The north-east monsoon intensified this week affecting normal life across Tamil Nadu and dampening the festive spirit of Diwali.
Two days after schools reopened for classes I to VIII on November 1, rain holidays were announced across districts. Farmers in the delta region have reported crop damage and demanded compensation.
Meanwhile, the fresh COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu dropped to 875 on October 5 from 945 on Diwali day.
The weekly mega vaccination camp was not held on November 6 due to the holiday season. The 8th such camp is scheduled for November 14.
SCHOOLS REOPEN FOR CLASSES I to VIII
After 19 months of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, schools reopened for classes I to VIII on November 1. However, 18 districts announced a rain holiday on November 3, and the next two days were Diwali holidays.
This is amidst efforts to reinstate dropouts and implement the Illam Thedi Kalvi scheme to bring back children to schools.
RAIN DAMAGES CROPS, AFFECTS DAILY LIFE
Due to continuous rains, paddy, awaiting procurement in delta districts, has sprouted prematurely, and farmers are demanding compensation for their loss. Also, several low-lying areas and agricultural fields with standing samba paddy crops were inundated.
In the major towns across the state, vehicular traffic was affected that left the public stranded. Individual instances of rain-related deaths were also reported in the state, which raised questions about monsoon preparedness and measures taken to curb such loss of lives.
A woman police constable died on duty on November 2 at the Tamil Nadu secretariat gate after an uprooted tree fell on her following heavy rains.
A software engineer died after his two-wheeler hit a pothole amidst rain and a bus ran over him in Chennai’s busy Anna Salai on November 1.
Notably, more rain is forecast for the next two weeks.
HAZARDOUS DIWALI POLLUTION
About 2,000 cases were registered by police across Tamil Nadu against those who violated the directives to contain pollution on Diwali.
The advisory was issued by the state government adhering to the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court. It said that the state would avoid all joined-firecrackers and permitted only green crackers during two fixed time windows on Diwali.
Yet, Chennai’s air and noise pollution levels dropped to hazardous levels on Diwali. Additionally, the Greater Chennai Corporation workers collected more than 138 tonnes of waste throughout November 4 night and the next morning.
BLACK DIWALI FOR MANY
Although cracker sales shot up by the end of October, the ban on joined-crackers and several other varieties have led to the loss of work and wages for workers in the firecracker industry. Read more
Hatsun dairy plant workers in Dharmapuri who were dismissed for forming a trade union and are demanding to be reinstated, observed black Diwali this year. Read more
Besides this, government transport, electricity, TASMAC and other workers also observed the festival as a black day because of the meagre bonus they received this year.
COURT QUASHES SPECIAL VANNIYAR QUOTA
The Madras High Court quashed the 10.5% special internal reservation provided by the Tamil Nadu government to Vanniyars, a most backward caste (MBC).
In the hearing on November 1, the court said that the quota was ultra vires to the Constitution. It observed that the previous AIADMK government that initiated it and the DMK rule that implemented it had no “quantifiable data” to support the decision.
Founder of the Vanniyar majority party Pattali Makkal Katchi S Ramadoss said that the state government should appeal against the Madras High Court’s verdict in the Supreme Court.
TN TO RESOLVE DAM ISSUE WITH KERALA
On November 5, upon visiting the Mullaperiyar dam in Thekkady, Tamil Nadu’s Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan assured Kerala that it need not have any apprehension about the dam’s safety. He said the work to strengthen the main dam had already been done in compliance with the Supreme Court’s direction.
On the same day, BJP state president K Annamalai accused the state government of entering into a “secret deal” with the Kerala government on the Mullaperiyar dam issue and called for a protest in November 8.