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TN This Week: Cyclone Nivar Causes Severe Crop Damages, North Chennai Residents Allege Neglect, Over 50,000 Detained During Nov 26 Strike

The farmers in affected districts have suffered severe losses as paddy, sugarcane, and banana were destroyed by the winds and heavy rain. Fishermen in the coastal villages were affected as they suffered damages to fishing boats and houses.
TN This Week: Cyclone Nivar Causes Severe Crop Damages, North Chennai Residents Allege Neglect, Over 50,000 Detained During Nov 26 Strike

The general strike on November 26 attracted several thousands of workers and peasants to the streets of Tamil Nadu. Over 50,000 were detained across the state, while services in banking, insurance, income tax, port, BSNL were affected.

Also the cyclone Nivar inundated several parts of the Chennai city, coastal districts in the northern part of the state and Puducherry union territory. The farmers in affected districts have suffered severe losses as paddy, sugarcane, and banana were destroyed by the winds and heavy rain. Fishermen in the coastal villages were affected as they suffered damages to fishing boats and houses.

Meanwhile in the last one week, the fresh COVID-19 infections continued to drop, with daily cases falling well below 2,000 cases. The number of fatalities have also come down, with 12 deaths reported on November 27. NewsClick brings a roundup of the happenings this week in the state. 

COVID-19: FRESH CASES FALL BELOW 1,500

The downward trend for the past several weeks in fresh COVID-19 infections continued in the past week as well. The last seven consecutive days reported under 1,700 cases with a daily maximum of 1,663 on November 21 and a minimum of 1,442 on November 27. Six returnees from West Bengal and one from Bihar tested positive on November 27. 

The total infections increased to 7,77,616 and active cases are down to 11,109. The number of fatalities increased to 11,681, which has reduced continuously. The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), Coimbatore, Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur and Salem contributed the maximum number of infections in the past one week. 

The total infections in GCC increased to 2,14,149 with 3,924 active cases and 3,838 casualties. Of the 12 districts with less than 100 active cases, Perambalur has just 3 as on November 27. 

GENERAL STRIKE: OVER HALF LAKH DETAINED

The general strike announced by the 10 central trade unions and other federations attracted several thousands of people to the streets November 26. Workers of different trade unions, farmers, agricultural labourers, youth and women took part in the road roko protest. More than half lakh people were detained in the state for taking part in the road blockade protest.

The trade unions however did not strike work in the cyclone Nivar affected district. The strike was near complete in insurance, banking, BSNL, port, BHEL, Bharat Petroleum bottling plant, while work in state government offices were also affected. 

A large number of anganwadi workers and helpers took part in the strike and were led by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU). The garment workers from Coimbatore, firecracker industry workers from Sivakasi, Cashewnut factory workers in Kanyakumari made their presence felt by participating in large numbers.

The demands on scrapping the farm laws and withdrawal of codification of labour laws were raised along with cash relief for the workers during the lockdown was also insisted Read More

CYCLONE NIVAR: WATER STAGNATION IN PARTS OF CHENNAI

The severe cyclone Nivar brought severe rains in parts of the state, particularly in the coastal districts in the North. The cyclone brought heavy rains, while the wind speed was slightly less than anticipated. The incessant rains flooded many parts of Chennai, which lacks an effective stormwater drainage system. The fact that many streets were waterlogged even before the cyclone made the landfall, exposes the lack of a planned drainage system. 

While the water stagnation in the heart of the city was handled better by the GCC, the residents of northern parts alleged neglect. No coordinated steps were taken to drain out the stagnant flood water even after hours post the rain stopped. 

Many streets were flooded with water, with people taking the task of draining in the absence of the administration. The locality faces the trouble of flooding even for short spells of rain, with lack of administrative attention.

Other parts of the city including K K Nagar, Mogapair, Mudichir were waterlogged due to the rain. The GCC reported that around 300 trees were damaged/uprooted in the winds. Three people have lost lives in the rain related incidents, with more than 100 houses being damaged.

Watch Also: Flood in North Chennai Leave Many Trapped

FARMERS SUFFER EXTENSIVE CROP LOSS 

The delta districts suffered little damage from the cyclone, but the coastal district in the northern part of the state suffered severe damages to crops. Farmers in Tiruvannamalai, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu, Cuddalore, Vellore district and Puducherry union territory suffered loss of paddy, banana and sugarcane crops.

Paddy crops of around 6,000 acres in Chengalpattu, 1,500 acres in Kancheepuram and 5,000 acres in Vizhupuram ready for harvesting were lost, said the Tamil Nadu unit of the All India Kisan Sabha.

Sugarcane crops in around 1 lakh acres of Tiruvannamalai, Cuddalore, Chengalpattu, Vizhupuram and Kallakurichi, awaiting harvesting during the Pongal festival have been reduced to  nothing. Crops including Manila, banana have also suffered extensive damage.

The state government has also conceded that paddy in 9,468 hectares in seven districts are totally affected. The farmers and farmers’ organisations have demanded the state and union governments to access the damages at the earliest and compensate.

GOVT TO PAY STUDENTS ADMITTED IN 7.5% RESERVATION 

The government of Tamil Nadu has decided to pay the fees of students admitted in private medical colleges through the 7.5% reservation. The government school students getting admission in private medical and dental colleges would be benefiting from the revolving fund set up.

The announcement of the state government came only after the principal opposition party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) offered to bear the expenses of such students. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) was the first to raise the demand, as students from low income groups were unable to pay the fees.

The dreams of two students on earning the medical admission were shattered after they could not mobilise the fee amount. The announcement of the government came too late for such aspirants, who have been forced to end their journey towards their MBBS dream. 

MILL WORKERS AWAIT NINE MONTH WAGES

The private sugar mills have been refusing to pay the cane growers for several years, while workers of mills are waiting for the salary. The atrocities of the private mill extend to the magnitude of taking loans in the name of the farmers. 

Dharani Sugars and Chemicals Limited (DSCL) in Polur of Tiruvannamalai district have been without wages since February 2020. The management has suspended plant operation citing revenue losses, leaving workers stranded without any income. The workers were paid just Rs 4,000 during the Diwali festival. 

The workers and cane farmers allege mismanagement of the mills for the loss. Few cooperative mills have started earning profits after better administration and private mills now house cogeneration units along with chemical and sugar related products.

The farmers are denied payment from private, cooperative and public sector mills for the past several years. The recent assurance of the state government to pay the dues have thrown some light. The farmers organisations have demanded the private mills to settle the dues at the earliest. Read More 

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