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QChennai: TN Budget on 15 Mar; Periyar Statues Get Extra Security

The Quint

1. After Furore, H Raja Disowns Controversial FB Post

“Who is Lenin and what is the connection between Lenin and India?... Today, it’s Lenin’s statue in Tripura, tomorrow it will be Periyar,” Raja had posted on his Facebook page.

On a day of widespread protests demanding his arrest and burning effigies of him, Bharatiya Janata Party national secretary H Raja disowned his Facebook post that advocated removal of the statues of Dravidar Kazhagam founder Periyar EV Ramasamy. He claimed that the post was uploaded by the administrator of his Facebook page without his knowledge.

Also Read: PIL Filed Against BJP Leader H Raja Over Periyar’s Statue FB Post

However, Raja’s explanation did not find much support from his party colleagues. Union Minister of State Pon Radhakrishnan described as “unacceptable” the comments and the delayed regret from Raja. BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan said the party would not encourage any emotional, negative and anti-development attempts in Tamil Nadu.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: ‘Periyar Is Immortal, He’s an Ideology’: Actor Sathyaraj Slams BJP

2. Maintain Law and Order, HC Directs Govt

The Madras High Court has ordered police top extend security at all Periyar statues across the state to avoid any other such law and order situation.

The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the state government, represented by Home Secretary, as well as the Director-General of Police (DGP) to take all steps to maintain law and order and peace across the State. It also wanted them to prevent untoward incidents that were being reported in large numbers following Bharatiya Janata Party leader H Raja’s Facebook post on pulling down statues of rationalist Periyar.

Also Read: Periyar Statue Vandalised In Vellore Post BJP Min FB Post, 2 Held

Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose passed the orders on a public interest litigation petition moved urgently by advocate AP Suryaprakasam. The 65-year-old lawyer made a mention about the tweet and the consequent violent incidents reported from various parts of the State before the first Division Bench and obtained permission from the Chief Justice for filing as well as hearing of the case, as an urgent matter, on the same day.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Revisiting Periyar’s Fight for Social Justice & the Mother Tongue

3. State Budget on 15 March, OPS’s First After Merger

Edappadi Palanisamy (EPS) on the left, and O Panneerselvam (OPS) on the right.

The State budget for 2018-19 will be tabled in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly on 15 March when it convenes for the next session. This will be the State’s first budget after the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax. Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who got back the finance portfolio after the two AIADMK factions merged last year, will present the budget at 10.30 am on March 15.

The government has already warned that revenue deficit for 2017-18 would be higher than its earlier forecast of Rs 15,930 crore, mainly on account of the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations. This is likely to be the fifth straight year of revenue deficit for the State. Implementation of the 7th Pay Commission is likely to result in an additional outgo of Rs 6,480 crore. Last year, the State breached the fiscal deficit norm of 3 percent as it joined the UDAY scheme and took over nearly Rs 22,815 crore of Tangedco’s debt.

(Source: The Hindu)

4. Major Reshuffle in Bureaucracy

Senior IAS officer Rajesh B Lakhani

Ahead of the budget, the state government effected a major reshuffle of top IAS officers on Monday. M Saikumar has been posted as Secretary 1 to the Chief Minister. He was the CMD of TNEB and Tangedco for three years. Vikram Kapur has been posted as the new CMD, TNEB and Tangedco. He will continue to hold the post of Energy Secretary.

TV Somanathan, Principal Secretary, Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Department, has been posted as Commissioner of Commercial Taxes. He will have full additional charge of his current post. Rajesh Lakhoni, the former CEO, has been posted as the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority member-secretary. Lakhoni had served as the Chennai Corporation Commissioner before.

(Source: The Hindu)

5. Sub-Inspector Shoots Self at Police Station

Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan visited the spot and ordered a detailed enquiry. The body was sent to the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital for post mortem.

Three days after a constable shot himself at former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s memorial, a 33-year-old law and order sub-inspector attached to the Aynavaram police station shot himself with a 9 mm pistol on Wednesday. He left behind a suicide note stating that no one was responsible for his death.

Satish Kumar, a native of Tiruvidaimarudhur, was staying in the police quarters at TP Chatram. Around 1.45 am on Wednesday, he visited the police station in plainclothes. He went to the special sub-inspector Chiranjeevi and asked for the keys to the box in which the service pistol was kept.

(Source: The Hindu)

6. FERA Case: All Proceedings Stayed

The case against Dhinakaran was that he had allegedly acquired $1,04,93,313 in foreign exchange from unauthorised dealers.

The Madras High Court on Wednesday stayed all further proceedings pending before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Economic Offences-II) court at Allikulam here in a 22-year-old case booked by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran in 1996 under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) of 1973.

Justice MV Muralidaran granted the interim stay till 20 March and also dispensed with the appearance of the accused before the trial court till then. The order was passed on a criminal revision petition preferred by the accused challenging the Magistrate’s 8 December 2017 order, through which she had refused to issue copies of certain documents demanded by him in order to defend himself in the case. The judge also directed Special Public Prosecutor for ED cases, G Hema to take notice on behalf of the investigating officer after she informed the court that Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan would be leading her in the case.

(Source: The Hindu)

7. TNERC Suggests 30% Lower Tariff for Wind, Solar Power

In 2016, the TNERC had fixed the tariff at Rs 4.16 per unit without accelerated depreciation and Rs 3.70 per unit with accelerated depreciation; the tariff will be expiring on 31 March 2018.

A consultative paper of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has suggested a benchmark tariff of Rs 2.86 per unit for wind energy and Rs 3.11 per unit for solar energy, an over 30 percent fall from previously fixed tariffs. The suggested tariffs are also cheaper than thermal power, whose average cost is Rs 4 per unit.

TNERC, the State regulator, fixes the benchmark tariffs for procurement of wind and solar energy by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd (Tangedco), the State distribution company. States are also procuring wind and solar energy through competitive bidding, a process which could drive the prices even lower than the benchmark rates. The consultative paper has fixed a rate of Rs 2.86 per unit without accelerated depreciation and Rs 2.80 per unit with accelerated depreciation benefits [for wind energy].

(Source: The Hindu)

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