Sunday, March 27, 2011

Man held for dumping waste in lake

Amid rising concern over environmental pollution in Coimbatore, city police have arrested a 20-year-old employee of a restaurant for allegedly dumping garbage in the Valankulam lake in the city.

An employee of a popular restaurant in Gandhipuram, S Thangaraj (20), was caught red-handed as he dumped restaurant garbage into the Valankulam canal on late Friday evening, police said. A police team from Race Course police station who were on patrol duty near the canal picked him up and took him to the station.

"Our police team caught him as he was dumping the waste into the canal," said TH Ganesan, inspector, Race Course police station. Thangaraj was booked under section 277 of the Indian Penal Code for polluting public spring or reservoir and rendering it unfit for public usage.' If convicted, he can be sentenced to a jail term of three months or slapped with a penalty of `500 or both. The accused has now been let off on bail.

Once a clean, shimmering lake and a home to migratory birds, the Valankulam lake has now turned into a dumping site for construction debris, untreated sewage and garbage. Maintenance of eight city lakes including Valankulam was recently handed over to the city corporation by the Public Works Department. The corporation has mooted a `127 crore proposal to privatise the maintenance of the lakes and convert them to tourist spots, triggering objections from environmentalists who insist that wetlands should not be used for entertainment.

Surrounded by greenery and forests, Coimbatore has been witnessing protests from its eco-conscious residents over felling of trees and dumping of waste in wetlands. In a landmark ruling to save greenery in the city, the civil court in its order on February 24 asked a city resident, who had cut down trees in an apartment complex, to pay a fine of Rs 12,000 and plant 40 saplings in the city.

Two held in fake admission racket

The city crime branch has busted a fake admission racket targeting students seeking seats in medical and engineering colleges in and around Coimbatore district. Two persons including an engineering graduate was arrested following a complaint from a medical seat aspirant who had allegedly paid Rs five lakh.

Police are also probing whether the accused have any links with other fake admission racketeers operating in the city. "We received a complaint that they were discretely running an admission racket targeting college students aspiring for medical and engineering seats," said M Selvarajan, assistant commissioner, city crime branch.

City police commissioner C Sylendra Babu received a complaint from Nibin Chrise from Nagercoil district and his relative Ashokan, a resident, against P Sivaprakash (33) and R Rajeshwaran (35), who had allegedly accepted Rs 5 lakh from Nibin for a medical seat last year. Sivaprakash is a resident of Kalveeranpalayam near Bharathiar University campus and is a mechanical engineering graduate from Government College of Technology in Coimbatore. Rajeshwaran hails from Dharmapuri and was pursuing a bachelor's degree in physiotherapy, before he became acquainted with Sivaprakash.
"They were operating without any registration or office. Sivaprakash has claimed that he had a brief stint as an associate professor in some private institution," Selvarajan added.

According to the police complaint, Nibin was aspiring for a medical seat in any prominent medical college in Western Tamil Nadu. The duo approached his family and promised to get him a seat if they were given an advance commission of `5 lakh. The payment was made in cash in June 2010. However, Nibin failed to get admission last year and the duo started dodging him and his family whenever they tried to contact them. They have also accused Sivaprakash of threatening them on more than one occasion when they demanded their money back.

"We are now probing whether there are others who have fallen prey to their scam," said Selvarajan. In another case, Radhakrishnan, a resident of Kanyakumari district, had filed an FIR with the city police alleging that he was cheated of Rs 18.5 lakh by agents who promised him a seat for a professional course. The police are now probing into the matter and trying to ascertain whether the arrested duo is involved in this case too.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ray of life for stray animals

A punch song from a Vijay starrer rages on and the star couple of Simbhu and Trisha frisk around in a picturesque farm at Vilankurichi. And then Gilli runs in. No, it's not a filmy glitz. It's a street dogs' party at activist Kalpana Vasudevan's animal farm. In rural Coimbatore, Kalpana's animal farm is perhaps the largest with seventy stray dogs, four donkeys, two horses and ten cats.
Like her animals, Kalpana too attracts extreme reactions. Animal lovers adore her, but civic officials consider her a nightmare. Three months ago, a horse lay in a pool of blood on the road near Liseux School. A couple of school students who saw the anguished horse did not call either the police or the SPCA. Instead, they called Kalpana, an activist of People for Animals. Within minutes, she arrived with a veterinary doctor and took away the horse to her animal shelter at Vilankurichi.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jurassic theme park to open in Coimbatore

The prehistoric monsters of Coimbatore are set to come alive this summer. The city corporation is all set to throw open the gates of its Jurassic theme park during this summer vacation after almost a decade. The authorities have not only refurbished the park but have also given a makeover to the exhibits.

The giant dinosaurs will now roar when you walk past them. They are to be fitted with optical sensors to set off the vocal chords of these exhibits whenever someone goes near them. The park will also have an exhibit room with statues and tiles depicting various aspects of the prehistoric era.

"The work is progressing and we will finish it to throw open the park during the summer vacation in April," said C Sundarajan, Assistant Engineer (South), Coimbatore Corporation.

The main attraction of the park will be the four gigantic statues of dinosaurs including that of a Tyrannosaurus (T-Rex|), Triceratops, Stegosaurus and Brontosaurus fitted with audio speakers and lights installed in its eye sockets which will be triggered with the help of optical sensors installed around the statue.

"The dinosaur will roar and the lights will blink but not in a scary way whenever someone goes neat them. It will be a huge hit with the children and families during the vacation season," said S Arunkumar, maintenance work supervisor at the park.

As of now around 10 workers are engaged in painting the statues, cleaning up the walkways and pruning the hedges and also setting up a water fountain inside the park. The park will also have a separate section within it where miniature models of animals would be installed for children. These educational exhibits will display the names and behavioural traits of the corresponding animals.

"There will be elaborate audio arrangements across the park. We will also install additional lighting facilities," said R Mayilvanan, private contractor, River Green Landscape, Coimbatore.

The total estimate for the renovation of the park spread across 30 cents is expected to be around Rs 18 lakh. The park was in a dilapidated state after it closed its gates to the public almost a decade back. Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra said that the renovation work had begun in January and will be completed by April.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Coimbatore well-placed to be IT destination

COIMBATORE: With education infrastructure and entrepreneurial spirit, the city is all set to become a top destination for IT companies, Cognizant vice-chairman Lakshmi Narayanan said.

Residents should have belief that it can be a tier-1 destination for IT firms and work towards that goal, he told the 11th edition of _Connect Coimbatore', the annual IT event organised by CII here on Thursday.

"If Coimbatore aspires to be a tier-1 destination it should behave like a leader," he said. Though it would take five to 10 years to realise the goal, the city should stake its claim now.

Software exports from the city witnessed a 90% growth to Rs 710.66 crore for the year ended March 2010. Tier-2 locations such as Tiruchi and Madurai have clocked `25 crore in exports, state IT secretary PWC Davidar said.

30 bikes stolen in just two months from Race Course

COIMBATORE: Motorbikes are increasingly vanishing from the Government General Hospital campus and the adjoining Race Course area in the city. In the last two months, 30 motor cycles all of them TVS XL Super bikes have been stolen from the hospital complex and the roadsides within the Race Course police station limit.

"As many as 30 bikes have been reported stolen in the last two months. We have formed a special team to nab the bike thieves," the Race Course police inspector P.Periyasamy told TOI.

Why do thieves target a particular brand of bikes? According to the police official, it is "easier to unlock these vehicles with master keys and sell them off in rural areas with fake number plates and registration certificates". Also, they fetch a better price in the market.

At least 20 of the bikes have been stolen in and around the Government General Hospital campus. But the police are still clueless about the thieves, who are repeatedly striking in localities within the Race Course police limits. Last few years, the bike thieves' target was the Hero Honda Splendour, which also opens easily with master keys, say the police.

In November 2010, the police nabbed two men who had allegedly stolen 42 motor cycles in three months and zipped away to their native Salem. The main accused, K.Baladhandayuthapani from Othakkalmandapam near Coimbatore, teamed up with R.Shiva of Mecheri in Salem, who was an expert in opening the locks in motorcycles, and the duo went on a stealing spree, according to the police. However, CCTVs in the parking lot recorded them. "They were Hero Honda Splendour specialists. After their arrest, theft of the Hero Honda bikes have come down. But now another gang is targeting TVS XL," said a police official. Last year, 145 motor cycles were stolen, but 129 vehicles were recovered and only 16 are still missing. In December 2009, police nabbed "Bike" Kumar alias P.Rajkumar, who allegedly stole over 60 Hero Honda bikes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Helpline for students

Help for students in distress, those facing financial constraints in continuing with their education or students with suicidal tendencies, is now just a cellphone call away.

All that the students would have to do is dial 99440-95555 and speak to the West Zone Police Control Room and tell their grievances.

The police would immediately arrange for help by diverting the calls to the respective jurisdictional police officers.

Talking to The Hindu, Inspector-General of Police, West Zone, P. Sivanandi said students dejected due to admonishment by the teachers/lecturers or even victims of ragging in colleges, could call up the helpline.

There was a need to reach out to students because in an emotionally weak moment, they tended to take decisions that endangered their lives.

For students seeking financial assistance, the police would, in coordination with NGOs, arrange for help like payment of tuition fees and purchase of books and other educational assistance, the IG said.

Source: Hindu