Chennai’s pavement football stars….!!!

A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com meets Chennai’s all-girl street children football team who competed in the Street Child World Cup in Moscow.                                                     

 

Their home may be on a pavement, but their eyes are bright with hope for the future.

Helping them through their rough times is their love for football.

In fact, these Chennai lasses have recently returned from Moscow, where they participated in the Street Child World Cup and won one of the five matches they played.

Their happy smiles mask the hard lives they have led.

One of the girls has been rescued from a child marriage, another from a stainless steel vessels manufacturing factory.

Two had to cope with a drunk father while two were abandoned by their fathers.

Their strength to face their circumstances came from practising advocate Paul Sunder Singh.

Singh’s abiding desire to help Chennai’s street children resulted in Karunalaya in 1995.

His hard work was noticed by the state government and, three years later, they gave him a grant that would allow him to look after 50 children in a shelter. The home now has 60 children.

“We encourage sports. It teaches both competition and discipline,” says Singh, who has a doctorate in criminology.

“We want to give these children a normal childhood and games play an important role in this effort of ours.”

Karunalaya only shelters runaway children from Tamil Nadu; the others are sent back to their home state.

“The biggest problem these children face is that they don’t have birth certificates,” Singh says. “As a result, they don’t have community certificates either and cannot benefit from government aid or schemes.”

“We get them admitted to schools through the Right To Education Act, but the schools want birth certificates which we cannot provide. All they have is Aadhar cards as the government is pushing that. Sadly, the government does not consider our problems.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

IMAGE: The team won one of the five matches they played at the Street Child World Cup in Moscow. Photograph: Kind courtesy Karunalaya

The Street Child World Cup, which was first held 2010, takes place in the city hosting the FIFA World Cup before the much-watched international tournament begins.

India, this year, was represented by an all-girls team from Karunalaya.

This is their third International outing.

In 2014, they sent a boys team to Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janerio.

In 2016, they sent a team of five to participate in the first-ever Street Child Games, also held in Rio de Janerio.

This year’s participants share their story in their own words.

IMAGE: The all-girl Karunalaya football team. Photograph: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com

Sangeeta, 18

I came to this shelter as a child after I was rescued from a steel factory where I was working.

I don’t stay here now. I stay on the pavement at Waltax Road (near Chennai Central railway station) with my mother.

My father was a drunkard who abandoned us.

My elder brother is working and my younger brother is also being educated by Karunalaya.

I studied in a municipal school. In my 12th exams, I got 798/1200 marks.

I want to do BSc in physical education as I like games. Karunalaya is helping me to find a sponsor for my education.

I learnt football in the summer camps that Karunalya conducts.

Nirosha, 15

I study in Class 9.

I was working and looking after my two younger brothers when I was rescued and brought to Karunalaya.

I am here since two years. Before that, I used to stay on the pavement at Mint Street (in Chennai’s commercial centre, George Town).

My younger brothers also stay here.

I study in the Church of South India school.

I have been playing football for two years now.

My mother is a daily wage earner. My dad abandoned us years ago.

Lakshmi, 17

My parents are ragpickers.

They could not repay Rs 2,000 that they had borrowed from a moneylender so they tried to get me married to him.

I escaped to the house of a friend, who also on stayed on our pavement near Koyambedu market.

I was rescued from my friend’s place and brought here four years ago.

I scored 248/500 in my Class 10 exams. I have opted for the arts stream for Class 12.

Later, I want to study social science and become a social worker.

If I get the opportunity, I will continue to play football.

Indu, 14

Karunalaya volunteers used to give tuitions to poor students near my place; that’s how I came to know about them.

My father works and my mother is a housewife.

My elder brother is in college and my younger brother is in Class 7. My father pays for their education.

I have been playing football here since two years.

Every year, we have a tournament in which every street has its own team.

I was lucky to go to Moscow to play. It was a great experience.

Masiya, 14

I am studying in Class 10 and my brother is in Class 11.

I stay on a pavement at Kasimedu.

My father has left us. My mother is a house maid.

I have been playing football for two years.

In Moscow, we managed to get by with English, but some of the other teams spoke different languages.

The matches were played in a friendly atmosphere.

This was the first time I travelled by plane.

Tamilarasi, 14

I am in Class 10.

Karunalaya has been helping me for the last two years now.

My father is a drunkard. When my parents separated, I stayed with my mother.

I have been playing football since two years. I am a good defender so my position in the team is a fullback.

S Gomathi, 14

I study in Class 9.

I stay with my family.

I have been coming since 18 months to play football.

The trip to Moscow was fun. The food was very different, but it was tasty.

We were there for 10 days. We stayed in a nice hotel.

This was my first World Cup.

Every year, we have an inter-street tournament in Chennai. I play regularly. I love football.

Ishwari, 15

I am staying in this shelter since four years. My younger brother is here too.

I have two elder brothers who have started working.

I am studying in Class 10.

My father left us long ago. I have been playing football for three years.

Geeta, 15

I have been with Karunalaya since two-and-a-half years.

My father is a coolie in the market and my mother is a maid.

I am in Class 10 and, later, I want to study science.

I have been playing football since two years and this game is my future.

Source….Ganesh Nadar in http://www.rediff.com

Natarajan

 

 

From China to Chennai, meet three generations of dentists who are as Tamil as Chinese…

Their families moved to Chennai from Hubei province and set-up dental clinics in the Evening Bazaar in the 1930s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The glass doors of the tiny dental clinic swing open to green tiles, wooden panels, lots of dental instruments and neatly stacked bottles and medicine packs. Dr Shieh Hung Sen is inside, dressed in a green linen shirt, attending to a patient with practised deftness, while directing his assistant Nila in flawless Chennai Tamil.

Dr Shieh, who is better known by his Christian name Albert Shieh, is a second-generation Chennaite of Chinese origin. He runs Dr Shieh’s Bright Smile, a 75-year-old clinic, the oldest among the 8 such compact Chinese dental studios dotting the sides of Evening Bazaar Road, Park Town.

“My parents moved from Hubei province in China to Madas some time before the World War II. The Chinese communists were forcibly recruiting people to the army. It was either abscond or die. So my parents along with 8 other families left in the cover of the night to Burma, from where they came to Chennai in boats,” says Albert.

His father, Saw Ma Seng, among others who fled the country, were traditional Chinese dentists who established their business in Park Town in the 1930s. Now, their children and grandchildren are running the operations.

“Dental colleges started in the city only around the 1950s. Yet, our fathers had set up thriving businesses way back in the ’30s and we sons took over when they passed on,” says Albert, who went on to a acquire degree in dentistry from Annamalai University, after finishing his schooling in Bishop Corrie School, Parrys.

Growing up in Chennai

As he reminisces of the Chennai of his youth, Albert, who specialises in denture making, prods open his patient’s mouth and fixes a perfect set of lower front dentures on his gums.

“The best days of my life in Chennai were my school days. We used to play cricket in the Park Town grounds until late evenings. I spoke English and Tamil with my friends group and at home we spoke Mandarin (Hubei dialect),” smiles Albert, who can also read and write Tamil. Albert also understands Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi, and even attempts speaking them occasionally.

“Today is Tamil New Year. You must be celebrating Vishu since you are a Malayali, right?” he asks this reporter with a smile.

Now married with two children, a son and a daughter, Albert reveals that his family speaks Tamil, Chinese and English at home.

“I got married to my wife, Hu Yu Kwan, who is from one of the families in the community itself. However, now the community is not as close-knit as we were, with the older generation passing on,” he says.

In his childhood, the families would get together every Chinese New Year and feast.

“The Chinese New Year’s Eve is a special day for us and the entire community gathers for a feast, which is a grand affair with Wuhan (Hubei cuisine) delicacies of Changyu fish and Sou Chin (stir fry) Chicken. It’s nothing like what you get in the Chinese restaurants in the city,” says Albert, who shares an equal and impartial love for south Indian cuisine too.

“Ïdly, dosa, sambhar and all other dishes I relish. My wife makes the best rasam and kaara kolambu, I feel. In fact, my son’s friends used to ask him if his mum was Tamilian or Chinese after tasting the lunches she used to pack for his school,” he adds with a shy smile.

Albert’s son, Joshua, is a practicing dentist in Canada and, interestingly, is married to a Tamil woman.

“When I was a kid, my mother used to threaten me that if I married outside of the community she would disown me. When I got married, I had a traditional two-day Chinese wedding and a church wedding. Now, times have changed; my daughter-in-law is Tamil and we had a register marriage along with a reception here in Chennai,” says Albert.

The family members are practicing Seventh Day Adventists who had earlier adopted Roman Catholicism. Over the years, many from the community have diverged to different denominations within Christianity.

In the next clinic, David Ma, also known as You Chang Ma, Albert’s nephew, is a Jehovah’s Witness and runs Venfa, a clinic started by his father. Unlike Albert, David belongs to the third generation of the Chinese diaspora settled in the city.

“I don’t have many ties to Hubei. All my life I have known this city. My favourite food is the karuvattu kolambu or the dried fish that you get here. I’m married to an Indian girl, who is from Sikkim. In fact, I had an arranged marriage and went all the way to Sikkim to find my wife, since they look similar to us,” David says with a chuckle.

From Kung fu to Kollywood

Emphasising that they don’t watch Chinese films but for the occasional Jackie Chan Kung fu movie that is released in Chennai, Albert and David reveal that they enjoy Tamil cinema, especially the songs.

“I love old Tamil songs. There are some beautiful songs from Mudhal Mariyathai,” says David as he hums ‘Poongatre’ from the Sivaji Ganesan-starrer.

While David had no qualms about breaking into song, his uncle is more of a closet musician.

“He is usually singing all the time. He loves SPB and sings very well,” his assistant Nila tells TNM.

Albert is a fan of Suriya too and says he is excited about Kamal Haasan’s entry into politics. Apart from this, the dentist also boasts of a few famous friends from the industry.

“Prabhu, Sarathkumar and drummer Sivamani are all my close friends. I became close Prabhu and Sarathkumar as an athlete in school when we met at an inter-school sports competition. We meet once in a while when I am in town,” says Albert, who migrated to Canada with his wife a few months ago and shuttles between Chennai and Ontario.

The future

The Chinese clinics like Albert’s and David’s cater to the local population in Park Town.

“We have a thriving business and clients who have been consulting us and our fathers before us. They trust us and we have sort of established a brand here in Chennai,” says David.

Although many of their relatives have migrated to the US, Canada and other parts of the world, David and Albert remain rooted to the city.

“Although I keep going to Canada, I can’t let go of my business here and most of the year I’m in Chennai,” says Albert.

And despite this mass migration to several parts of the world, none of the Chinese in Chennai have returned to their home province of Hubei.

“I once visited China on a packaged tour with my wife. We couldn’t visit our native place as we couldn’t break away from the others.I have a few cousins there and I hope to visit them once in my lifetime,” says Albert.

However, Chennai remains in their hearts even as they search for better prospects elsewhere.

“I have never felt like an outsider. Chennai has and will always remain one of the most welcoming cities here. My sentiments for this city, in IPL language would be Namma Chennai-ku oru whistle podu,” David concludes with a grin.

Source…… https://www.thenewsminute.com

Natarajan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Sivalingam battled pain to snatch another C’wealth gold….

‘I had no hopes of winning a medal after I injured my thighs during the National Championships while attempting 194 kg in clean and jerk. ‘

‘Even now I am competing at less than ideal fitness, but I am glad that was enough to get me a gold.’                                                                                                                                       

Defending champion Sathish Sivalingam (77 kg) claimed India’s third gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday, emerging triumphant despite having given up podium hopes after his injured thighs made even routine things like sitting painful.

The 25-year-old Indian lifted a total 317 kg (144+173) and was so ahead in the competition that he forfeited his final clean and jerk lift.

“I had no hopes of winning a medal after I injured my thighs during the National Championships while attempting 194 kg in clean and jerk. It’s a quadriceps problem; even now I am competing at less than ideal fitness, but I am glad that was enough to get me a gold,” said Sathish, after the medal presentation ceremony during which he was accorded a warm applause from the packed arena.

“I was in so much pain that even sitting was very painful for me. Everyone took care of me, gave me hope but I was not very confident. I had not trained that hard and my body was not at its best, and so how could I hope for a medal,” added the Tamil Nadu lifter.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 07: Gold medalist Sathish Kumar Sivalingam of India poses during the medal ceremony for the Men’s 77kg Weightlifting Final on day three of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on April 7, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a fascinating contest of one-upmanship between Sathish and eventual silver-medallist Jack Oliver of England in the snatch competition.

The two kept upping the weights before their attempts but Oliver kept his nose ahead at the end of snatch as he lifted 145 kg in his second attempt. It was a kilogram more than Satish’s final attempt.

However, Satish had the last laugh in clean and jerk after Oliver failed two attempts of 171kg and settled for a total of 312 kg (145+167).

The bronze medal went to Australian showman Francois Etoundi, who lifted 305 kg (136+169) and collapsed clutching his injured shoulder after his final lift.

“I got lucky there, had he (Oliver) not dropped those weights, I would have had to go higher and I am not sure how my body would have taken that. I am quite relieved actually.”

At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Sathish won the gold medal with 149 kg snatch and 179 kg clean and jerk lifts, totalling 328 kg. His lift of 149 kg in snatch continues to be the Games record.

“I didn’t want to touch that level because I still need to undergo rehabilitation. The fact that the access to our physio was limited made it all the more difficult. I just hope that we get a physio with us at the Asian Games,” said Sathish, once again highlighting the problems the weightlifters are facing due to the lack of accessibility of their physios in the competition area.

Sathish is also the reigning Commonwealth Championships gold-medallist.

“I hope to do even better in the Asian Games because there is a gap now. Earlier, the Asian Games used to come within 20-25 days of the Commonwealth Games, which didn’t give us enough time to prepare. But this time I have got time to prepare and be fully fit now,” he said.

Tags: Jack OliverKumar SivalingamSathish SivalingamFrancois EtoundiIMAGE

Source:   www.rediff.com

Natarajan

Meet Gururaja…CWG 2018 Medallist…

‘His victory is our victory,” said his family as they watched him bag the silver medal in weightlifting, in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 7.30 am on Thursday morning all eyes in the Poojary household in Vanse, a tiny village near Kundapur in Karnataka, were glued to the television.

One of their own, Gururaja Poojary, was taking part in the men’s 56-kg weightlifting competition in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. After failing to lift the weight of 138 kg in his first two attempts, it appeared as if Gururaja’s medal prospects were slipping away

The 25-year old weightlifter, however, was the very picture of strength in his final attempt to take his final tally to 249 kg and clinch the silver medal.

This medal in the Gold Coast is not only Gururaja’s first taste of success on the international stage right on his debut, but is also the product of a journey where he overcame poverty and personal setbacks to reach where he is.

But for his family members, it came as no surprise.

He comes from a sporting family – all five of his brothers dabbled in Kabaddi and were athletes. “But it was Gururaj who was always going to achieve his dream,” says Manohar Poojary, Gururaja’s elder brother.

Gururaja’s father, Mahabala Poojary, is a goods-truck driver, who struggled to make ends meet to take care of his six sons. “Poverty is something we have lived in all our life. If we were a little bit well-off financially or received the necessary support and encouragement, maybe all of my sons could have made our country proud,” says Mahabala, speaking after his son’s success in Australia.

But due to poverty and unforeseen circumstances at home, Gururaja’s older brothers – Mohan, Manohar, Udaya and Rajendra – had to drop out of school and, with that, from sports. Only Gururaja and his youngest brother, Rajesh, completed their studies amongst the six sons.

His mother, Padhu Poojarthi, is a homemaker.

But his family was not willing to let Gururaja tread the same path. “Our father worked extra hard to ensure that Gururaja strove to achieve his dream. Seeing my father’s and brother’s struggles, even we chipped-in, taking on extra work to help in whatever way we could. Today, his victory is as much our victory,” says Manohar.

While studying at Sri Dharmastala Manjunatheshwara (SDM) College in Ujire, in Dakshina Kannada, Gururaja was looking for a wrestling coach rather than a weightlifting one. This was around the time Sushil Kumar had won his first Olympic medal in wrestling in 2008. While his search for a wrestling coach proved to be fruitless, he met powerlifters at the local gym and was soon representing his college in powerlifting.

It was here he met his coach Rajendra Prasad, who gave him his first lessons in weightlifting.”I still remember, in 2011, Gururaja was a young boy who had just joined a graduation course. He was a Kabaddi player and a wrestler, and did not have any idea about powerlifting. We selected him for the club and, seeing his talent, guided him in powerlifting,” says Rajendra Prasad, who works as a coach at the SDM Sports Club.

He added that Gururaja was proficient at the University level and even broke a record set by him in 1999 by lifting 193 kg (total in snatch and knee jerk) in 2012. He improved to 243 kg in 2015, a record which still stands to this day.

It was only in 2013 that he became a national-level athlete and in 2014, after a gold medal at the national-level, he started becoming a serious contender for a Commonwealth Games berth.

With his superlative rise in the sport, Gururaja also enrolled in the Indian Air Force three years ago, after which the Air Force took care of all the training expenses. “Until then, it was the family, college-mates and generous philanthropists who gave wings to his dream, hoping he would bring glory to the region,” says Manohar.

By the time the financial strain on his family was eased, 25-year-old Gururaja was ready to take on the world stage.

With the win in Australia, he has now vaulted straight into the national limelight and Pramod Madhwaraj, Karnataka Minister for Youth, Fisheries and Sport, who also hails from Udupi, said that Gururaja is likely to get a government job as a group-B officer and also a cash prize for his achievements.

When TNM caught up with Gururaja, he was, understandably, elated. “I am very happy that I have represented India in the Commonwealth Games and won the first silver medal for India (this year). This is my first Commonwealth Games and I want to thank my parents, family, my weightlifting coach Rajendra Prasad, SDM institution and everyone from my village who supported me,” he says.

His family members, who were nervously watching from home, was over the moon. Although his mother says she doesn’t quite understand the world of sport, she adds she is overwhelmed by the media visits.

But Gururaja’s family was quick to add that the journey is still not over. “We want him to make our country proud. Our biggest dream is that he participates and wins in the Olympics,” says Mahabala.

There is still some way to go before Gururaja can qualify for the Olympics. His final tally of 249 kgs will have to improve closer to 300 kgs. But throughout his journey, he has broken barriers and after his latest success in Australia, Gururaja will no doubt be willing to go the mile to chase his Olympic dream.

Source…….Harsha Raja Gatty and Prajwal Bhat in https://www.thenewsminute.com

Natarajan

This 69 year old Man has helped start free Libraries across Chennai , and YOU can too !

No membership, no one to supervise, and no last date to return books: Mahendra Kumar’s libraries run on no rules, and plenty of goodwill.

Chennai-based Mahendra Kumar speaks about reading and books with reverence and passion. “It is a character-building activity,” he says earnestly.

In April 2015, he decided to do something which he hoped would encourage people to read: He opened a library in Thirumullaivoyal, Chennai.

It wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill library. The most unique part about it wasn’t even that it was set up in a cement shop, where 69-year-old Mahendra shared a table with the shopkeeper.

What truly set it apart was there was no membership fee, no register to keep track. Literally anyone could walk in, pick up one of the 20 books, and take it home. They could return it whenever they wanted.   

This was the first Read and Return Free Library (RFL). Now, Mahendra says that there are 66 of them across TN, and a few other states, with 10,000 books in all.

His first library in Thirumillaivoyal has now expanded to three cupboards, which he keeps outside his house,bursting with books. It stands completely unmanned.

“I could have kept a register perhaps, where people could sign with the book they were taking,” he adds as an afterthought. But Mahendra snaps out of it the very next moment. “I wanted no protocols, no control. Just people free to read and return books, as per their conscience.”

Encouraging others

Presently, there are 48 RFL libraries in Chennai alone. The others are in Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Aurangabad and Mumbai.

But setting these up has not been an easy task. Unable to travel to these places himself, Mahendra would try to convince others to start such libraries.

“I would sometimes see contact numbers in books. Someone who has written an introduction or a foreword – I’d try to find their numbers. I would try to convince them then to start this in their locality. And I would send whatever little money I could to help them,” Mahendra shares.

One such person he convinced was a former classmate of his, Captain R Venkataraman, who started a RFL library in T Nagar, Chennai, in 2016.

“But there are only so many friends or family members who can be convinced,” Mahendra says. “If there are 66 libraries today, you can assume I made 6,000 calls for them.”

Not as easy as it seems

In the past two years, RFL libraries have sprung up in many different places – gated communities, railway stations, hospitals and even a barber shop.

RFL at a Railway Station….

Mahendra is reluctant to share that this has required a considerable amount of legwork and resources from him. He believes it will discourage people, and make them wary of starting more RFLs.

“When people initially came to know about the concept, they wanted to donate books. So I would speak to a few of them, start at 5 am in the morning, make a round with multiple stops and come back with a car full of books,” he recounts. “Sometimes, I would sleep in the car because I’d get tired.”

The problem was that everyone wanted to donate books, but no one wanted to start the library. “Sometimes, people seemed on board with the idea, but they don’t really follow it up with action. I have been wanting to start one RFL library in Bengaluru as well, and got a volunteer too. But they have not really taken it forward after that.”

Mahendra says that he is ready to send some books, and whatever token amount he can from his pocket to help them get started, if only people volunteer.

He also mentions that he is grateful for his wife, who has never raised an objection against him going around the city at odd hours to collect books, and spending money for the RFLs.

Helping students

Mahendra put together the RFL website in 2016. While he is not very familiar with the internet, he says that he somehow learnt some basics and put it together. “The logo looks very childish, no? I made it on Microsoft Paint,” he says, sounding anxious.

The sole purpose for starting the website, he says, is to promote something called ‘Students Corner’.

It allows students to post requirements for second-hand course books, as well as if they have books to donate. Once they fill a form under that section on the site, other students can see it and get in touch. The donor can either mail the books or have them collected by the recipient, as per convenience.

However, Mahendra rues that this has not become as popular as he would have liked it to be.

He also wishes for more people to start RFLs in their localities. “But, it is quite simple really. You just have to see it from time to time to ensure that the infrastructure, wherever you’ve put it, is okay. You can also start it, madam!” he says, cheerfully.

Source…..Geetika Mantri in https://www.thenewsminute.com/

Natarajan

Green Glory: This Indian State Is Ahead of Denmark and Sweden In Wind Energy!!!

With 14.3% of its energy needs being fulfilled through wind and solar energy, it is also a global leader in renewable energy!

In a recent report, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis(IEEFA), a US-based think tank, ranked Tamil Nadu as one of the top nine markets in the world for acquiring a high percentage of net energy needs from renewable energy sources.

The study was an assessment of the top 15 countries or power markets in the world, where the share of solar and wind energy in proportion to their total energy requirements is high. Denmark leads the way, with 53% of its energy coming from renewable sources in 2017, followed by Southern Australia and Uruguay.

In 2016-17, Tamil Nadu acquired 14.3% of its energy needs from wind and solar energy sources.

“Tamil Nadu also leads India in installed renewable energy capacity. Of the total 30 GW of installed capacity across the state as of March 2017, variable wind and solar power accounted for 9.6 GW or 32% of the total. Firm hydroelectricity added another 2.2 GW or 7%, nuclear 8% and biomass and run of river, 3%. As such, zero emissions capacity represents a leading 50% of Tamil Nadu’s total installed renewable energy. With much of Tamil Nadu’s renewable energy coming from end-of-life wind farms installed 15-25 years ago, average utilisation rates are a low 18%, making the contribution of variable renewables to total generation even more impressive,” says the IEEFA report.

Total installed renewable energy capacity for Tamil Nadu stands at approximately 10,800 megawatts (MW), of which 7870 MW comes from wind and 1,697 MW solar, while the rest comes from biomass and small hydro projects. Although it comes third in solar energy capacity behind Andhra Pradesh (2,010 MW) and Rajasthan (1,961 MW), the state tops the charts in wind power capacity ahead of Gujarat (5429 MW) and Maharashtra (4,752 MW). Tamil Nadu generates more wind energy than Sweden (6.7 GW) and Denmark (5.5 GW), the birthplace of wind energy.

“This rise in renewables is predicted to coincide with a slide in coal’s share in Tamil Nadu’s electricity mix, from 69% in 2017 to 42% 10 years later,” says the World Economic Forum. The state has also diversified into biogas and small hydro plants as well.

“As of March 2017, the state had 1 GW of biomass and run-of-river small-scale hydro, 2.2 GW of conventional hydroelectricity, and 1 GW of gas fired power capacity operational (plus another 1 GW of gas under construction),” reports the IEEFA. In an interesting aside, it also hosts the second largest solar farm (Kamuthi) in the country with a capacity of 648 MW.

This is a heartening development as it comes a time when the Government of India has set a target of sourcing 175 gigawatts of energy from renewable sources by 2022.

When it comes to renewable energy in India, one could consider Tamil Nadu as a pioneer of sorts. Most of its wind farms, for example, were built approximately 25 years back.

The natural conditions in the state favour the growth and development of solar and wind energy. The Tamil Nadu coast receives high wind density and velocity. For six months it receives heavy wind flows, while four months see moderate flows. Also, the state receives 300 or more days of sunshine.

The state’s sojourn into renewable energy began as an emergency attempt to fill the growing deficit between supply and demand of power.

Major industries like automotive parts, textiles, cement and leather-tanning, for example, demanded large amounts of power and consequently, the feed-in tariff (payments to ordinary energy users—people or businesses—for the renewable electricity they generate) for the wind energy sector was encouraging.

The price at which wind energy is sold to the people today is determined at an open auction for power utilities. Earlier, the state power regulators had a stranglehold on determining prices but changed to an auction system in 2016.

With the local textile sector first grabbing the bull by its horns, Tamil Nadu also became one of the first states to allow industrial units to establish their own wind power plants. These 20-year-old wind farms owned by the Tamil Nadu Spinning Mills Association (TASMA) generates a little less than 40% of the state’s total wind energy capacity (3000 MW). The Muppandal wind farm outside Madurai, for example, generates 1.5 GW of energy, making it the largest wind farm outside China.

With favourable tariff conditions, the state also made serious progress in the solar energy arena.

“In recent years, the government has also worked to improve its transmission infrastructure, encouraging firms to expand. Since renewable energy is infirm, managing the fluctuation in power generation is key. Tamil Nadu has begun forecasting the flow so that the grid is ready to handle things,” says this recent report in Quartz India.

Having said that, the IEEFA has argued in its report titled ‘Electricity Transformation in India: A Case Study of Tamil Nadu’, it argued how the state’s growth in wind and solar energy generation isn’t enough.

“Tamil Nadu should double its wind energy capacity to 15GW and increase its solar capacity to 13.8GW by 2026-27 to deliver cheaper electricity to customers,” the report said.

Instead, what the state is doing is looking to build 25,000 MW of thermal power projects. “Despite being a world leader in wind energy, Tamil Nadu’s wind farms have ageing and outdated technology. Upgrading the existing turbines alone could double the state’s leading wind energy capacity,” said Tim Buckley, IEEFA’s director of energy finance studies, Australia.

There are other concerns, as well. “Renewable energy assets in Tamil Nadu are facing significant back down (as state power utilities are buying little power from these plants). This adversely impacts their feasibility,” Kanika Chawla, a renewable energy expert at Delhi-based non-profit Council on Energy, Environment, and Water, told Quartz India.

Primarily, the major concerns stem from state regulation-related issues. For starters, the state-owned power utility Tangedco has proposed an additional imposition of taxes on rooftop solar plants, says this Times of India report.

Last July, Tamil Nadu was unable to use all the solar power it generated. In the wind energy sector, the government could stymie TASMA’s ability to drawing back the excess power it delivers to the power grid in the event of a shortage (wind banking). What one must understand is that TASMA generates and delivers excess wind energy to the power grid.

However, the biggest concern is the dire financial condition of the state power utility. In 2016-17, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) posted a loss of Rs 3,783 crore, besides year-long delays in the payment of dues to power-generating units.

As a result, these power generation units are unable to repay loans they had taken from the banks to install all the necessary equipment. The poor state of regulation in the state’s power sector is a real concern.

Source….  

in http://www.the betterindia.com

Natarajan

 

 

After Coimbatore’s Water Table Collapsed, This Simple Initiative Revived It…Thanks to ” Siruthuli “

As cities across India are facing a severe shortage of water, Coimbatore has been trying to preserve and recharge its groundwater levels. At the forefront of this change is Siruthuli, an NGO that is dedicated to cleaning Coimbatore, and infusing green methods throughout the city!

Coimbatore, which was once a place of abundant rainfall, was shaken to reality following a drought in 2003.

As part of its initiative to recharge groundwater levels in the city, Siruthuli has implemented rainwater harvesting structures (RWH).                                               

“In 2003, Coimbatore received 65% less rainfall than in previous years. This made us release the need to save water, and harvest it when there was adequate rainfall,” says Shruthi Suresh, a representative of the organisation.

The organisation conducted a series of geo-hydrological studies in 2005, to better analyse how to approach the conservation of groundwater in the region. In association with the Corporation of Coimbatore, Siruthuli began conducting rainwater harvesting structures in various locations across the city.

However, one of the significant challenges of the construction was the fact that Coimbatore was primarily a hard rock structure, and thus percolation of water was difficult. The organisation persevered and came up with the idea of drilling bore wells for groundwater.

“We came up with this technique to recharge the groundwater. We recommended two types of structures using this technique. The first simply recharges the aquifers, while the other not only recharges but also pumps the harvested waters so that it can be used,” she explains.

According to Shruthi, the structures are installed in both open spaces, as well as on roadsides.

Today, thanks to the efforts of this organisation, Coimbatore has more than 600 rainwater harvesting structures in different locations across the city.

However, on average it has been observed that the open spaces have seen a much higher level of maintenance than the ones on the roadside ones. There have been instances where some of the roadside RWH structures have been shut down for new roads and construction.

However, the organisation is optimistic and has seen significant growth in groundwater tables, from the time the wells have been implemented. This can be seen in the table below:

The water that is harvested from the ground is what is used extensively for not only daily use but as drinking water. It, therefore, becomes imperative for the citizens of the city, to maintain and use the water judiciously.

Today, even with a shortage of water, Coimbatore maintains stable and sustainable groundwater tables.

This initiative goes along with one of the organisation’s chief objectives, titled, “Water Watch,” under which, they aim to not only recharge groundwater, but also rejuvenate water bodies, and restore the River Noyyal. The river, which once had 34 streams, is now reduced to just four.

In the future, Siruthuli plans to conduct a comprehensive study of the entire region. This will be done to better understand natural drains, vegetation, groundwater levels, land use, and livelihoods. The study will form the basis for developing watershed concepts, RWH structures, and more. These will be applied across Coimbatore, after a series of awareness campaigns.

Siruthuli has also been involved in spreading the message of going green and educating the next generation for the same.

You can read about their initiatives here!

Source…..Anakha Arikara  in http://www.the better india .com

Natarajan

 

Hyderabad Girl Scripts History, Wins India’s First Gymnastics Medal in World Cup…!

The Gymnastics World Cup 2018 in Melbourne will go down in history as India got its first ever bronze medal in the women’s vault event.

The feat was achieved by Aruna Reddy, who finished after Slovenia’s Tjasa Kysslef and Australia’s Emily Whitehead, with a score of 13.649. A total of 16 countries were part of the World Cup series event this year.

The 22-year old dedicated her stupendous win to her late father, B Narayana Reddy, who had been instrumental for his daughter’s entry into the field.                     

Aruna with her Bronze medal. Source: Facebook.

Realising that Aruna had the agility and build for a gymnast, Narayana had her enrolled at the Lal Bahadur Shastri stadium in Hyderabad at the age of five.

“I owe everything to him, and if he had been alive and seen me on the podium today, he would have been so happy. He was there in my days of struggle, but couldn’t watch me win,” said an emotional Aruna to The Indian Express.

The Hyderabadi lass, who is a former black belt and Karate trainer, had initially trained under the guidance of coaches Swarnalatha and Ravinder. Later, Swarnalatha’s husband Giriraj took over as Aruna’s mentor after realising her immense potential and was her instructor until his untimely death in 2008.

Then, coach Brij Kishore took Aruna under his wing, and it is under his guidance that the budding gymnast blossomed and went on to clinch many medals at three National Games she had participated in, with the first one being in 2005.

In 2014, Aruna had aroused some hope for Indian gymnasts when she secured the 14th position at the qualification round of Vault apparatus at the Commonwealth Games along with a ninth place finish at the Asian Games.

Aruna came back to the fore when she had finished sixth in Vault during the 2017 Asian Championships.

The young athlete is determined to give her finest performance in the upcoming international events.

“The sad thing about this sport is that once you cross the age of 23-24, it becomes difficult to perform because the body doesn’t remain as flexible. A gymnast’s career is short. That’s why I want to make the most out of things before I turn 23,” she told Deccan Chronicle.

Aruna is also part of the Indian gymnastics contingent for the 2018 Commonwealth Games which will be held in Gold Coast, Australia.

We congratulate the young woman on her extraordinary win and wish her luck in all her future endeavours.

Source….www.the betterindia.com

natarajan

 

 

At 103, This Karnataka Man is one of the oldest Drivers on the Country”s streets Today …

Willy’s, Morris Minor, Fiat, Austin, Ferguson, Mercedes Benz, Chevrolet, Volkswagen – these are just among the few brands 103-year-old CSR Michael D’Souza has driven.

A veteran of World War II, Michael has been driving for the last 85 years.

But giving up his car keys is simply not an option for him. “I enjoy driving and never got tired of it. I will continue to drive till the lord sends me his vehicle,” he smiles.

A native of Ooty, Michael was born to Charlson and Mary D’Souza on October 16th, 1914. Michael’s first tryst with a vehicle was at the age of 18, when he and his 13 siblings drove around Ooty in his father’s truck.

“The licence issued then was a page-long and it was applicable for all vehicles. Unlike today, there was no such thing as a licence based on vehicle category,” he says.

In 1932, he was enlisted in the British Army for 10 years and during his service he travelled to different parts of the country.

“However, due to the loss of my original military documents during transit in Visakhapatnam, my post-service benefits were denied to me. Though I appealed to my superiors for several years, I gave up realising it was a lost cause,” he says.

Meanwhile, Michael married Eliza, and the couple moved to the erstwhile Madras Presidency. Though they had no children, it was a happy marriage, he says, and they regarded the children of his elder brother as their own.

A few years later, Michael joined the Public Works Department (PWD) in Mysore and later he was transferred to Mangalore. At PWD, Michael had the chance to drive the general purpose vehicle, affectionately called ‘Jeep’ (GP). He also was given the opportunity to drive a truck, tractors and even road rollers.

“It was quite an experience, since the department barely had qualified man-power to operate such heavy-duty machines. I was asked to drive everything and I took the opportunity to make the most of it,” he laughs.

In fact, several roads in Mysore, Udupi and Mangalore were first asphalted and sealed when he drove the road roller over them.

In 1982, he retired from service, but the couple stayed on in Mangalore.

Michael got his first license in 1959, and he has renewed it constantly since then.

“On my last visit, the RTO inspector said in jest that should I make it for my next renewal in 2019, then he will award me the permit driving for a lifetime,” Michael smiles.

Considering he has driven so many vehicles, which one does he prefer?

“The GP,” he says, without missing a beat. “It does not skid and in unstable territory you can also shift to a lower gear and drive.”

He has only driven a two-wheeler once. “I got so dizzy, I stopped immediately. I am only cut out to driver vehicles with four wheels or more,” he says.

Except for a brief period in 1993 when he had a cataract surgery, Michael has never stopped driving. At the ripe age of 103, his medical records show that he is incredibly fit for his age and shows no signs of age-related ailments.

His secret, he says, is his diet, which comprises rice, curd, chapathi and bread. Although, up until a couple of years ago, he used to consume meat frequently, lately he has reduced his intake of non-vegetarian food.

“As our age progresses, I believe we should not strain our stomachs. Therefore, nowadays I eat meat only rarely,” he says.

He is also incredibly active – no matter the number of floors, he always takes the stairs.

After Eliza passed away in 2013 – at the age of 83 – Michael’s routine changed. He now wakes up at 4 am every morning to tend to his garden and feed his cat, dog and birds. “Earlier, I used to even have a goat, a chicken and a duck. My wife was very irritated with the tortoise I had, so I had to give him up,” he says.

Always dressed in a formal shirt, pants and a golfer’s hat, Michael still works – he now drives for a local banker and his family. The one concession he does make for his age is that he now avoids going on long drives and driving late in the night.

What does Michael think of drivers today? “Terrible!” he shakes his head. “People just don’t follow lane discipline any more. It’s horrible the way autorickshaws and two-wheelers switch lanes these days. One of the main reasons I don’t drive in the evening is how people thoughtlessly switch on their high beams even on well-lit roads. It can easily lead to an untoward incident.”

In his 85 years behind the wheel, Michael says he has been fined only once for not wearing a seatbelt. “Three months ago, when I was fined, I went to the station to pay the fine. The inspector took the receipt, laughed when he saw my age and the fact I was being fined for the first time, and said he will pay the fine on my behalf and let me go,” smiles Michael.

Ironically, Michael does not own a car, although the centenarian does not regret it. “As long as I am allowed to drive a car, I don’t have any qualms about it,” he says.

Content provided by Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP).

Source….Harsha Raj Gatty in https://www.thenewsminute.com/

Natarajan

 

He is 100 and She is 99…Meet the Kerala Couple celebrating 82 years of Marriage …

The Kottayam-based couple studied in the same school and later went on to marry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ask Madhavan Nair and Meenakshi Amma for how long they have been married, and 99-year-old Meenakshi Amma creases her forehead, as if lost in deep thought. Sitting beside her, 100-year-old Madhavan Nair does not need much prodding to remember the year they got married – Malayalam calendar year 1111.

Meenakshi Amma nods in agreement.  “See, he still remembers it so clearly!” she says, breaking into laughter.

(Malayalam calendar year 1111 is the year 1936. According to Malayalam calendar, 2018 is the year 1193.)

The duo celebrated 82 years of their marriage in December 2017 and the milestone also coincided with Madhavan Nair’s 100th birthday.

In their house near Pallikkathode in Kerala’s Kottayam district, Madhavan Nair – who used to be an active member of the Congress party – and his wife Meenakshi Amma, continue to live their “happily ever after” to this day.

When TNM visited the couple, Madhavan Nair and Meenakshi Amma shared their eight decades-long love story. Although the duo first met in school at the age of 8, little did they know that the coming years would bring them together. After a few years of studying in the same class, both Madhavan Nair and Meenakshi Amma moved to different schools.

Together in youth and old age

Having known each other since a very young age, Madhavan Nair and Meenakshi Amma have retold their wedding story many a time to their children, explaining how theirs had been an arranged marriage and not a love marriage. The couple have five children together, all of whom stay in Kottayam.

“It is true that we knew each other from school. We had seen each other, but hadn’t spoken much. What do school kids have to talk to each other at that age? Years later, our families decided to get us married. So that’s how it happened,” Madhavan Nair says.

Asked about the wedding, Madhavan Nair’s recollection is matter-of-fact: “It was a simple ceremony, no pomp and show like today’s weddings. The wedding took place at her (Meenakshi Amma) house. I tied the thaali around her neck, gave her the pudava (saree) and there was a meal afterwards. That’s how simple the wedding was.”

After a moment’s pause, Madhavan Nair continues: “During our times, nobody got married in temples like now, and young people never eloped! The weddings used to happen at the brides’ house.”

When asked whether they feel the weight of 82 long years, the two of them smile. This writer was charmed to see Madhavan Nair’s toothless grin while Meenakshi Amma guffawed loudly, displaying her perfectly aligned teeth.

The years where Madhavan Nair was involved in party and social work had not been easy on his family, he admits. The odd working hours and the long absence from home did not exactly bode well for a harmonious family life. But Meenakshi Amma is in no mood to send her husband on a guilt trip.

“People would come to get him. He would go with them and share whatever knowledge he had. It never bothered me, since I knew he was going on work and not for anything else. He would return home after work for sure,” Meenakshi Amma says.

However, Madhavan Nair has for long withdrawn from his years of active social life, and now spends most of his time at home. While minor health issues do trouble Meenakshi Amma, Madhavan Nair likes to dismiss age-related woes.

Despite having to rely on a walking stick, the 100-year-old is young at heart.

“I walk around the house and the yard at times. With this walking stick, I can walk as far as I can. But I am not so young any more, I have no teeth left and I don’t think I look good with this toothless grin!” Madhavan Nair says.

Visuals by Lenin CV

Source….Megha Varier in https://www.thenewsminute.com

Natarajan