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Cops hunt for thief who made away with 10 streetlights

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CHENNAI: Thieves making off with gold, cash, iron rods and even milk sachets is passe. Police are now hunting for a man who took away 10 sodium vapour street lamps, each worth 2,800, from the median between Meenambakkam and Alandur.

The theft came to light during an electrical department audit last week. The suspect only struck around 6am when corporation staff normally switch off lamps, police said.

A team of corporation officials decided to keep watch on GST Road in Meenambakkam where the man had been spotted earlier.

Around 6am, they saw a man coming on a bicycle. He stopped the cycle, walked across the road towards the median and climbed on it. He removed a couple of holders along with the lamp, walked towards his cycle and rode off.

The officials followed him and saw him park the cycle near a house on a narrow lane in Kannan Colony near Pazhavanthangal.

They informed the St Thomas Mount police. A team led by crime wing inspector Amal Raj rushed there, seized the cycle and went inside the narrow lane.

They were surprised when they opened a door at the end of the lane and found it opened on to another lane.

Police collected CCTV footage from a hotel near the place and found a man matching the description provided by the corporation officials loitering in the area.

Police picked up four suspects with similar physical structures in Kannan Colony for questioning. One of them threatened to end his life if he was accused of stealing lamps.

Police summoned the corporation officials to the St Thomas Mount station. “We identified one of the four as the suspect but police released him,” said a corporation official.

Police have deployed some youth brigade members and home guards to keep watch in the area where the suspect was known to strike.

They have also asked informants in the Allikulam market near Chennai Central railway station to alert them if anyone approaches them to sell the stolen lamps.

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Source: TOI-Che

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Verdict on Indo-Pak fight over basmati likely soon

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CHENNAI: Forget the LOC, cross-border skirmishes and nuclear threat. Pakistan has opened a new warfront against India — rice. And the battleground will be southern state of Tamil Nadu — Chennai, to be exact.

Pakistan has now staked claim to an exclusive Geographical Indication (GI) tag for the aromatic, slender and long-grained basmati rice.

Will the strident neighbor succeed in getting an exclusive GI or reach a compromise and settle for joint registration of the tag with India will be known when the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) delivers its verdict soon.

For now, the IPAB bench comprising its chairman Justice K N Basha and technical member Sanjeev Kumar Chaswal has reserved its orders on the legal wrangle for the tag. Verdict is to be out soon.

“It is only the area falling within the territory of Pakistan (the Indo-Gangetic plains in the Himalayan foothills) that is entitled to the GI ‘Basmati’ by virtue of having produced this ‘exceptional rice’ over a long period of time,” said the petition from Lahore-based Basmati Growers Association (BGA).

The assistant registrar of GI, Chennai has “gravely erred that rice produced in area/region of Madhya Pradesh, or for that matter any part of India can bear the basmati tag,” the appeal added.

READ ALSO: Peace or not, India & Pak need to unite to save Basmati

Earlier, based on an application of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), GI status was granted to Basmati rice cultivated in UP, HP, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab and J&K. After MP requested its name be included in the list, the registry on December 31, 2013, directed APEDA to amend its application and include that state too. APEDA moved the IPAB challenging the directive.

Bhopal-based New Darban Social Welfare Society has involved itself to uphold IPAB’s existing order. BGA also filed an appeal in IPAB against the registry’s order. Despite two extensions, BGA failed to provide evidence. APEDA moved an interlocutory petition seeking a direction to quash the opposition petition. The GI registry on December 31, 2013, set aside BGA’s petition. BGA’s appeal against the order is pending.

Last week, BGA submitted its application saying the registry’s order to include additional areas was a ‘grave concern’. “The region of origin of Basmati rice was carved out in early days itself when rice grown in the erstwhile Punjab drew attention…for being distinctive,” said the application.

READ ALSO: Geographical Indication tag sparks a bittersweet debate on rasgulla

There was no “public perception” or recognition” of Basmati being originated from MP. It originated in erstwhile Punjab in Pakistan. “Merely because Basmati germplasm is cultivated in the region/area of MP, Rajasthan, Bihar and Mizoram, it would not entitle them to the GI tag, said the petition adding, the registry had “misinterpreted ‘Basmati as a product rather than GI.”

It also said impleaded parties like Narmada Cereals Pvt Ltd, Daawat Food Ltd and SSA International were exporters and merely having factories in Madhya Pradesh. So they could not file an appeal for inclusion of MP in the area for Basmati cultivation. The order of the registry was silent on the variety of Basmati rice (Pusa variety) being grown in MP. “While variety of Basmati rice is certainly not the only basis, it should have been one of the most important factors,” said the petition.

APEDA, in its application to register Basmati GI, had failed to mention the Basmati-cultivating regions in Pakistan. It, however, had said in “forums and courts all across the world” that Basmati was cultivated in both India and Pakistan, said the petition, requesting the IPAB to allow its original appeal and set aside the order of the registry.

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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Parents gift newly-weds health insurance

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CHENNAI: Insurance officer Jamuna Bhaskar has planned a unique gift for her daughter and her fiance for their wedding in February. A Rs 50 lakh health insurance package.

“I will be giving them a Rs 50 lakh health insurance cover by paying the first year premium of Rs 40,000. During weddings, we spend so much on festivities, so why not a health cover that covers the couple from Day 1 of their marriage,” Bhaskar said.

With medical inflation at nearly 16% annually, insurers are finding it worthwhile to catch customers young, when they start life as a family. For instance, health insurer Cigna TTK’s agents always target the about-to-be-married or just-married. “Our distributors are leveraging opportunities by targeting youngsters who are about to get married with the plan. With changing lifestyles and a shift in disease burden from communicable to non-communicable coupled with a rising awareness on healthy living and the importance of preventive healthcare, we have got early adopters on our platform,” chief distribution officer of Cigna TTK Health Insurance, Jyoti Punja, said.

Around two-fifth of the company’s customers (Cigna TTK has a client base of one lakh) is 35 years or below. What’s also attracting twosomes to go in for a health cover early on is a maternity benefit (in some plans, there is a two-year waiting period before the maternity benefits start kicking in), coverage of OPD (out- patient department) expenses and vaccination for children.

“There is a tradition of giving some financial investment as a gift (gold, cash or property) during marriage. Also, if a couple opt for a health policy early on, they will get a more exhaustive cover at a cheaper rate. Even if there is a waiting period clause, that too will get exhausted early during the policy term,” writer and insurance historian, K Nitya Kalyani, said.

“It leads to better underwriting as people get a cover without undergoing medical tests,” head of health insurance of Future Generali India Insurance, Shreeraj Deshpande, said. Around 20% of the company’s health policy holders are below 25 years while another 25% of those insured under its medical cover fall in the 25 to 35 bracket.

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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