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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Transport Corporations to get 100 A/C buses

CHENNAI: State Transport Corporations will add 100 air-conditioned buses to their fleet by March-end, Transport Secretary Debendranath Sarangi said on Friday.

Of these, 50 would be added to the State Express Transport Corporation fleet and 25 each to the Coimbatore and Madurai Transport Corporations. The 100 buses included the seven ultra-deluxe air-conditioned buses added to the SETC fleet on Thursday.

The buses would have power steering, air suspension and would be roomier. Each of the buses cost about Rs.30 lakh. There was no move to give Volvo buses to other Transport Corporations. MTC operated 10 Volvo air-conditioned buses.

The Transport Corporations would focus on maintenance, he said in response to a question.

“We are working to evolve a system of scientific maintenance. We are considering all options, including outsourcing,” he said, adding that many passenger-centric efforts were on. The moves were part of the effort to compete with private operators and also provide a cheaper alternative. During peak season, some private operators fleeced passengers and State Transport Corporations had the responsibility to take people to their destinations at ‘normal’ rates.

The Transport department was working closely with the corporations to make sure that the drivers and conductors were people-friendly and to ensure that buses were clean.

Asked about the attrition rate, Mr. Sarangi said that the department never faced the problem because of the prestige attached to holding a ‘government job.’ On the problems arising out of MTC operating deep into the area served by the Villupuram Transport Corporation, Mr. Sarangi said that the issue would be looked into. (The Villupuram Transport Corporation wants to operate buses to destinations in Chennai in return).

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

‘Patrol border districts to stop rice smuggling’

Food Minister E V Velu has advised the District Collectors and other officials to step up vigilance and patrolling in the border districts of the State to check ration rice smuggling.

Speaking at an Inter-district review meeting of the public distribution system here, he said that every complaint regarding PDS from the representatives of people, including panchayat president and MP, should be treated seriously and redressed.

Women SHGs should be given priority in running ration shops and the MP, MLA local area development funds should be utilised to construct ration shop buildings, he said.

In order to provide electronic balances, electrification of all ration shops has been completed.

The officials should ensure the distribution of palm oil and pulses under special PDS before Pongal festival, Velu added. District Collectors Rajendra Ratnoo (Cuddalore), Prajendra Navneet (Villupuram), Sathyabratha Sahoo (Tiruvannamalai) and other officials took part.

Dhotis, saris distributed in Cuddalore, Villupuram

Special Correspondent
CUDDALORE: Health Minister M.R.K. Panneerselvam inaugurated the distribution of free dhotis and saris for Pongal festival this year at Kurinjipadi near here on Tuesday.
In Cuddalore district, a total of 6,05,555 saris and 6,19,145 dhotis would be distributed in a week, the Minister said. The government was giving away free colour television sets, cooking gas connections and supplying rice at Rs 2 a kg through fair price shops. It had also arranged the supply of pulses through the fair price shops and efforts were under way to supply cement at reasonable price.
Steps had been initiated to take medical care to the needy in the right hour, Mr. Panneerselvam said. A sum of Rs. 274 crore had been allocated for the construction of additional buildings in Government Hospitals of which Rs. 6 crore was set aside for Cuddalore district, he said.
Earlier, Kurinjipadi lacked medical facilities. But, in the past two years, the Government Hospitals were provided all the necessary equipment. For instance, Rs 1.40 crore was sanctioned to modernise the children ward in the Kurinjipadi Government Hospital. Specialists would be inducted to give better healthcare to the people. A sum of Rs. 28 lakh would be allotted for the construction of school buildings and another Rs. 15 lakh for setting up a fish market, from the MLA Constituency Development Funds, Mr. Panneerselvam said.
At Villupuram, Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy, accompanied by Collector Brajendra Navnit and officials, visited 16 villages in Koliyanur block to give away free dhotis and saris.
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