The rural local body elections in nine districts were by and large peaceful with 77.43% and 73.27% polling in phase 1 and 2 respectively. Minor incidents of clashes among cadres of parties were reported on October 6 and 9, the days of polling.
The number of fresh COVID-19 infections fell below 1,500 during the week, while the vaccination camps continue to be organised. The Health Ministry has organised a mass vaccination camp on October 10 targeting 25 lakh inoculations in 30,000 centres.
The state government, in its effort to seek exemption from NEET, has reached out to different state governments. A delegation from the state met the chief minister of Kerala to seek support, while the chief minister has written to 12 of his counterparts.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held protests on October 7 across the state demanding the opening of temples on all days. Newsclick brings a round-up of the happenings in the state this week.
FIFTH MASS VACCINATION CAMP
In a step to vaccinate the population en-masse, the fifth mass vaccination camp in the state has been organised. The Department of Health estimates participation of 25 lakh people in 30,000 camps across the state on October 10.
The state health minister, M Subramanian, claimed: “By the end of the camp, 70% of the population would have received at least one dose, the safety standard specified by the World Health Organisation (WHO)”.
In Tamil Nadu, 63% of the eligible population have received the first dose while 22% are fully vaccinated.
The number of fresh COVID-19 infections has also continued to fall in the state. The state reported 1,344 cases on October 9 with a test positivity rate of 0.9, down from 1.02 on October 3. The total active cases are 16,252 with total cases jumping to 26,76,936 with 35,768 deaths.
Image: R Prakash
The number of vaccinations on October 9 stood at 88,187 taking the number of total vaccines administered to 4,77,88,187. Meanwhile, the third sero survey report has found that 70% of the population have antibodies for the virus.
Image courtesy: Vijay Anand
GOVT SEEKS SUPPORT ON NEET EXEMPTION
Chief Minister M K Stalin has written to 12 other chief ministers seeking support in the fight against the imposition of NEET. He has called on the heads of the states to put up a united fight against the policies of the union government.
“Our considered position has always been that the move by the Union government to introduce NEET goes against the spirit of federalism and violates the constitutional balance of power by curbing the rights of the state governments to decide on the method of admission in medical institutions founded, established and run by them,” Stalin said.
The translation of Justice A K Rajan committee report on the impact of NEET in the state was also sent to the chief ministers.
A delegation headed by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP, T K S Elangovan, met the chief minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan seeking support for the cause.
WELFARE BOARD FOR TAMILS
The state government, in another important decision, has constituted a welfare board for the non-resident tamils. The decision for such a board was taken during the previous DMK regime during 2006-11. Around 7 lakh Tamils have returned home after losing their jobs during the pandemic.
The initial fund of Rs 5 crore has been sanctioned and the board will have 13 members from the non-resident community and government officials.
BRISK POLLING IN LOCAL BODY POLLS
The two-phase rural local body elections in nine districts came to a peaceful end on October 9. The votes will be counted on October 12. The elections are seen as a prestige issue by the DMK as well as the opposition led by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
The AIADMK complained that the nominations of their party’s candidates were intentionally rejected.
In Kolacheri panchayat in Kanchipuram, AIADMK held a protest alleging distribution of cash for votes and gifts including nose rings for voters. Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) TTV Dinakaran filed a complaint with the election commission alleging attacks by the DMK cadres in Kanchipuram.
BJP PROTEST SEEKS OPENING OF TEMPLES
The BJP held a statewide protest on October 7 seeking the opening of temples on all days. In the wake of the pandemic, the state government has restricted entry to temples and holiday spots on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
The social media was abuzz criticising the BJP leadership for diverting the attention of the people from the increasing fuel prices. The price of subsidised LPG cylinder was also hiked by Rs 15 on October 6.
The BJP leaders accused the DMK government of acting against the interest of the Hindu beliefs, the usual rhetoric used by the party. The minister for Hindu religious and charitable endowments P K Sekar Babu cited the advisory of the Union government on curbing mass gatherings as the reason for the weekend curbs.
The minister also said that the state government is willing to open the temples on all days, if the state BJP leaders get the permission from the Union government.
CONTRACT WORKERS OF NCTPS PROTEST A WORKER’S TERMINATION
The contract workers of the North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS) held protests against the termination of a worker. The Centre of Indian trade Unions (CITU) led a hunger strike against the illegal termination of Dhanasekaran.
Many of the workers are continuing to work for around two decades, but are denied regularisation. The worker has sought legal remedy and has a judgement in his favour against his termination, but the company has refused to induct him back.
“The private contract companies resort to disciplinary actions and terminations of the trade union leaders who lead the workers' protest. The government has banned contract works in 19 departments, but the NCPTC has involved contract workers in many of the sections,” said Vijayan, state vice president of CITU.