Meanwhile, Sterlite said in the green court that the shutting down of their plant was a cover-up for police shootings in Thoothukudi during anti-Sterlite protests.
  • Monday, August 20, 2018 - 18:00

In a new development in the ongoing Sterlite case at the National Green Tribunal, the environment court ordered a new committee to probe into charges of pollution by the copper plant in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu. The three member committee would be headed by a retired judge, and will have one member each from the Central Pollution Control Board, and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The NGT was hearing a petition filed by Sterlite’s parent company Vedanta against the Tamil Nadu government’s order to shut down the copper smelter. The copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi was shut down by the TN government on May 28, after the TN Pollution Control Board stated that the plant had violated environmental norms and was causing large-scale pollution in the region.

After having rejected Sterlite's request to grant interim stay on Tamil Nadu government’s order to shut down the plant, the NGT on Monday permitted Sterlite to make its arguments on merits.

During the hearing, the Tribunal questioned the Tamil Nadu government about the basis for the closure of the Sterlite plant. At one point, the Tribunal asked for a one-line reply from the state government as to whether there was an environmental threat on account of the Sterlite smelter. "Yes. A firm yes," the state government replied.

What happened in court

According to journalists at the hearing, a joint team of Central Pollution Control Board and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board inspected the Sterlite plant on August 16 and 17 and submitted their 10-page report to the NGT. The report cites data on alleged pollution by the Vedanta-owned Sterlite. The findings reportedly say that Vedanta dumped around 3.5 lakh tonnes of copper slag along the Uppar river, obstructing the flow of the river.

Interestingly, this had already been mentioned in a March 2017 TNPCB showcause notice to the plant. This has also been submitted in TNPCB's counter affidavit against Sterlite.

Meanwhile, Sterlite said in court that despite the NGT's August 9 order allowing the company to carry out administrative works at the plant, they had not been given access to the administrative block of the smelter.

The state government closure of Sterlite took place days after a massive anti-Sterlite rally where 13 civilians were shot dead by the police. Citing this, Sterlite said that it had nothing to with them. Further, Vedanta stated that the closure of the unit was a knee jerk reaction and a cover up of the shootings.

The Central Pollution Control Board argued that the corrosive nature of the chemicals stored at the plant pose a threat to the surrounding areas, especially since there has been no maintenance work undertaken for a long time.

What the Tribunal said

Apart from ordering the formation of a new committee, the Tribunal on Monday declined the request of the Tamil Nadu government seeking more time to file data on ground water situation.

Further, Vedanta has been ordered to construct a compound wall on all four sides to prevent the copper slag from washing away.

Sterlite meanwhile expressed reservations about picking a retired judge from Tamil Nadu to head the committee, citing bias.

While politicians and administrators have pledged to give one month’s salary to the victims of the floods, policemen will be giving one day’s salary.
  • Monday, August 20, 2018 - 17:37

Politicians cutting across party lines, officials of the Karnataka government, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and police officials have announced that they will donate their salaries to help rehabilitate victims of the deadly floods in Kodagu and neighbouring Kerala.

On Monday, Karnataka’s Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, and former Chief Minister, BS Yeddyurappa announced that all BJP MLAs, MLCs and MPs of Karnataka will donate one month’s salary to the CM’s calamity relief fund. The JD(S) also  has announced that all its MLAs will donate one month’s salary for the revival of the flood-hit district.

Earlier, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao had announced Congress MLAs, MLCs and MPs from the state will also donate their salary for the cause of victims of the Kerala and Kadagu flood.

The KPCC presidentalso announced formation of a a 'relief committee' led  by Rajya Sabha MP KC Ramamurthy to raise and cordinate relief operations. Other present in the committee are Minister Zameer Ahmed Khan, MLAs ST Somasekhar, MLC KC Kondaiah and KPCC Secretary Mehros Khan

Similarly, police officers from Anekal and Sarjapur Police Station announced that they will pledge one day’s salary for the cause.

Deputy CM G Parameshwara, who is also the Bengaluru Development Minister, earlier in the day had announced that 100 mobile toilets have been despatched by the BBMP and installed at the relief camps in Kodagu, in addition to Rs 2.18 crore for the district’s rehabilitation.

Since June, the tourist district of Kodagu in central Karnataka has been battered by rains. The situation took a turn for the worse starting from August 12 with multiple instances of flooding and landslides reported from the district.

As rains have reduced considerably since Sunday, relief operations are on full swing with only a few people still left to be rescued. Individuals and organisations have been running relief and rehabilitation campaigns, collecting money and relief material from across the state.   

The Railways, state-run bus corporations and even some private operators are carrying relief materials to Kodagu for free.

As of Monday, the death toll stands at eight with 50 others still reported missing. All in all, more than 4,320 persons are staying in 41 relief camps after they were rescued by rescue personnel.

The state-run Karnataka State Road Transport Corp (KSRTC) has resumed all its intra-state bus services towards Madikeri in Kodagu district and flood-hit Kerala.

The bus service was suspended due to flooding and damaged roads due to landslides.

About 123 km of roads are estimated to be damaged due to the rains, while more than 800 homes have been destroyed. Most of the district's arterial roads have been damaged in landslides.

Over the past 24 hours, Kodagu district received an average of 6.1 cm of rainfall, while few regions received a maximum rainfall of up to 10.3 cm, according to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC).

Kerala RTC services have resumed, barring to some parts of Idukki and from Kasargode to Madikeri in Kodagu.
  • Monday, August 20, 2018 - 16:40

In huge relief for the people of Kerala, rain has abated in a majority of places in the state, and the Kerala Road Transport Corporation (RTC) has resumed almost all of its services.

The Kerala RTC has resumed operations services to all parts of the state barring the hilly regions of Idukki where the roads have been totally damaged in landslides.

The service from Kasargode to Madikeri in Kodagu has also been stopped owing to the heavy rains in Kodagu.

“In Idukki the services are up to Adimaly only, but in the rest of the state it has resumed almost fully,” Kerala RTC Divisional General Manager (Operations), Venugopal told TNM.

In a big respite for passengers, flight operations have commenced from the Kochi Naval Air Base. Air Alliance, a subsidiary of Air India, will operate three services a day from the air base. There will be two services to Bengaluru and one to Coimbatore. The first service from the air base took off to Bengaluru on Monday morning.

It is likely that Jet Airways and Indigo will also commence operations from the naval base to various locations in the coming days. The flight operations would be from 10 am to 5 pm and there won’t be any night flights. Cochin International Airport (CIAL) official spokesperson PS Jayan told TNM that the operations assistance for the services are being provided by CIAL.

The main airport at Kochi will not be operational till August 26. The airport remains shut down since August 15 after it was submerged in the heavy rains.

In the most flood-hit areas, Kerala RTC had been operating services to shift people to relief camps as the water receded. Around 500 buses were pressed into service.

Karnataka STRTC has also started running services in all routes between the states except Kasargod.

Meanwhile state police chief Loknath Behera said that the rescue operations will be completed by Monday evening.

“Helicopters have been deployed in Pandanad in Chengannur, where the rescue operations were hampered due to adverse weather,” he told media.


The film also stars Vijay Sethupathi, Simran and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in pivotal roles.
  • Monday, August 20, 2018 - 16:34

The latest to join Karthik Subbaraj’s multi-starrer with Rajinikanth in the lead is actor Trisha. The news was tweeted by Sun Pictures from their official handle.

This will be Trisha’s first collaboration with the superstar. The actor too shared her happiness on Twitter.

A few days ago, it was rumoured that actor Malavika Mohanan was most likely to make her Tamil debut with this film. There were also unverified reports that actor Megha Akash, who made her acting debut opposite Dhanush in Enai Noki Paayum Thota, has been signed for this project.

The yet-to-be-titled film also stars Vijay Sethupathi and Simran in important roles. This film also marks the Tamil debut of actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who has reportedly been signed on to play a pivotal role.

This is the first time Subbaraj will be collaborating with Rajinikanth. On teaming up with the Superstar, Subbaraj said in a chat with Sun TV recently: “Even though I’ve made four films in my career so far, my fascination for films grew because of Superstar Rajinikanth sir. To direct him is the best moment of my life.”

He added he hopes to wrap up the project this year itself.

Produced by Sun Pictures, the shooting for this film began in June this year. The film’s music is being composed by Anirudh Ravichander.

Trisha was last seen in horror thriller Mohini. She made her Malayalam debut this year with Hey Jude, starring alongside Nivin Pauly. The actor has Garjanai, Sathuranga Vettai 2, 96 and 1818 slated for release.

Trisha recently turned heads with just a teaser of her upcoming role in Vijay Sethupathi starrer 96. Touted to be a romantic film, the film’s title corresponds to the year 1996.

Kerala floods
A few days ago, the Andhra CM donated Rs 10 crore to flood-affected Kerala.
  • Monday, August 20, 2018 - 14:54

YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, YSRCP Chief, Andhra Leader of Opposition, on Monday announced Rs 1 crore donation to the flood-hit Kerala, where hundreds have lost their lives and been displaced. YSRCP office, in a statement, said that the amount will be transferred to the Kerala CM Relief Fund.

This came days after Andhra Pradesh government donated Rs 10 crore to Kerala as M Chandrababu Naidu expressed his concern over the situation at the coastal state.

The state government has also dispatched a special rescue team from the Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department to Kerala. A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel also left for Kerala along with the state team.

Andhra IAS Officers Association has also decided to donate their one-day salary to Kerala CM Relief Fund.

Telangana leaders Deputy Chief Minister Mohammad Ali, IT Minister K Taraka Ramarao, Irrigation Minister Harish Rao and as many as 20 MPs (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) have announced to donate their one-month salary.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is overseeing the rescue operations, instructed the officials to make sure that relief reached every interstate migrant worker in the State.

Kerala Floods
Four public sector insurance companies will assist flood-affected people with any insured property that has been damaged.
  • Monday, August 20, 2018 - 13:20

With flood relief pouring in from all quarters in the form of cash, food, water and other basic supplies, public sector insurance companies, too, have jumped on board to address one of the worst crises facing Kerala.

Due to heavy rain and the opening of several dams in the states, several houses and cars were washed away and submerged in flood waters. To mitigate the loss, four insurance companies –  National Insurance Co Ltd, New India Assurance Co Ltd, Oriental Insurance Co Ltd and United India Insurance Co Ltd – are offering assistance for flood damage claims. They are assisting people with any insured property that is damaged.

The companies had collectively put out advertisements in newspapers and news channels.

“Unprecedented flood and landslides have ravaged Kerala. We, the public sector General Insurance Companies National Insurance Co Ltd, New India Assurance Co Ltd, Oriental Insurance Co Ltd and United India Insurance Co Ltd join to redress the sufferings of the people,” a part of the ad read in a newspaper.

The ad also mentioned a list of contact details for people to inform in case any insured property is damaged.

National Insurance Co Ltd

Claim hub: 9188044186


New India Assurance Co Ltd

Toll-free number 18002091415

Oriental Insurance Co Ltd

Toll-free number 1800-11-8485


United India Insurance Co Ltd

Vehicle claims: 8921792522; other claims: 9388643066


The insurance companies also listed out a few precautionary steps to be taken when handling a vehicle submerged in water.

“Do not start the vehicle parked at your home that submerged in the water. Take a photo of the vehicle. Tow it to the nearest workshop and inform the insurance company. Close the windows and disconnect the batteries of the vehicles parked in areas prone to flooding,” the ad said.

Other insurers

State-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) South Zone has also assured to expedite all insurance claims-related procedure. “However, this service is offered to the insured members under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana scheme, procured through both LIC and individual life policies,” a nodal officer told TNM.

According to a press release by special teams have been set up in 14 districts. There will also be special officers to offer 24-hour assistance, the officer told TNM. People can contact the nodal officers in their respective district.

Trivandrum - 9482419551

Kollam - 9496301011

Palakad - 9447839123

Thrissur - 9447315770

Ernakulam - 8075947267

Kottayam - 9847167946

Idukki - 9895884618

Pathanamthitta - 9961993580

Alappuzha - 9746817205

Kozhikode - 9496710567

Wayanad - 9496220783

Kannur - 9496414055

Kasargod - 9447951431

Malappuram - 9446024966

Mahi - 9447468899

The director confirmed to TNM that he was working on a web series based on the life of the yesteryear star.
  • Monday, August 20, 2018 - 12:42

The life of yesteryear actor Silk Smitha continues to be a fascination for filmmakers over two decades after her death.

Ace director Pa Ranjith is now all set to make a web series on the life of the actor who ruled the screen for several years but died tragically.

Without divulging more information, the director confirmed the news to TNM.

According to a source quoted in the Deccan Chronicle, “The web series will be shot lavishly and aired across several episodes. Director Pa. Ranjith feels that his series will be true to Silk Smitha and bring out untold stories of her childhood. Further, he believes that her story has a pan-Indian appeal and hence, he’s doing a web series.”

According to the report, the filmmakers believe that the star's childhood remains an unexplored aspect of her portrayal onscreen.

With Pa Ranjith helming the project, the film is expected to be politically and socially conscious. The director’s films have also treated women characters with nuance. It is also expected that Silk Smitha, who is largely remembered in popular narrative as ‘sultry damsel’, will be reimagined with this film.

National Award-winning actor Vidya Balan had played Silk Smitha in the smash hit The Dirty Picture which released in 2011.

The Hindi language film was produced by Ekta Kapoor and remade in Kannada and dubbed in Tamil and Telugu.

However, the film had received criticism from those who had known Silk Smitha at the time, stating that the film's representation of the star was not accurate.

Director Pa Ranjith, who is fresh on the heels of the success of the Rajinikanth-starrer Kaala, recently confirmed his Bollywood debut to TNM.

While the cast is yet to be decided, the film is a period drama. His production house, Neelam Productions, currently has director Maari Selvaraj’s debut feature, Pariyerum Perumal, up for release. Documentary filmmaker Malini Jeevarathinam’s Ladies and Gentlewomen was also produced by Neelam Productions.

Also read: Between sexism and sexuality: How women's roles have evolved in Tamil, Malayalam films

The lady in the picture questioned how they could morph another man into the photo and crop out her husband without her permission.
  • Monday, August 20, 2018 - 12:42

On Independence Day, the Telangana government announced two new schemes, for which they published two full-page advertisements with the faces of a husband, wife and child plastered across all newspapers.

The government unveiled Kanti Velugu (which provides free eye care) and Rythu Bhima (insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh for 28 lakh farmers). However, the advertisements triggered a row after many citizens noticed that the family shown in both advertisements were the same and that only the person who was the husband had changed. The woman in the photograph has alleged that they were not informed about how their photographs would be used.

The woman has now approached local media, stating that they are not farmers and do other odd jobs. She has also questioned how they could morph another man into the photo and crop out her husband without her permission.

"One day, around 5 to 10 people came with cameras and other equipment. They said that we would get loans for machines and other things. They took our signatures and then took my family's photograph. We are illiterate, so we don't know what they said," the lady said.

"The next thing we know, our posters are stuck everywhere across buses and newspapers. We didn't know whom to ask. We first we saw the photo where my husband was standing next to me, and we saw the other photo later. What will people think if they see some other man like that? It has caused me a lot of distress and it has resulted in big fights at home," she added.

Responding to the latest development, the Information and Public Relations office said that it had summoned the two ad agencies, which did the advertisements for Kanti Velugu and Rythu Bima.

"The department has sought a response from the agencies by Monday noon on whether they took consent. Action would be taken against them if they were found to be using the photo without consent," a statement said.

Under the Kanti Velugu scheme, screenings will be conducted across the state, for which 828 medical teams will be constituted. Apart from screenings, they will also provide free medicines, spectacles and arrange for free surgeries if required.

Meanwhile, the Rythu Bima scheme promises to cover 28 lakh farmers aged between 18 and 59. The government will pay the annual premium of Rs 2,271 per farmer for their insurance.


After nearly two minutes of the rescue operation in Madikeri, Kodagu district, the baby was rescued and handed to the parents.
  • Monday, August 20, 2018 - 12:03

As the intensity of rains in a few parts of Karnataka has reduced and rescue operations are at its fag end, one story of rescue from Madikeri taluk has caught everybody’s attention, including Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. In a video that is doing the rounds on social media, a National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) constable is seen carrying a two-month-old baby, gliding on a zip line, just inches above the fast flowing water.

A 2 month old was brought to safety by rescuers at Thantipala in #Madikeri Taluk #Kodagu district... The infant was later taken to the hospital for precautionary checkup and handed back to the parents. #Kodagu #KodaguFlood #KodaguFloodRelief #KarnatakaRains #Karnataka #KarnatakaFloods #NDRF #IndianArmy #ndrm #India #Floods #Rescue

Posted by StoryInfinity on Sunday, August 19, 2018

The two-month-old was brought to safety by rescuers at Thantipala in Madikeri. With the concern of rising water level, the rescue team from Karwar was initially reluctant to ferry the baby through the cable. However, reassured after five people were ferried across the river as a trial run, the infant was handed over to one of the rescuers. After nearly two minutes, the constable managed to zipline the infant to safety.

The baby was later taken to hospital for a checkup and later handed back to the parents.

By Sunday evening, the Indian Army, Navy and other state and central agencies rescued about 3,500 people marooned in Karnataka's worst flood-hit Kodagu district, even as incessant rains hampered the relief work, said Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in a statement.

Of the hundreds stranded across this flood-hit hilly district, about 270 km from Bengaluru, the 3,500 rescued till Sunday noon have been shifted to 30 relief camps and efforts were on to reach others stranded on hilltops.

The exact number of people still stranded across the district could not be ascertained from the officials.

Located in the Western Ghats mountain ranges, the coffee-growing district is the worst-hit due to the south-west monsoon rains since June first week. The incessant rains have been causing flooding and landslides across the region, damaging the arterial roads.

Much to the relief of the state government and district administration, rains in flood ravaged Kodagu and Malnad region in Karnataka have reduced in intensity, facilitating relief and rescue work.

As of 6.30pm on Sunday, average rainfall in Kodagu was down to 6mm, while the highest was 47mm in Galibidu, Madikeri Taluk.

(Inputs/VIdeo from Mubarak/ StoryInfinity)

The weather department said that a low-pressure belt has turned into a depression in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Monday, August 20, 2018 - 11:04
Image for representation

The Meteorological Department has issued a cyclone warning for the coastal districts in Andhra Pradesh and advised the fishermen against venturing into the sea for the next 24 hours. The department forecasted that heavy rains are likely to occur in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts. 

The department said that a low-pressure belt was formed in the Bay of Bengal which has now turned into a depression, causing heavy rains in the coastal regions. 

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said that strong surface winds from westerly direction speed are reaching 45-50 kmph gusting up to 55 kmph likely along and off coastal Andhra Pradesh.  

It further said that the state of the sea would be ‘rough’ to ‘very rough’ along and off coastal Andhra Pradesh and warned the fishermen not to venture into the sea.  

On Saturday, Nadigama in Krishna district received the highest rainfall in the state at 7 cm, followed by Vijayawada and Prakasam barrage at 6 cm. Tanuku in West Godavari, Amalapuram in East Godavari, Avanigada in Krishna district, Jangamaheswarapuram in Guntur and Kurnool received the lowest rainfall at 1 cm. 

According to a TNIE report, heavy inflows are expected to reach Prakasam Barrage due to heavy rains near Krishna river catchment areas. The water resources department told TNIE that they expect 45,000 cusecs of water from Wyra and other rivers from Telangana. 

On Sunday, the officials opened 10 crest gates of the barrage to let out over 11,000 cusecs of water, the report says. The officials also alerted the villagers surrounding Tammileru reservoir in Chatrai mandal to remain vigilant as there is a heavy inflow of water into the reservoir. 

The IMD also forecasted heavy rainfall in the neighbouring state of Telangana for the next 24 hours. The department predicted heavy rains in Adilabad, Mancherial, Jagitial, Rajanna Sircilla, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, Nirmal and other adjoining districts. 

The department said that the southwest monsoon is active over Telangana which would result in rains at isolated places. 

Mahabubad district recorded the highest rainfall on 15 cm in the state on Saturday followed by Garla and Bayyaram at 13 and 12 cm respectively.