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Tamil Nadu - Coimbatore Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Reporter's Diary

AN ISSUE dominating the first three quarters of 2004 in the Nilgiris is central subsidy for the produce of the small tea growers of the district.

The year began with a demand being made in various quarters including associations representing the small growers and some political parties that a tea leaf subsidy scheme should be announced by the Centre.

Having been conceded, the demand shifted to early release of funds for the scheme.

Following the delay in the allocation of funds for the scheme due to administrative reasons, there had been considerable speculation over whether or not it would be implemented. However with the funds having recently reached the Tea Board at Coonoor and the process of disbursement set in motion political parties are out to garner credit claiming that the scheme had become a reality thanks to the efforts of leaders in their respective parties.

Meanwhile those who are neither connected with the tea industry nor the political parties are hoping that all efforts would be made to ensure that the scheme served its purpose. Pointing out that the `tax payers money' has been used to fund the scheme " to help only the growers who are genuinely in distress", they are of the view that other than the growers no one else should even attempt to derive any benefits from the scheme.

* * *

IT WAS a commendable gesture on the part of the India Cements Limited, Sankargiri, to have put up a four-bedded patient ward at the Padaveedu Primary Health Centre in Namakkal district at a cost of over Rs. 2.80 lakhs.

The significance of the moment was not lost on the locals and the officials who took part at a function.

The district Collector, V.M. Xavier Chrisso Nayakam, declared open the facilities at Padaveedu recently.

The PHC caters to over 5,000 people and an estimated 100 people are treated as outpatients daily at the PHC.

Mr. Nayakam lauded the gesture of the India Cements but told them that they could have multiplied the funds and benefits had they come forward to donate the amount under a scheme envisaging three-fold financial input from the State Government against one-part donation from the public.

Nevertheless, the new facility at the PHC would be of immense use to the public.

Such corporate philanthropy would go a long way in fostering a good working relationship among the locals and the corporate houses or factories, as the latter are slowly incorporating social audits taking on responsibilities hitherto solely vested with governmental agencies.

* * *

THE TRANSPORT Department has started cracking the whip in a bid to discipline the bus drivers and to make them refrain from stopping the buses at unscheduled and unauthorised bus stops in the City. Stopping of buses especially immediately after a turn or a road-junction (i.e. traffic signal) was leading to chaos and snarls.

The Secretary of the Coimbatore Consumer Cause, K. Kathirmathiyon, had in fact been demanding an end to the undisciplined manner of stopping buses in front of the railway station contributing to the confusion and chaos especially during peak hours.

The Deputy Transport Commissioner, K. Yogarajan, had formed two special teams led by Regional Transport Officers, D. Mani (North) and S.S. Velumani (South) for identifying such unauthorised bus stops, invented by both the passengers and crews suiting their convenience. In one such drive, the enforcement teams had already suspended the licence of a driver for violating the fiat in front of the railway station and notices served on transport operators after two of their buses were found stopping at the Anna Statue - RTO Office road junction (which is not a designated bus stop). The Transport Department was planning to join hands with the City Police and the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) authorities for identifying such bus stops and get them relocated besides disciplining the bus crew.

* * *

THOSE WHO are required to attend functions at which several dignitaries are scheduled to put in an appearance are often resigned to the prospect of having to sit through several hours of speeches.

On most occasions the function gets off to a late start, with some of the public figures taking their places on the dais a good hour or more after the scheduled time.

However, at a function organised a few days ago to declare open new buildings at Bharathiar University, the audience were in for a surprise when the entire function at the university auditorium was over within an hour, despite the presence of several dignitaries.

Four ministers participated in the event, namely the Food Minister, V. Jayaraman, the Backward Classes Minister, Se. Ma. Velusamy, the Animal Husbandry Minister, P.V. Damodaran, and the Education Minister, C. Ve. Shanmugam.

The ministers accompanied the Governor, P.S. Ramamohan Rao, as he went round the new buildings on the campus, and arrived with him at the auditorium at the scheduled time.

On the agenda for the evening were just three speeches, namely the welcome address by Vice-Chancellor, S. Sivasubramanian, a felicitation address by the Education Minister and the special address by the Governor. All the speeches were short and crisp, holding the full attention of those in the audience.

* * *

(Contributions from

D. Radhakrishnan in Udhagamandalam,

L. Renganathan in Namakkal &

V.S. Palaniappan,

A.A. Michael Raj in Coimbatore)

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