Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Aravanis, a neglected lot in tsunami rehabilitation

Over 50 tsunami-affected `aravanis' in Kanyakumari, Nagappattinam and Tirunelveli districts are a neglected lot from rehabilitation measures of the State Government.
While many of them have been struggling to get ration cards which is thebasis for sanctioning of any relief and rehabilitation measure by theGovernment, several others' say that their names are figured in theration cards but their family members refuse to associate themselves with aravanis.
One of the main complaints of aravanis is officials do not know as towhether they should include aravanis in the male or female list of affectedpeople.
``I appeal to the Government toconsider us as individual beneficiaries in distributing relief and rehabilitation and do the needful forthwith,'' says Mary Leons, an aravani at Muttom village in Kanyakumari district.

A long wait for government job

Caption: A typical scene at the Employment exchange

Faith moves mountains, says a proverb.
But it is not so in the case of Manikandan, 40-year old B Com graduate and now an auto driver in north Chennai.
Having registered at the employment exchange at Santhome wayback in 1982, his long wait for over quarter century for a government job has proved futile.
The news is, he has not received even one interview card since registration. And now, Manikandan has decided not to renew his registration hereafter as he turned 40.
``I registered all my qualifications starting from SSLC. Now I lost all my hope that I can get a job from the government after this age,'' says Manikandan.
But a 46-year old Sundaresan, resident of Choolai, who registered himself with the employment exchange in 1982, does not fail to renew the registration, though he too did not get any interview card.
Sundaresan's belief is: ``Who knows the government may suddenly come out with any scheme for people like us or even declare a monthly pension or any financial assistance.''

Don't take this road, it could end your life

Huge potholes everywhere, so much dust, absence of road light, huge pits on both sides, no traffic police, no traffic signal, not even any road safetysign boards was put up anywhere.
Welcome to National Highways-4 from Koyambedu to Maduravoyal, a part of Poonamallee High Road, a death trap in a true sense.
With almost all the tar portion of the road has got eroded, the five-kmstretch of this national highway doesn't go without at least one minor accident a day.
Vehicle users here should neccessarily concentrate to avoid potholesinstead of looking at the traffic. They should keep in mind the danger of falling into any one of the huge roadside pits if they turn the vehicle onthe left side.
As breadth of the road got reduced to a bare minimum of 7 metre that toowith stones in various sizes shrewn all the way, no four-wheeler can give right side to the on-coming vehicles, as there is every risk of them gettingstuck in potholes or roadside pits.
Also, with huge traffic of lorries and containers, the terrible road condition force the drivers to move and cross at ridiculously slow speed to avoild damage to their vehicles.

Beware of a danger on marina

With thousands of people thronging marina to enjoy their Pongal holidays, a need to unearth the wreckage of a ship that sank here three decades ago has come into focus again.
While the unearthed wreckage had been a deathtrap on the sea shore and a large crowd gathered on the marina even on Mattupongal day, the City Police and the Chennai Corporation gave warnings against bathing and swimming in the sea on the Kanumpongal day.
While the danger zone, behind the Labour statue, usually be barrigaded and the authorities put up a sign board giving warning to the people, many fishermen feel that preventive measures on that particular place is inadequate to prevent the people from entering the water in the `danger zone' as the wreckage could not be seen from the shore.
The issue had already gone to the High Court also. S Kumarasamy, an advocate and CPI (ML) leader had filed a petition in the Madras High Court a few years ago when a middle aged man from Salem drowned after he got struck in the danger zone.

No moral values please, says text book on `adolescent education'

Is having sex the only way to prove love? No, says the text book on `adolescent education' for class IX and XI which is being taught in government and government-aided schools.
``Instead of having sex, learn other means to show your love or satisfy your needs by practicing safe behaviour such as giving a flower, holding hands, deep kissing, deep hugging and masturbation,'' the book says while insisting that masturbation or self stimulation of genitals is a common activity practiced by both boys and girls and it is more common in
males than females.
The book adds that it has been proven scientifically that masturbation causes no harm and is one of the safest activity to avoid HIV infection.
The 150-page book `Learning for Life, A guide to family health and life skills education for teachers and students' asks the teachers to have a `frank and explicit' discussion on sexuality with students and not to impose moral values on students.
In an exercise, teachers should ask the students to state the physical difference between a four-year old and a fourteen-year old. If the class has not written on the change in the body proportions, teachers should ask questions on that aspect.
While summarising, teachers should have the whole class together so that boys and girls know about the changes in the other sex.
The book says that teachers should use vernacular vocabulary while talking about sex and sexuality with students as they may not know the English terms for many things such as genital organs. Students should be asked to write `local words' for each term.
It also poses several questions to students including whether a girl can get pregnant if a boy doesn't ejaculate or `come' inside her, can a girl get pregnant if the semen is ejaculated outside the vagina and around the vaginal opening, whether manual handling of breasts would lead to HIV infection and is a a woman with big breast sexy?
Insisting `correct use of condoms' to avoid HIV infection, the book points out to teachers that students don't know where to buy condomns and many feel shy in asking for condomns.
At one place the book also dealt about oral sex. However, teachers should emphasise that students should delay sex till marriage.
Teachers are also required to conduct a number of role plays by students to learn to be assertive and say no to sex.
One such role play reads: ``Geetha is alone at a park with Anand, her boy friend. Anand is quite aggressive with his demands for sex. How Geetha should say no?''
And there is a `Role reversal' also in which boy should act like a girl and girl should act as a boy. The text is explained with the help of cartoons in several places.
A manual for teachers contains nude pictures of boys and girls showing physiological changes from age nine to 14 and 16 while another book demonstrates how to put condoms on penis, have already raised protests from teaching community in many schools.