State transport bus fares were hiked throughout Tamil Nadu within a week of a union strike for increased wages and pension benefits that ended on January11. The minimum fare increase is 20% while the maximum is 54% in economy and luxury buses. A state government release said the hike was to supplement increased fuel prices, cost of new buses and spare parts and wages for transport unions. However, it pointed out that the fares were still less than that of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh state transport buses. The revision came after six years of fare freeze.
The move sparked state wide protests with people taking to streets, shouting slogans and garrisoning transport offices. Those who had booked online protested after revised rates were collected while boarding. Daily wage workers, officegoers and students said the hike was unaffordable. Many blamed the transport unions for the poor management and maintenance of government vehicles.
Five men drown at sea
Five men died at sea near the town of Vedaranyam, southern Nagapattinam district. The victims – Praveenkumar, Bharath, Yugendran, Kanishkar and Rajamani – all in their twenties and had been participating in a religious event. Police said 20 youths had taken a boat which got bogged in slush some distance from the shore. The men jumped into the sea in a bid to swim to shore but the tide swept the five youths deeper. Five of the survivors sustained injuries and have been hospitalised.
Tiruporur to host defence expo
Federal Defence minister Nirmala Seetharaman has announced that a defence expo will be held in April at Tiruporur, Kancheepuram. Speaking at a defence industry meet in Chennai, she said the expo will highlight land, naval and international homeland security operations of nearly 80 countries.
“Till 2016, all defence expos have been held only in New Delhi. When Manohar Parikkar was defence minister, it was held in Goa in 2017. Now, after I took charge as defence minister, the expo will be held here.” Nirmala is a native of Trichy in Tamil Nadu.
Lyricist gets legal relief
Tamil film lyricist Vairamuthu got legal relief after the Madras High Court stayed a petition filed against him in a blasphemy case. Judge M S Ramesh asked the complainant, D Murganantham, and the prosecution to file their counter affidavits by January 25.
Meanwhile, two hosts of a film show on Sun TV were pulled up for joking about Tamil film actor Suriya’s short stature. The hosts Niveditha and Sangeetha, reportedly commented that Suriya, would need a stool to match his lanky co-star Amitabh Bachchan, in an upcoming project. Fans demanded legal action and staged protests outside the Sun TV office. However, the actor dismissed the incident.
Teenager dies after punishment
A sports teacher and the principal of a private school at Perambur in Chennai were arrested after a 15-year-old boy died after being punished for turning up late for school. Reports said Narendran and four other boys were asked to crouch round the school grounds. He fainted midway and was declared dead at the Stanley medical college hospital. Investigations are underway.
Noted journalist Gnani dies at 65
Noted journalist/filmmaker V Sankaran alias Gnani, 65, died of a stroke at his residence in Chennai. He had been on dialysis for the past one year. He is survived by his wife and son Manush who is a cinematographer.
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