Tamil Nadu continues to see a massive spike in COVID-19 cases, with the total cases breaching the 40,000 mark. Meanwhile, the government of Tamil Nadu cancelled the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exams after several political parties, students organisations and civil society organisations protested citing the increasing threat of the pandemic. The state also witnessed protests from various sectors demandin cash relief for the lockdown and against anti-farmer policies of the union government. NewsClick brings a round up of the events in the state this week.
COVID-19: INFECTION TALLY JUMPS TO 40,698
The week added more than 12,000 COVID-19 cases, taking the total infections in the state to 40,698. The week also saw 135 deaths, taking the tally to 367. The increasing number of deaths is alarming, though the mortality rate is around 0.8% in the state. The total active case in the state stands at 18,281 till June 12.
The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) continues to hold the dubious record of being the most affected with 28,924 cases and 294 deaths. A total of nine zones out of 15 have more than 2,000 cases each, with more infections in north and central regions.
After severe criticism of the COVID-19 activities and discrepancies over the number of deaths in Chennai, the state government replaced the health secretary. The government was left red faced when the nurses protested against the shortage of staff in an COVID-19 exclusive hospital. The government is facing an uphill task of containing the pandemic. Read More
CPI(M) DEMANDS CBI PROBE ON CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS IN NLC
The CPI(M) has demanded an enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) over the allegations of corruption on an NLC India Limited official. A chief general manager of the organisation has levelled several allegations against the director of human resource development.
The complainant has allegedly reported on the corrupt practices existing on appointments, promotions, residential renovations and telephone usages. A group of four whistleblowers have also submitted a report on the alleged corruption. The CPI(M) has also demanded protection for the whistleblowers.
The party has also demanded a quick probe into the serious allegations levelled by a senior official against the director of the organisation.
SSLC EXAMS CANCELLED
After several days of uncertainty and confusion, the government of Tamil Nadu finally cancelled the SSLC exams for the students. The government was forced to cancel the exam as the threat of the viral spread was increasing in the state. Several political parties and student organisations were demanding the cancellations citing the extraordinary conditions prevailing in the state.
The Students’ Federation of India had also approached the Madras High Court for the cancellation. The court raised uncomfortable questions to the government on the safety of the students and the teachers.
The uncertainty prevailed over the conduct of the exams as the government had announced the commencement of the exams on June 1 and then postponed to June 15.
PROTESTS FOR LOCKDOWN RELIEF
Left parties and various mass organisations held protests demanding relief for the lockdown period. The CPI(M), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist- Leninist) held a statewide protest on June 9 demanding cash relief of Rs 7,500 to each family for three months of lockdown period. They also demanded the increase of the number of working days from 100 to 200 for the national rural employment guarantee scheme.
The farmers, women and differently-abled persons’ organisations also held protests this week. The farmers organisations have demanded the roll back of amendments and ordinances related to agriculture promulgated by the union government. Read More
CHENNAI CORPORATION EXTEND CONTRACT OF HEALTH WORKERS
The GCC decided to extend the contract of around 13,000 health workers as the COVID-19 situation continues to remain bleak. These workers were appointed in April to carry out a door to door survey on symptoms in residents. The contract of three months has been extended without a specific time frame.
With Chennai expecting a further surge in cases, the move is a welcome one. These workers have helped in detecting the cases and people with other influenza like symptoms. The role of these workers are acknowledged by the GCC, as they have helped in identifying 3,455 cases.
FARMERS OPPOSE GREEN CORRIDOR WORK
The farmers of Tiruvannamalai district held a protest opposing the announcement of restarting the green corridor project. K C Karupannan, a minister in the government of Tamil Nadu recently spoke of implementing the eight-lane road project connecting Chennai and Salem. The All India Kisan Sabha led the protest in around 20 locations in the district. The organisation condemned the union and state governments for trying to impose the project against the welfare of the farmers.
The Madras High Court had quashed the 277 km project in May 2019. The court had ordered the handing over of acquired land back to the individuals. The Supreme Court also refused to stay the order of the Madras High court in a petition filed by the National Highway Authority of India. Read More