The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in Tamil Nadu in spite of the nationwide lockdown. On the other hand, Coimbatore police have arrested the founder of the news portal Simplicity for exposing issues faced by doctors and alleged corruption in distribution of ration to the public.
In an “inhuman” act, a group of people attacked the funeral of a doctor who succumbed to the viral infection in Chennai. Meanwhile, the workers of the garment industry and unorganised sectors wait for the relief from the state government. NewsClick brings a round-up of the developments this week.
COMPLETE LOCKDOWN IN MAJOR CITIES
The alarming increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases has raised concerns over the containment process in the state amidst the ongoing lockdown. The number of positive cases increased to 1,755 by 6 pm on Friday, an increase of 1,323 cases from last week. The number of deaths increased to 22; however, a total of 866 discharged patients being the big relief.
The government of Tamil Nadu, to prevent further spread of the pandemic, has announced a complete lockdown in Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Madurai and Salem. The lockdown will extend for four days in Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai from April 26 to 29, while Salem and Tirpur will be locked down for 3 days from April 26. The district administration of Kancheepuram, Chengapet and Cuddalore districts have also announced lockdowns on one or two days within the same duration.
FUNERAL OF DOCTOR ATTACKED
The funeral of a 55-year-old neurosurgeon who died of COVID-19 infection was attacked in Chennai. The residents of the locality objected to the body of the doctor to be buried in their area. The local residents also attacked the ambulance which carried the mortal remains of the deceased doctor. The ambulance driver and another staff member were injured in the attack by the residents.
The Chennai police have filed cases against more than 20 people for the attack. The medical fraternity strongly condemned the heinous attack by the public on the funeral and demanded adequate compensation for the family of the doctor. The state government quickly announced strong measures against those who would interfere in the funeral of the COVID-19 victims.
RELIEF SCARCE FOR UNORGANISED WORKERS
The state of unorganised workers in the state continues to be miserable as the lockdown continues. These workers who earn their living by selling flowers, vegetables, food items and the daily wage labourers are facing a humongous task of surviving the lockdown.
Most of these workers are yet to receive the first installment of cash relief of Rs 1,000 by the chief minister. The welfare board of the unorganised workers continues to operate apathetically with the officials depending on the trade union leaders to collect the list of beneficiaries.
The workers above the age of 60 years are waiting to receive the pension offered through the welfare board. The apathy of the official machinery and the inability of the government to allocate funds have left the workers waiting for the minimal benefits they are entitled to. Read More
GARMENTS/TAILORING WORKERS AWAIT RELIEF
The workers in the garment factories and tailoring workers are struggling to make ends meet. The workers in the factories are covered by the Factories Act and are deprived of the benefits from the welfare board. The workers registered with the board are yet to receive the relief announced. The migrant workers have to depend on the trade unions and NGOs to feed themselves during the lockdown.
The government had announced 15 kg rice, 1 kg each of dal and cooking oil for the families of migrant workers. But, in reality, the families of migrant workers had received a maximum of 2 kg rice and 250 grams of dal by April 4. Read More
BHARATNET WORKS: ANTI-CORRUPTION ORGANISATION CRIES FOUL
The corrigendum published by the Tamil Nadu FiberNet Corporation (TANFINET) on April 5 has been questioned by the anti-corruption organisation Arappor Iyakkam. The corrigendum has modified the eligibility conditions for bidding for notifications published on December 5 and 6, 2019.
The organisation has demanded action against the top officials of TANFINET for modifying the eligibility conditions approved by the Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Development Board (TNIDB).
The substantial increase in the turnover of the bidding companies and experience in cable laying works is claimed to be done with the rationale of reducing competition and favouring corporate companies. Read More
NEWS PORTAL FOUNDER ARRESTED IN COIMBATORE
The founder of Coimbatore based news portal Simplicity, Andrew SamRaja Pandian was arrested on Thursday. The deputy commissioner of Coimbatore corporation filed a complaint alleging the news portal of carrying misinformation. The news portal was accused of carrying news on issues faced by PG doctors, including access to quality food in Coimbatore medical college and hospital. The portal has also exposed alleged corruption in the Public Distribution System outlets.
The opposition parties and the Centre for Media Persons for Change condemned the police action and demanded that the state government withdraw the case filed. A number of journalists also held a protest in Coimbatore on Friday. Read More