Women SHGs achieve savings of Rs. 889 cr.

CHENNAI: Women members of self-help groups have achieved savings of Rs. 889.16 crore, Social Welfare Minister P. Vijayalakshmi Palanisamy told the Assembly on Saturday. "There are 53,50,767 women members in the SHGs. They have received financial assistance from banks to the tune of Rs. 1,597 crore so far," she said, intervening in a debate on the interim Budget. She earlier said 3,050 noon meal centres would have new buildings and the work had been taken up under the Food for Work programme. - Special Correspondent

Funds sanctioned for repair of roads

CHENNAI: The Union Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways has sanctioned Rs. 34.14 crore for the repair of State Government-managed roads in Tamil Nadu under the Central Road Fund scheme. After an inspection of the flood affected areas by Union Minister T.R. Baalu last month, the State Government had forwarded 18 proposals for the works, estimated to cost Rs. 34.8 crore, says an official release. - Special Correspondent

Stamp on A.V. Meiyappan

CHENNAI: A commemorative postage stamp on A.V. Meiyappan, founder of AVM Studios, will be released by the Department of Posts on Sunday. The Rs. 5 stamp will be released by Union Minister of Communication and Information Technology Dayanidhi Maran at AV. Meiyappan Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Virugambakkam here. All the Philatelic Bureaux/counters sold stamps, first day covers and information brochures. - Staff Reporter

Cooperative staff strike tomorrow

CHENNAI: Cooperative bank employees, affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Bank Employees Association, will stage demonstrations on January 23 in support of a five-point charter of demands of urban cooperative bank employees. Association general secretary P. Balakrishnan on Saturday said the demonstration would be held in front of the Office of the Regional Joint Registrar of Cooperatives in all district headquarters. The main demand of the urban bank employees was revision of wage which was due from July 1, 2001. Of the 124 urban cooperative banks in the State, 114 were performing well and they had reduced non-performing assets substantially. The association would call for the strike by February first week if the wage revision was not announced before the moth-end, the statement said. - Special Correspondent

Explosives seized, five arrested

TUTICORIN: The police have seized 79.5 kg of saltpetre, raw material for explosives, from five persons at Mukkani near here on Friday night.

Police said Utchimahali, Natarajan, Alwar, Chellappa and Muthuveeran were seen moving under suspicious circumstances with two bags at Mukkani by a special patrol team. On questioning, it was revealed that they were in possession of saltpetre meant for producing explosives. The five persons were remanded to judicial custody. - Staff Reporter

Polyclinic for ex-servicemen

CHENNAI: An Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) Polyclinic, to provide medical care to ex-servicemen, widows and dependants in Cuddalore and Pondicherry areas will be inaugurated by Station Commander of Chennai, Brig. G. Jai Kumar, at Cuddalore on January 23. Similar polyclinics are functioning in Chennai, Avadi, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai. Two more will be made operational at Kancheepuram and Villupuram soon. - Special Correspondent

Rice seized

KARUR: About 16,150 kg of rice meant for preparing noon meal was seized by revenue officials here. The lorry driver P Selvaraj (30) was arrested and the lorry impounded.

Sources said the lorry was intercepted after a chase near Sukkaliyur round about.

10 held in assault case

KULITHALAI: Ten persons of dominant caste were picked up by police in Athupatti village for allegedly assaulting two dhobis and holding a kangaroo court which punished the dhobis by asking them to propitiate at the panchayatdars' feet to reduce a fine amount of Rs. 50,000 imposed on them. Sources in the village traced the root of the problem to the dhobis' quest for a piece of land adjoining the village temple.

Mettur level

Tiruchi: The water level at the Mettur dam stood at 113.34 feet on Saturday. The inflow was 2,170 cusecs and the outflow, 5,005 cusecs . - Staff Reporter

Woman murdered

TIRUNELVELI: A woman was murdered at North Chezhiyanallur under the Maanur police station limits on Friday night.

The police said Jaganathan (42) of North Chezhiyanallur had borrowed money from a usurer of another community of the same area. As he could not repay the money, the moneylender and his supporters waylaid Jaganathan and his wife J. Esakkimuthu (38), and attacked them with deadly weapons, in which the woman died on the spot. Jaganathan was admitted to the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital. His condition is said to be critical. The DSP, Thaazhaiyuththu, Chandrasenan, made arrangements for security.

Dharna by workers

TIRUNELVELI: Transport workers affiliated to the CITU staged a dharna in front of the Office of General Manager, Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation at Vannarpettai on Saturday.

The protestors, with their mouth gagged with a piece of black cloth, raised slogans.

They said all existing vacancies in the TNSTC should be filled immediately and the workers allowed go on leave whenever they apply for it. Quality spare parts and tyres in adequate quantity should be supplied to the TNSTC workshops and "anti-labour policies" being pursued by the management given up immediately.

Blood donated

TIRUNELVELI: Cadres of the Tamil Nadu Thawheed Jamaath organised a special blood donation camp here on Saturday, in which over 50 functionaries donated blood.

Speaking on the occasion, the State secretaries of the party, M. Shamsul Luha and M.S. Sulaiman, said over 2,000 volunteers had enrolled their names in the 10-year old blood donors club being run by the TNTJ.

The State general secretary of TNTJ, S.M. Backer, and other office-bearers were present during the blood donation camp. - Staff Reporter

Man killed as van plunges into well

ERODE: The driver of a van was killed when the vehicle fell into a roadside well near Dharapuram on Friday. The police have identified the deceased as Kumaravel, the van owner. The accident occurred when he tried to negotiate a curve. Two persons, including a student,

travelling in the van, escaped with minor injuries.Fire in temple pandal

ERODE: A fire was noticed in the pandal of Perumal temple in Kottaimedu, near Dharapuram, on Friday while renovation was going on.

Timely action by local residents helped avert a major accident.

The Dharapuram Fire and Rescue Service personnel rushed to the spot immediately and extinguished the fire.

Raids conducted

ERODE: The Cooperative Department officials conducted simultaneous raids on 56 ration shops on January 19. They detected some malpractices in some shops and collected a fine of Rs. 13,000 from the salesmen.