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Books lost to rain find a way out on WhatsApp

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CHENNAI: When the water came pouring into their house in West Mambalam, R Sailasree and her family sought refuge on the upper storey and terrace of their two-storied house. A day later, they were able to move to her brother-in-law’s house in Annanagar. While they are safe and sound, she and her husband are now worried how their son, R Hariharan, will cope with his studies. Apart from missing almost a month of school, all his second term books have been washed away.

“He is in Class 9 and has lost all his books. Though we can get the notebooks from his friends and photocopy them, we need textbooks urgently,” says Sailasree.

Many students like him are in a quandary as they have lost all their textbooks and notebooks in the floods. The state government has distributed 50,000 notebooks in Chennai district while 10,500 notebooks and 7,500 uniforms were distributed in Cuddalore in the last week of November, says the department of school education.

But for other school and college students, it is a tough road ahead. It is to help these students out that A Vivek and his brother Vivin have launched an initiative. School and college students can WhatsApp their requirements and the duo, sourcing books from across Tamil Nadu, will supply them with the books. Though they launched the initiative on Sunday night by Monday morning they received 25 such requests.

“We are collecting funds from India and abroad and buying books for school and college students, according to the requirement,” says 24-year-old Vivek, who has just finished his ME from St Joseph’s College of Engineering.

Since many textbooks are difficult to get at this time of year V Sridhar, owner of Vijaya Stores, Mylapore, has come forward to help. “We can get textbooks from Delhi in a week or 10 days,” says Sridhar. “We can help needy students by giving them textbooks free. We are also planning to distribute free notebooks, pencils and pens.”

The Senior Citizens Group of Besant Nagar is also requesting people to donate old school and college textbooks as well as new notebooks so that they can distribute it among students. “Since we all manage on our pension, we can’t afford to buy new books,” says Prof V Chandrasekhar, president of the group. (People can drop off books at B 12/12, 25th Cross Street, Besant Nagar or contact Chandrasekhar at 9884224480.)

Educational institutions are planning to reach out and reassure students once they come back to school. “We can check availability of textbooks and get them. Or else, we can photocopy it. We will also be offering counselling to instill confidence in students and parents,” says Vael’s Billabong High International School principal Meenakshi Ramesh, adding that they are planning to hold classes for class 10 and 12 students on Sundays.

School counsellors will also be talking to students as many may be stressed after having their homes flooded, or anxious about completing the portions and dealing with the exams. “Trauma is trauma, whether it is the floods or exams,” says Magdalene Jeyarathnam, founder, Center for Counselling, which also does counselling in schools.

(People who want books can WhatsApp Vivin at 9677035963, or Vivek at 9566180758. If you want to help SCGOBN, you can drop off books at B 12/12, 25th Cross Street, Besant Nagar or contact Chandrasekhar at 9884224480)

Source: TOI-Che


Corporates dole out funds for flood relief

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CHENNAI: As Chennai recovers from the crisis, corporates across industries have come forward to help rehabilitate the city. On Monday, CM J Jayalalithaa opened the fund raising window by announcing that contributions can be made to CM’s Public Relief Fund (CMPRF), with such contributions being entitled to 100% income tax exemption.

India Cements and auto major Hyundai, Karur Vysya Bank, and Ram,co group have contributed Rs 2 crore each to the CM’s relief fund. Hyundai earlier gave away food and relief materials to the government’s relief camps. “The CSR arm of the company – Hyundai Motor India Foundation — has been conducting relief activities in Sriperumbudur area and Chennai to help affected families. Sanitation and health camps are also on the anvil,” a note from the company said.

Venu Srinivasan controlled TVS Motor donated Rs 5 crore and controlled by his wife, Mallika Srinivasan, tractor maker TAFE cut a cheque for Rs 3 crore in favour of CM fund. Jeweler Joyallukas said it has contributed Rs 3 crore while SBI donated Rs 1 crore.

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Source: TOI-Che


With no trains home, migrant workers stranded jobless in Chennai

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CHENNAI: Waterlogged construction fields on the one side, cancelled trains on the other — thousands of migrant workers in the city are in a spot.

With many construction companies closed down after the unprecedented rain and subsequent floods, many have left for their hometowns but several more are still cooped up in cramped relief centres. They are desperate to leave the flooded metropolis but are finding it difficult.

“I have been jobless for the past two weeks. The camp where I am staying is close to the Adyar river in Nandambakkam and it’s scary,” said Sanjay, a daily wager from Guwahati. Compunding the problem, the railways on Wednesday cancelled the Chennai-Guwahati express.

“I don’t know what to do now. I have to take many trains to reach my hometown now. I don’t have money,” he said, sitting on a platform at Chennai Central.

K Abhijeeth, who was working at a construction site in Guindy, his friends survive only on dinner. “We don’t eat breakfast or lunch and subsist on the rice and dal we prepare at night. The ration that we get is very low and our sponsors are finding it difficult to manage during this time,” he said.

The native of Cuttack in Odisha has not been able to book a ticket home due to unexpected cancellations. “The unreserved compartment is crowded and I don’t know if I can make it to one. If not, I will have to wait till tomorrow morning to try my luck. It’s a very tough situation,” he said.

West Bengal native Rathan Singh said it was only in October that he came to the city. “I hardly worked for a month and the rain started. Now I have to return to my hometown. I don’t know how I am going to manage. I have money only for the ticket,” he said.

Train cancellations, according to S Koteshwar Rao, a security man from Vijayawada, has spoiled the plans of many migrant workers. “Many travel as groups. If a train is cancelled they get stranded on the platform. Those from Assam, West Bengal and Bihar have to undergo hardships because of it,” he said.

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Source: TOI-Che

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