The number of fresh COVID-19 infections dipped further in Tamil Nadu with the last seven days reporting less than 3,000 cases per day. The total number of samples tested in the state increased to 98,85,443. Meanwhile, the state Minister for Agriculture, R Doraikannu remains severely critical after he tested positive for COVID-19.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appears to be grasping at straws by announcing a month-long yatra across the state to garner support through evocation of the Hindu sentiment. The party is also setting double standards on issues relating to harassment of women as the Union government appointed Dr Subbiah Shanmugam as a member of the board of AIIMS, Madurai. Dr Subbiah, national president of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), was accused of harassing a 62-year-old woman neighbour over a parking issue.
The political lunge of actor Rajinikanth seems to be further delayed due to the health concerns of the actor. The actor announced that a decision will be made after consulting doctors and considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chennai witnessed severe downpour as the Northeast monsoon arrived in the state on October 28, leading to waterlogging for several hours in the city. NewsClick brings a round-up of all these important happenings across the state this week.
COVID-19 CASES WITNESS HUGE DROP
Fresh cases of COVID-19 continued to drop and remained below the 3,000-mark in the last seven consecutive days. The number of active cases also hovered below 25,000 during the week. The total coronavirus infections in the state so far have increased to 7,22,011 with 11,091 casualties. The tally of infections under the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) area increased to 1,99,173 with 7,254 active cases and 3,639 casualties.
On October 30, as the state reported 2,608 cases, only seven districts accounted for 62% of the cases while all others reported less than 100 cases.
Further, in the last one week, Chennai topped the infection list with 5,034 cases, followed by Coimbatore, Chengalpattu and Salem with 1,746, 1,236 and 1,102 cases respectively.
The health of Agriculture Minister, R Doraikannu deteriorated further and remained critical as per the hospital bulletin. The minister was admitted to a hospital on October 13 after he complained of chest pain; his test results for COVID-19 came positive and he was put under ECHO support.
The doubling time of the COVID-19 cases in the state is 217 days, compared to the national average of 131 days, Dr Harsh Vardhan said in a virtual meeting with the Tamil Nadu Health MInister. The state government is yet to announce further unlock measures even as the relaxed lockdown phase comes to an end today.
BJP PLANNING A MONTH LONG YATRA TO WOE VOTERS
The BJP seems to be trying to test its successful model of evoking religious sentiments through a yatra in the state for political gains. The party has been longing for a foothold in the state for a while now, but in vain. The recent activities point to the modus operandi followed by the party in other parts of the state.
The party has planned a Vetrivel Yatra beginning November 6 and ending December 6, which incidentally is the day the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992. The yatra is planned through the six abodes of Lord Murugan. The party is pinning hopes on the devotees of the Tamil God, following a controversy over the Kanda Sashti Kavasam, a devotional song.
The BJP also claimed to champion the cause of women claimed that Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) Chief Thol Thirumavalavan had insulted women in a speech. Later, it turned out that the speech was edited and Thol Thirumavalavan was actually quoting from the Manusmriti on how it demeans women. The BJP tried to seize an opportunity to sideline the VCK leader, but it backfired to some extent as the VCK announced it will distribute translated versions of Manusmriti in all villages across the state.
The BJP was also left exposed after the Union government appointed Dr Subbiah Shanmugam, the national president of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) youth wing ABVP, to the board of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Madurai, who was accused of urinating at the doorstep of an elderly woman neighbour. The woman was living alone and the ABVP leader had allegedly harassed the woman over a parking issue in the apartment. The complaint was later withdrawn by the family, reportedly after pressure from the political outfit. The ABVP leaders went on to defend Dr Subbiah since there was no official complaint while the BJP leadership was tightlipped over the issue. Read More
CHENNAI WITNESS MASSIVE RAINS, WATERLOGS
The city of Chennai witnessed massive waterlogging as the North-East Monsoon (NEM) hit the state on October 28. The residents of the city woke up to heavy downpour that lasted several hours early in the morning. The rainfall exceeded 100mm in most parts of the city and waterlogged many areas. The rain continued for several hours, affecting the commuters as the majority of the roads remained inundated till late in the afternoon.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Chennai regional office, announced on October 23 that the NEM would set in over the state by October 28. However, the preventive measures including the cleaning of storm water drainage were not taken. Environmental activists have called for the restoration of water bodies and canals which are now encroached by both private and government constructions, restricting the water flow in many parts of the city.
The NEM is expected to bring normal rainfall to the northern part of Tamil Nadu while deficient rainfall is predicted in the southern part. The South West Monsoon retreated on September 28, almost two weeks later than usual.
RAJINIKANTH’S JOURNEY MAY END WITHOUT A BEGINNING
The political plunge of famed actor Rajinikanth seems to have come to an end, even before it began. The actor took to twitter to clarify his position on taking the long-awaited political plunge being delayed. The explanation was made in response to a statement, which was circulated in the social media platforms on October 27 saying that his health and the pandemic were delaying his political plunge.
The actor said that the statement was not issued by him, but the contents of the statement on his health were true. He further clarified that he would make a final announcement on his political aspirations after consulting his doctors. Given the ongoing pandemic and his the state of his health after kidney transplantation in 2016, the chances of starting an outfit seems a near impossibility before the upcoming Assembly elections.
However, the fans of the actor and office bearers of the Rajini Makkal Mandram are still hopeful of the actor starting his political outfit. The actor has been hinting at setting foot on the political ground since 1996 through various films. Read More
GOVERNOR NODS TO 7.5% RESERVATION BILL
The TN Governor finally gave assent to the bill ensuring 7.5% reservation for government school students in undergraduate medical admissions on October 30. The government had invoked an executive order ensuring the reservation on October 29 even before the Governor gave assent to the bill. The Governor was accused of delaying the bill which was sent to him a month ago.
Other political parties welcomed the notification as well as the governor’s approval of the bill, but condemned the undue delay. P Wilson, a Rajya Sabha MP of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), earlier said that an executive order is sufficient to ensure the horizontal reservation for the government school students in medical admission. The late Chief Minister J Jayalalitha had utilised the provision in 1994 when the then Governor Channa Reddy delayed a recommendation for reshuffle in her ministry.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) was critical of the delay and stated that the admission process for medical admissions would have been through if the bill was signed earlier. The major political parties welcomed the decision, but insisted on the demand for exemption from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). Read More
STUDENTS OF FISHING COMMUNITY FEEL EXCLUSION FROM EDUCATION
The students of the fishing community are facing exclusion from the online classes as their socio economic status is preventing them from getting access to online education, which is being promoted during the pandemic.
The students of private schools, which continue to hold online classes, are compelled to buy smartphones. There are reports of patents having pledged or sold their gold ornaments for their children to get access to online classes. Most of the students in the fishing community take part in the day to day activities with their parents.
While the number of students getting access to the new education model is fairly low, the students attending such classes have complained of fatigue. The students and parents also complained of internet issues preventing them from attending the classes. Academicians have also condemned the conduct of exams for children at this time even in the primary schools.
The exclusion of students from the community can have a long term adverse impact on them and may even lead to them dropping out of school in the immediate future. Further, the televised classes of the education department of the state government have not helped the students, since the classes do not have scope for interactions. Read More