TN this Week: Widespread Construction Workers’ Uprising, Heavy Rains in the South
Image credit: Prakash R
Political parties from Tamil Nadu, including the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), unitedly challenged the Dam Safety Bill in the Rajya Sabha on December 2.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu released water from the Mullaperiyar dam in Idukki without proper intimation to Kerala, which led to flooding of residential areas in the middle of the night on December 2. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to his counterpart M K Stalin urging him to ensure that shutters of the dam are opened “only after sufficient warnings” and “during daytime”.
Ironically, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) organised a protest demanding the Tamil Nadu government to reduce petrol and diesel prices on December 1. In the protest held in Jayankondam town of Ariyalur district, the party’s state-level leader Aghoram was reportedly using abusive words against CM Stalin and was arrested by the police for the same.
The disgruntled party functionaries of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) have shown interest to join the DMK after the recent elevation of its leader Vaiko’s son Durai Vaiyapuri as the MDMK headquarters secretary. Notably, the MDMK is a split-away from the DMK opposing dynastic politics.
NewsClick brings you a round up of the happenings this week.
COVID-19: POSSIBLE CLUSTERS
Concerns of possible COVID-19 clusters in schools have risen after 27 students of a private school in Tiruppur district tested positive for the virus this week.
Additionally, four international passengers who landed in Tamil Nadu have tested positive for COVID-19 amid the Omicron scare, and they are awaiting genome sequencing to identify the variant.
However, fresh COVID-19 cases are relatively static in the state. On December 4, 731 people tested positive, and exactly a week ago 736 fresh cases were logged; the total number of reported deaths are 6 and 9 respectively.
Despite the rains 20.98 lakh people were vaccinated across Tamil Nadu in the 13th mega COVID-19 vaccination camp held on December 5.
OPPOSING DAM SAFETY BILL
The DMK, AIADMK, Communist parties, MDMK, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) have unitedly opposed the Dam Safety Bill saying that it affected the state's rights. The Bill was however passed by the BJP and its allies in the upper house of the Parliament.
CMStalin issued a statement strongly condemning the Union government stating that the Bill was detrimental to federal principles and the move was nothing but authoritarian in nature.
In 2018 Tamil Nadu legislative Assembly passed a unanimous resolution demanding proper consultation with the states before arriving at a decision. The main concern of the state is about retaining its power in controlling the dams, autonomy, and ownership of the assets.
CONSTRUCTION WORKERS’ AGITATION
As part of the all-India call for a two-day strike of construction workers under the banner of the Construction Workers Federation of India (CWFI), district-level demonstrations were held across Tamil Nadu on December 2 and 3.
The striking workers are demanding that the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act 1996 concerning their welfare board should not be codified under the Code on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions. They say that such a move would dilute the already neglected provisions of the construction workers’ welfare law.
HEAVY RAIN SHIFTS DOWN SOUTH
Halfway through the week, many districts in northern Tamil Nadu got respite from heavy rains. However, the rains moved down south lashing Madurai, Coimbatore Kanyakumari and other districts.
Despite rains receding in Chennai and the neighbouring districts, life has not resumed to normal conditions due to continued water logging. Read more
The rains have taken a toll on small-scale industries, and has led to more crop damage this week. Farmers held a protest in Cuddalore district reiterating the state level demand to carry out a survey of the loss and to provide compensation to all farmers affected by the rains without any disparity in crop. Read more
MINORITY LEADER REMOVED FROM AIADMK
As part of its continuous dismissal of everyone who speaks against the party leadership, former minister and prominent face of the minority community Anwar Rajah was removed from the AIADMK for criticising the leadership for its BJP ties.
The move was ahead of the inner-party elections for the posts of Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator, for which only the existing leaders in the respective positions O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palniswamy have filed nominations. On the other hand Rajah was in favour of bringing back the dismissed leader V K Sasikala. Read more
RESIDENT DOCTORS PROTEST
Protesting the delay in NEET PG counselling and admissions, resident doctors at medical college hospitals in Tami Nadu withdrew from outpatient department services on December 1. They complained that new doctors are unable to join hospitals because of the delay in counselling, and as a result the existing batch of resident doctors are overburdened with work.
HOUSE-SITE PATTA FOR TRIBALS
A successful agitation was held under the leadership of Tamil Nadu Tribal People’s Association (TNTA) demanding house-site pattas for Adhanur Irular tribal people in Vandasavi town on December 3. The agitation was held outside the Tehsildar office and approximately 3 cents of land has been approved.
A deal was made with the revenue department that unless houses are constructed at the new site, people will not be uprooted from their present settlement.
STARK DATA OF SURVEY
The phase II of the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) data was recently released, and it has thrown up some worrisome data on Tamil Nadu. As per the survey, teenage pregnancy has risen in the past five years, the male-female ratio has worsened and Tamil Nadu tops the country in spousal violence. Read more
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