TN This Week: COVID-19 Casualty Spikes, AIADMK Accuses DMK of Taking Undue Credits
Image credit: Prakash R
The Tamil harvest festival Pongal was extensively celebrated across the state on January 14 even as Tamil Nadu logged 23,459 COVID-19 cases and 26 deaths amid the third wave of the pandemic.
The state government announced an official leave on January 17 and it provided an extended five-day holiday for people to travel to their native places for the festival celebration.
Chennai recorded an all-time high of 8,963 COVID-19 cases on January 14 (Saturday). Lakhs of people have travelled out of the city for Pongal, increasing chances of infection in other districts in the coming days.
Although COVID-19 cases were swelling in the state, permission was granted to hold the bull-taming Jallikattu competition in Madurai. A 19-year-old spectator was pierced to death by a bull and 80 others were injured on Friday. A 29-year-old bull owner was also gored to death by his bull on Saturday.
COVID-19: STRICTER PROTOCOL
Along with the steep rise in infections, the death toll steadily increased this week in Tamil Nadu. Read more
Tamil Nadu imposed fresh COVID-19 restrictions around the Pongal festival; the public is not allowed inside places of worship between January 14 and 18. These were put in place in addition to the existing restrictions of night curfew and Sunday lockdowns.
The Tamil Nadu government has increased the fine for not wearing masks covering the mouth and nose in public places from Rs 200 to Rs 500.
‘DMK CLAIMING UNDUE CREDIT’
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has accused the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam of trying to take credit for initiatives of its previous government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on January 12, virtually inaugurated 11 new government medical colleges in Tamil Nadu. The Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister K Palaniswami accused the DMK government of “trying to paste a sticker” on the initiative.
The AIADMK on January 8 welcomed the Supreme Court upholding the 27% reservation in all India Quota (AIQ) seats for medical admissions. It claimed that this was a victory for its sustained struggle and lashed out at the ruling DMK for claiming credit in the matter as well.
Regarding the Pongal gift bag of 21 grocery items provided by the state government to family cardholders in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK has charged the DMK government with looting under the pretext of the scheme. The opposition party demanded an elaborate probe into the alleged irregularities.
OTHER POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS
The Former AIADMK Minister K T Rajenthra Bhalaji, who was arrested in a case of alleged job scam, was released from the central prison in Trichy on January 13 after the Supreme Court granted him bail.
On the other hand, there is little chance of the much postponed urban local body polls to be held anytime soon due to the intensifying pandemic. However, the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) party has released its first list of candidates for the polls.
GIVE PONGAL BONUS FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS
Construction workers protest in Tirupur. Image Courtesy: CITU, Tamil Nadu.
The Construction Workers Federation of India (CWFI) affiliated to the CITU held protests across districts in the state on January 12 demanding rain-time relief of Rs 5,000 from the Welfare Board fund.
The registered workers also demanded a Pongal bonus of Rs 2,000, similar to the previous year.
PEOPLE OPPOSE GARBAGE DUMP
Residents belonging to the Devananthal panchayat in Tiruvannamalai strongly opposed the initiative of the district administration to establish a five-acre garbage dump on the foothills of the hill forest. They blocked the roads and held a protest in the locality on January 11.
Apple supplier Foxconn reopened its Chennai plant on January 12 after over 100 workers fell ill due to food poisoning. The company announced that resumption of operations would be fairly slow and it could take nearly two months till operations are normalized.
The workers who lost their jobs in 2016 and 2018 due to the closure of Dongson and Foxconn held a relay hunger strike seeking re-employment from January 6. Read more
CBI FILES FIR ON PEOPLE’S WATCH
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked the Madurai-based Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns (CPSC), and its program unit People’s Watch for Cheating, Dishonesty and Other Violations.
Henry Tiphagne, Executive Director of the NGO, assured that CPSC has not done anything in violation of any law, and that it will cooperate with the CBI in all proceedings while at the same time carrying on its work fearlessly.
BETHEL NAGAR RESIDENTS PROTEST EVICTION
Bethel Nagar residents protesting eviction.
Residents of Bethel Nagar in South Chennai’s Injambakkam Locality held a protest on January 10 opposing their eviction. The Revenue Department asked residents of 30 houses to vacate the neighbourhood citing encroachment on marshland. However, the people state that it is grazing land. Read more
VISUALLY-IMPAIRED PERSON DISTRICT SECY OF CPI(M)
A visually impaired person, Bharathi Anna, was elected the secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s Chengalpattu district committee. He had held various positions in the CPI(M)’s frontal organisation such as youth front and untouchability eradication front.
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