, K. Satyagopal, told Reuters.

More than 10,000 people from two districts in Andhra Pradesh had also been moved, its disaster management commissioner, M.V. Seshagiri Babu, said.The NDMA warned fishermen not to venture out to sea for the next 36 hours, and urged residents to stay in safe places.Navy ships and aircraft, as well as 30 diving teams, were on standby to help move people and deliver aid if needed, a navy spokesman said.

India’s cyclone season usually runs from April to December, with storms often causing dozens of deaths, evacuations of tens of thousands of people and widespread damage to crops and property.Wind speeds topped 300 km per hour (186 mph) in an Indian “super-cyclone” that killed 10,000 people in 1999, while a cyclone packing speeds of more than 200 kph (124 mph) lashed the east coast in 2013. (Reporting by Jatindra Dash, Tommy Wilkes and Anuradha Nagaraj; Editing by Catherine Evans)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 21:10 IST

DNA Evening Must Reads: Live updates of Cyclone Vardah; Kohli’s men clinch India v/s England series; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Cyclone Vardah Live: Chennai airport services suspended till 9 pm; 2 killed in Tamil Nadu, 8000 evacuatedTwo persons were killed as heavy rains accompanied by high velocity winds pounded the city and coastal districts of north Tamil Nadu ​on Monday due to severe cyclonic storm “Vardah” which began making landfall near Chennai, disrupting land and air transport and throwing normal life out of gear. Follow the live updates here.2. Chennai: Three youths beaten up for not standing during national anthem in theatreLess than a month after the Supreme Court directed cinema halls across the country to play the national anthem in theatres, a youth and two students were allegedly beaten up in a theatre in Chennai for not standing up when the national anthem was being played. Read more here.3. Turkey: ‘Death toll in twin bombing has risen to 44,’ says Health MinisterThe death toll from the Istanbul twin bombings near a major football stadium has risen to 44, Turkish Health Minister Recep Akdag said on Monday. The late Saturday attacks saw a car bomb explode outside the home stadium of football giants Besiktas and less than a minute later, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a group of police at a nearby park. Read more here.4. No action initiated to cancel Axis Bank’s licence: RBILast week the bank had suspended 19 officials for their alleged involvement in illegal activity post demonetization. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also arrested two managers of Axis Bank’s Kashmere Gate branch in New Delhi and seized Rs 3.5 crore in cash. Read more here.5. India v/s England: Ashwin takes 6 wickets again as Kohli’s men clinch series with 3-0 leadOff-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin picked up six wickets in England’s second innings as India cruised to victory in the fourth test at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday to wrap up the five-match series with a game to spare. Read more here.

Cyclone Vardah LIVE: 2 killed as storm slams Chennai; Army starts rescue operationss

Cyclone Vardah LIVE: 2 killed as storm slams Chennai; heavy rains expected, says NDMA

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By Updated: Dec 12, 2016 16:27 IST

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New Delhi: Cyclonic storm Vardah, which was earlier expected to weaken considerably, may not see its intensity going down when it makes landfall near Chennai on Monday. According to the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department, (IMD), Vardah, which is currently, a very severe cyclonic storm, will weaken, but only to a severe cyclonic storm.

Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The earlier forecast made by the IMD was that it would weaken into a cyclonic storm, thereby reducing its intensity considerably. At 9.30 am, the cyclone was lay centered around 105 kms east-northeast of Chennai.

By the time it makes a landfall, its wind speed is expected to be 100-110 kilometres per hours with winds gusting up to 120 kmph. The wind speed during a very severe cyclonic storm is 120 to 130 kmph. In a severe cyclonic storm the wind speed is somewhere between 110 to 80 kilometres per hour. One of the major reasons for destruction in any cyclone is the wind velocity, apart from heavy to heavy rains and flooding.

Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is very likely during 36 hrs. The rainfall intensity will increase gradually becoming heavy to very heavy rainfall (7-19 cm) at a few places and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (20 centimetres) over Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh on 12 December, the IMD said.

Tidal wave of about one metre height above the astronomical tide is very likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh during the time of landfall.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 16:26 IST

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Cyclone Vardah: Navy, Coast Guard and NDRF geared up for relief missions

New Delhi: The Indian Navy, Coast Guard and NDRF are all geared up to undertake relief and rescue operations as cyclone Vardah made a landfall near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, official sources said on Monday.

Naval ships Shivalik and Kadmatt sailed out from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh early Monday morning to Chennai to augment relief efforts in the Tamil Nadu capital as part of ‘Operation Madad’, the Navy said.

The ships are carrying medical teams, divers, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopter, and relief material that includes food, tents, clothes, medicines and blankets etc.

Representational image. Getty images

Representational image. Getty images

Additional naval ships have been kept on standby to supplement efforts for undertaking humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations, should the situation demand, the Navy said.

“Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command, reviewed the preparedness of the Naval Command to undertake relief operations at Chennai,” Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma said.

Apart from 10 diving teams stationed on the Shivalik and Kadmatt ships, the Flag Officer of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Naval Area has readied six diving teams for immediate deployment in consultation with the state administration.

“As many as 22 diving teams have been kept on standby at Visakhapatnam for immediate deployment, should the situation warrant. Shelter places have been identified and medical teams kept ready for providing humanitarian assistance,” the Navy spokesperson said.

“A survey ship has been kept on standby to undertake harbour survey if required. Naval aircraft are also on standby at the Naval Air Stations Rajali and Dega to augment HADR operations,” he added.

The Indian Coast Guard are also on standby.

“All necessary rescue materials have been kept on standby at all Coast Guard stations along the coast across these states. Coast Guard Regional Headquarters East at Chennai is closely coordinating with the state administration for rendering assistance if sought,” the Coast Guard said.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has kept ready eight flood rescue teams comprising more than 250 members. Equipped with 23 inflatable rubber boats and communication equipment, these have been pre-positioned in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh.

“One team each has been pre-positioned at in Prakasam district and Vishakhapatnam, two teams at Sri Kala Hasti in Chittoor district and four teams at Sullurupeta, Nellore and Tada block areas of Nellore district,” the NDRF said.

Eleven flood rescue teams comprising 428 rescuers, equipped with 48 inflatable rubber boats and communication equipment have been pre-positioned in low-lying parts of Tamil Nadu.

One team each has been pre-positioned at Mahabalipuram and Tambram in Kanchipuram district, two teams at Chennai and three teams at Tiruvallur.

Three teams are en route to the NDRF base at Arrakonam in Tamil Nadu from Pune in Maharashtra. In addition, one team is at Puducherry,” the statement said.

“Some additional teams are kept on standby and shall be mobilised as per the demand. NDRF Director General RK Pachnanda is closely monitoring the situation round the clock.”

“The NDRF control room in Delhi is in touch with India Meteorological Department and state administration,” the statement added.

Cyclone Vardah on Monday afternoon crossed the Tamil Nadu coast near Chennai, leading to strong winds. The landfall will continue for around four hours, accompanied by rains and strong winds.

The Tamil Nadu government said over 7,350 people were shifted to 54 relief camps set up in Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur and Villupuram districts.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 16:23 IST

Cyclone Vardah: IMD issues warning, says second arm is usually more disastrous

New Delhi: Sunshine, clear sky and no rains just after a cyclone is not an indication that the storm has passed, a meteorologist said on Monday, warning that the second arm of the cyclone is usually more destructive.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

According to Laxman Singh Rathore, who served as Director General of the India Meteorological Department during Cyclone Phailin and Hudhud, people tend to think that cyclone has passed when the first arm that hits coast bringing heavy rains and gusty winds.

Whenever a cyclone makes landfall, its first arm hits the coast, followed by the eye and then second arm. “When the eye, which is the Centre of the Cyclone, makes landfall, it is devoid of any cloud, gusty winds and has sunshine.

“People tend to think that cyclone has passed away. But the second arm of the cyclone is usually more destructive, bringing more rains and gusty winds. The storm surge is higher during this period,” said Rathore. He said people should be more cautious during this phase.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 15:07 IST

Cyclone Vardah LIVE: Storm moves closer to Chennai coast; winds clock 100 kmph

Cyclone Vardah LIVE: Storm moves closer to Chennai coast; winds clock 100 kmph

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By Updated: Dec 12, 2016 14:20 IST

Dec 12, 2016

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New Delhi: Cyclonic storm Vardah, which was earlier expected to weaken considerably, may not see its intensity going down when it makes landfall near Chennai on Monday. According to the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department, (IMD), Vardah, which is currently, a very severe cyclonic storm, will weaken, but only to a severe cyclonic storm.

Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The earlier forecast made by the IMD was that it would weaken into a cyclonic storm, thereby reducing its intensity considerably. At 9.30 am, the cyclone was lay centered around 105 kms east-northeast of Chennai.

By the time it makes a landfall, its wind speed is expected to be 100-110 kilometres per hours with winds gusting up to 120 kmph. The wind speed during a very severe cyclonic storm is 120 to 130 kmph. In a severe cyclonic storm the wind speed is somewhere between 110 to 80 kilometres per hour. One of the major reasons for destruction in any cyclone is the wind velocity, apart from heavy to heavy rains and flooding.

Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is very likely during 36 hrs. The rainfall intensity will increase gradually becoming heavy to very heavy rainfall (7-19 cm) at a few places and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (20 centimetres) over Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh on 12 December, the IMD said.

Tidal wave of about one metre height above the astronomical tide is very likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh during the time of landfall.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 14:19 IST

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Cyclone Vardah: Heavy rains hit Tamil Nadu coastal districts, high winds uprooot many trees

Chennai: Heavy rains on Monday pounded the city and north coastal districts of Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, inundating low lying areas, while high velocity winds uprooted hundreds of trees as the severe cyclonic storm Vardah reached about 60 kms northeast of Chennai and was likely to make landfall in the next couple of hours.

According to the IMD bulletin at noon, by the time Vardah hits the coast, winds with speed of 100-110 kmph to 120 kmph are like to sweep the region.

Squally winds hit Chennai this morning as the very severe cyclonic storm approached Tamil Nadu. Power supply was suspended in many parts of these regions as a precautionary measure.

The rains intensified as the cyclone neared leading to waterlogging in many areas.

The Tamil Nadu government had declared holiday for educational institutions in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, besides coastal taluks of Villupuram.

Rail and flight services in Chennai have been affected, officials said.

Around 25 incoming flights, including those from international destinations, were diverted to the nearby Hyderabad and Bangalore airports due to strong winds and poor visibility, airport officials said.

Nearly 25 outbound flights were delayed, officials said, adding that there was no inundation of the runway.

An emergency management team was on standby to meet any eventuality, they said.

The Southern Railways, meanwhile, announced suspension of services on the Chennai Beach and Velacherry MRTS route.

Similarly, suburban rail services on the MMC-Gummidipoondi line were also suspended until further notice. Some passenger trains coming to Chennai and leaving the city were also diverted.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The system was likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually while moving towards north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts.

However, according to the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department, (IMD), Vardah, which is currently, a very severe cyclonic storm, will weaken, but only to a severe cyclonic storm.

Over 15 teams of NDRF have been deployed in various coastal regions of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh which are on high alert due to the approaching cyclonic storm.

The armed forces have been asked to be on standby with the army, navy and air force prepared to be deployed anytime as and when required.

People in low-lying areas have been asked to move to safer zones.

Puducherry also experienced intermittent drizzle from early morning. The state government took precautionary steps to prevent tourists and other people from going close to the sea shore.

Police personnel were deployed on the entire two-and-a-half kilometre stretch of beach road and barricades were also put on all roads close to the sea shore. All schools and colleges are closed on Monday.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) chief RK Pachnanda said while eight teams are ready in various areas of Tamil Nadu, seven are in Andhra Pradesh, apart from few others in nearby locations.

“Some more teams are on alert in Arrakonam and Guntur and they can be transported immediately in case they are required. We are in constant touch with the two state governments, the Indian Meteorological Department and other relief agencies,” the NDRF Director General told PTI.

Nellore and Chittoor districts of Andhra Pradesh are also expected to affected.

Over 9,400 people in seven mandals along the Bay of Bengal coast in Nellore were evacuated to relief camps this morning amid heavy rains.

Eight fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu were rescued from the sea near the Sriharikota High Altitude Range while search was on for ten more persons.

The holy Tirumala Hills have been receiving rainfall since last night, causing some hardship to devotees visiting the shrine of Lord Venkateswara.

Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the situation through teleconference and asked the state agencies to remain on high alert to prevent loss of lives, officials said.

Meanwhile, the Navy said it has stationed two ships north of Chennai to render any immediate assistance.

“We have put two ships to sea — an ASW frigate and a stealth frigate. They are holding north of Chennai for immediate assistance if required,” Navy PRO Capt DK Sharma said.

He said winds of 120-150 kmph are sweeping the area and a lot of trees have been uprooted.

“We anticipate that with this kind of advance, the cyclone is likely to make landfall somewhere north of Chennai, short of Pulicat.”

He said the Navy is ready with humanitarian assistance like food, water, medicines and blankets.

“We have enough divers, doctors and integral helicopters should there be a need for immediate assistance or evacuation,” the officer said.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 13:24 IST

Cylone Vardah LIVE: Storm may not weaken much when it makes landfall, says IMD

Dec 12, 2016

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  • 10:58(IST)

New Delhi: Cyclonic storm Vardah, which was earlier expected to weaken considerably, may not see its intensity going down when it makes landfall near Chennai on Monday. According to the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department, (IMD), Vardah, which is currently, a very severe cyclonic storm, will weaken, but only to a severe cyclonic storm.

Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The earlier forecast made by the IMD was that it would weaken into a cyclonic storm, thereby reducing its intensity considerably. At 9.30 am, the cyclone was lay centered around 105 kms east-northeast of Chennai.

By the time it makes a landfall, its wind speed is expected to be 100-110 kilometres per hours with winds gusting up to 120 kmph. The wind speed during a very severe cyclonic storm is 120 to 130 kmph. In a severe cyclonic storm the wind speed is somewhere between 110 to 80 kilometres per hour. One of the major reasons for destruction in any cyclone is the wind velocity, apart from heavy to heavy rains and flooding.

Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is very likely during 36 hrs. The rainfall intensity will increase gradually becoming heavy to very heavy rainfall (7-19 cm) at a few places and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (20 centimetres) over Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh on 12 December, the IMD said.

Tidal wave of about one metre height above the astronomical tide is very likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh during the time of landfall.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 11:16 IST

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