QChennai: Makeover for Bus Services, Row over TN House Renaming

1. Bus Services Likely to Get a Tech Upgrade

Now with the increase in ticket fares officials say banks are more willing to give loans.

In the aftermath of the bus fare hike, the State Transport department is considering a few plans for improving services. Among the proposals are a common card system, introduction of electronic ticketing machines and work on projects to provide real-time information on bus timings.

An official said the department was planning to develop a common card system for the benefit of those travelling by Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) buses and the Metro Rail.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Tamil Nadu Transport Unions Call off Bus Strike After 8 Days

2. ‘Renaming Guest House an Onslaught on Tamil Pride’

The State government had first changed the names to Vaigai Tamil Illam and Pothigai Tamil Illam on Friday but on Saturday included the word “Nadu”.

The State government’s decision to rename the Tamil Nadu House in New Delhi has triggered a political controversy with DMK leader MK Stalin and Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi founder T Velmurugan slamming the move on Sunday.

In a statement issued, Stalin, who is also the Leader of Opposition, alleged that with the renaming of the Tamil Nadu House as ‘Vaigai – Tamil Nadu Illam’ and ‘Pothigai – Tamil Nadu Illam’, the Hindutva rulers at the Centre had fulfilled their burning desire to stamp out the values and identity of the Tamil nation steeped in history. He questioned the need for changing the name of Tamil Nadu House, while other States continued to retain their original name for the Houses in Delhi.

(Source: The Hindu)

3. Seven Heritage Sites to Get Disabled-Friendly Facilities

At Mamallapuram, work to make the Pancha Rathas disabled-friendly is to be taken up shortly. 

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will develop disabled-friendly facilities at seven sites in Tamil Nadu, including the Sri Kailasanathar temple in Kancheepuram, Sithanavasal caves, Moovar Koil in Kodambalur near Pudukottai, and the Vellore and Gingee forts.

The facilities to be created include ramps, Braille boards with information about the sights, and signage and tactile flooring, as well as disabled-friendly restrooms. All necessary tourist facilities, including wi-fi, security, signage, encroachment-free areas, interpretation centres showing short films about the importance of the monuments, and signboards of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan were to be installed at these monuments. Later, 75 more monuments were added to the list.

(Source: The Hindu)

4. Union Budget Silent on State’s Plea on Dalit Scholarship Scheme

In August 2017, the State brought on a par the amount of scholarship provided to Dalit students admitted to private engineering colleges under the management quota with what is being given to those admitted under the government quota.

The Tamil Nadu government’s request for changing the cost-sharing pattern of the post-matric scholarship scheme for Dalit students has been ignored by the Union Budget. The State government has been complaining that in the last three years, arrears in Central assistance under the scholarship scheme has accumulated to around Rs 1,547 crore. It has argued that the Centre should follow the pattern of 60:40 cost-sharing, which is the norm adopted generally for Central schemes.

However, last week’s Budget was silent on this issue. At present, the Union government provides its assistance to States only when the expenditure goes over and above what has been committed by the latter. By nature, the assistance comes in the form of reimbursement. Since 2015, the State is contending that the actual amount of Central assistance is short by at least Rs 500 crore every year.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Was The Budget Trying To Fix India’s Two-Speed Economy?

Also Read: Budget 2018: More Nays Than Yays for Millennials 

5. Government to Tie up with Corporates to Give Schools a Makeover

Currently, there is no institutional framework in the government that allows industry to engage and support school education.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Tamil Nadu government have set up a joint task force on ‘School Education System.’ Over the next five years, the task force, along with companies that are members of the CII, will identify government schools which require attention and transform them.

“The idea to set up the task force came during a conclave [regarding education] in Coimbatore. When we proposed the idea, School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan and other officials agreed to it,” said an official.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: From Streets to School: 12-Year-Old Brings Education to Community 

Also Read: School Ravaged by Tsunami Is One of Tamil Nadu’s Finest Today

6. ‘Time to Shift Shops Away from Madurai Meenakshi Temple’

Fire broke out in the complex of the famed Meenakshi Amman Temple on 2 February. 

In the wake of the fire that broke out at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple on Friday night, Sahitya Akademi Award winner Su Venkatesan and archaeologist C Santhalingam have called for relocating the shops operating on the temple premises.

Venkatesan, who chronicled nearly 600 years of Madurai’s history in his award-winning novel Kaaval Kottam, said, “There was a justification [in the past] for keeping the shops in Pudumandapam and other areas [in the temple’s vicinity], as the temple was surrounded by thatched houses [back then]. Now, concrete buildings have replaced the old houses, and there is no need to keep the shops inside the temple.”

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Fire Breaks Out in Madurai’s Meenakshi Temple, 40 Shops Gutted

7. Clinical Establishments Act to Be Amended

A top official said the new rule will cover all hospitals.

The Health Department is taking steps to amend the Clinical Establishments Act and its rules to cover government and private health sectors. The proposed amendment and rules were likely to be placed before the Assembly in the next session, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said.

“We had the Tamil Nadu Private Clinical Establishments Act without rules. Now, we want to bring in major amendments to cover both the government and the private sector. The Chief Minister is keen that this should be brought in the coming Assembly session. We are working on the rules,” he said.

(Source: The Hindu)

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