The number of COVID-19 infections continue to increase in Tamil Nadu, reaching 6,000 cases on May 8, with Chennai accounting for 3,043 cases. The number of recoveries limped up to 1,605 persons while the death toll increased to 40. The state also witnessed several protests this week on demands for immediate relief from auto workers union and differently abled persons.
The migrant workers held protests demanding facilities to return back, with police lathicharging the protesters of Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) on May 9. NewsClick brings a round up of what happened across the state this week.
CASES CONTINUE TO INCREASE
The week saw a massive hike with 3,483 new cases and the state capital of Chennai reported 1,961 cases. The capital city reported 324, 316 and 399 cases on May 6,7 and 8, respectively. The major increase in Chennai - Ariyalur and Cuddalore districts are contacts from Koyambedu market. After a prolonged delay, the 295 acre Koyambedu market was closed on May 4 and was decentralised. An earlier closure similar to other district administrations would have prevented the massive spread from Koyambedu.
The testing has increased and the state has conducted 2,16,416 sample tests so far, the highest in the country. But, vital sectors, including the volunteers, were tested in less numbers, leading to contraction of virus by the public. Read More
LIQUOR OUTLETS CLOSED AFTER COURT ORDER
The Madras High Court came down severely on the decision of the state government and ordered the closure of the liquor outlets on May 8. The state government has decided to approach the Supreme Court against the Madras HC order. The liquor outlets run by Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) were opened on May 7 amid strong opposition from political parties and women's organisations. The opposition parties observed May 7 as black day to register their protest against the opening of the outlets.
The following two days saw heavy rush in the outlets where physical distancing and other hygiene measures were violated. The opening of outlets were stopped by women’s organisations in many places including Madurai. The couple of days saw complaints of violence against women owing to the opening of outlets after a gap of 43 days. Read More
DIFFERENTLY ABLED PERSONS PROTEST
Differently abled persons led by Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently-abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC) held protests in more than 300 centres across the state demanding relief. The police detained the protesters in Pennagaram and Palacode regions in Dharmapuri district and released them in the evening. The organisation had demanded an immediate relief of Rs 5,000 for the differently abled persons who have lost income owing to the lockdown.
The protest was withdrawn after talks were held by the officials and the organisation had resolved to intensify the protest if relief measures are not announced shortly. The TARATDAC also insisted on the government to ensure that differently abled persons are provided with nutritious food to improve their immunity to counter the viral infection.
AUTO RICKSHAW WORKERS HOLD PROTEST
The auto rickshaw drivers held a state wide protest on May 8 seeking relief for their families for the lockdown period. Their livelihoods are severely affected as the third phase of lockdown, too, denied permission for auto rickshaws except for emergency purposes. The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) which led the protest has placed a demand to provide Rs 15,000 as relief for the auto rickshaw drivers.
The CITU also insisted the state government to permit auto rickshaws to be operated normally. The relief announced through the welfare boards have not reached most of the beneficiaries as they frequently shift houses. Some of them have not linked the bank account with the welfare boards resulting in exemption of relief announced by the government.
BOILER EXPLOSION IN NLC
Eight workers were injured when a boiler exploded in the NLC India Limited (NCLCIL) plant on May 7. The NLCIL has set up a six member committee to enquire about the incident that took place in the thermal plant. The accident took place in Thermal Station II power plant in Neyveli which injured two regular employees and six contract workers. The workers were positioned at a height of about 32 metres in the 84 metre high plant when the accident took place.
Two workers were reported to be critical after sustaining 70% burn injuries. The boiler exploded reportedly due to overheating and pressure. Two more power plants were shut down immediately after the accident for maintenance.