Urban local body polls: DMK sweeps polls, low voter turnout, poor facilities in polling booths
The DMK sweeps in urban local body polls in Chennai, held on the 19th, with the results announced on the 22nd. The party won a total of 178 out of 200 councillor seats in the city. This is the first time in 11 years that the party has been in power in the urban local body stage. The AIADMK seems to have significantly lost its strength in voters, compared to the previous civic elections where it held 160 out of 200 councillor seats. The BJP, which failed to make much of a foothold during state legislative elections, interestingly came third in wards in Adyar, Velachery, T Nagar, and Anna Nagar.
The voter turn out on polling day was quite low coming up to only 43.59% of the city population. According to officials, there were around 184 complaints from residents, reporting attempts of booth tampering and intimidation at the polling booths. According to few reports, many polling stations lacked adequate facilities for persons with disabilities such as braille sheets of candidates and ramps. In Santhome, eight people with psycho social disabilities were even prevented from casting their vote after party members prevented them from entering the polling station.
Source: The Hindu | The Times of India
45th year of Chennai Book Fair, to be held from February 16th to March 6th
Chennai book fair held at YMCA Ground in Nandanam is taking place for the 45th year, with the first fair held in 1977 at the Madrasa-i-Azam school at Anna Salai. While the fair was usually held for 10-12 days every year, this time around it has been extended to 19 days so as to reduce crowding on account of the pandemic. The fair is usually held in December but due to the third wave, it was shifted to February.
The fair is organised by the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI). The association has urged the Tamil Nadu Government to purchase books at the fair so as to provide immediate payments to publishers and writers. BAPASI’s president Vairavan also urged the government to encourage more students from schools and colleges to attend the fair as footfalls have decreased this time around, owing to the event being postponed from December.
Source: The Federal | The New Indian Express
New sewage treatment plant in Sholinganallur to become operational in the next month
A new sewage treatment plant (STP) located in Sholinganalur will be treating sewage generated from East Coast Road and Old Mahaballipuram Road (OMR) in the next month. The STP is said to have a capacity of 18 million litres. In addition to this, two other STPs are in the works each with the capacity to treat 72 million litres of sewage per day.
Currently many areas of ECR do not have underground sewage connections. According to a Metro Water Official, the Metrowater Board is in the process of getting funds for constructing these connections along the residences in ECR.
Source: The Times of India
Part time teachers hold protest in Nungambakkam demanding permanent jobs
Hundreds of teachers working part time in corporation schools protested outside of the Directorate of Public Instruction’s (DPI) office on Thursday, demanding permanent jobs. Most of them teach subjects such as music, art, physical education, crafts and computers. The demand for permanent jobs has been a long standing one, with several protests being held for the same in the past.
According to the protesters, many part time teachers had been hired in 2011 and 2012, but since then the numbers have significantly reduced. In addition, the salary for part time teachers has increased by a small amount in the past 11 years (from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 10,000 per month). Part time teachers are also only paid for 11 months of the year, as salary is not given during May when schools are closed for summer holidays. Varying schedules, inability to look for other work due to demanding weekly schedules, and lack of adequate time with the school children were other concerns raised by protesters.
Source: The Hindu
[Compiled by Savitha Ganesh]