Commotion as college hosts Lankan students

The Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts in Trichy has had to pay a heavy price for hosting Sri Lankan students at its premises. Volunteers of Naam Thamizhar stormed the institution accusing them of harbouring Sri Lankan nationals and conducting cultural programmes with the latter. As soon as the news that about 70 A-level (equivalent to Plus Two) students of Sri Lanka had landed in the college broke out, Naam Thamizhar volunteers staged a dharna in front the college demanding cancellation of all programmes involving the Lankans with immediate effect.A police team led by assistant commissioner Gandhi visited the college after getting wind of the protest, and stopped a cultural programme that was scheduled at 2 pm. It was a Sri Lankan Tamil Catholic woman in her late 30s who had brought the Sri Lankan students to Chennai. The woman, whose identity has not been not revealed, had come to Kalai Kaviri using her Catholic credentials, and managed to forge a friendship with the management. In fact, the students were taken to Velankanni church on Wednesday and returned to Trichy the same day. Margaret told TOI that they allowed the students on humanitarian grounds and served them food since it would be very expensive for them outside. Since the college pleaded its inability to accommodate all the students overnight, they were taken to a lodge in Samayapuram and stayed there overnight on Wednesday.They were scheduled to stage a cultural performance at the college at 2 pm on Thursday, which was stopped. The college neither sponsored the students, nor had they anything to do with the Sri Lankan students, except that the mystery woman had been given a warm treatment as she happened to a Catholic. In fact, it was the last aided college started in the state in August 1996 with recognition of the Government of Tamil Nadu for teaching South Indian classical music and dance. The college belongs to the Catholic Diocese of Trichy, and it was here that the late poet Kannadasan translated the Bible into poetic verses in Tamil titled “Yesu Kaviyam”. Both the Sri Lankan students and the college management paid a heavy price for not taking into consideration the ground realities existing in Tamil Nadu, and the strong anti-Sri Lankan sentiment blowing in the southern parts of the state. “Had I known that this was such a serious issue, we would not have entertained the students at all,” Dr Margaret Bastin, principal of the college told TOI. Gandhi blasted the college principal saying, “For you, it is merely a dance and song programme, but for us it is a perennial political headache”. The principal later told TOI that she was never exposed to such harsh language before, and had to pay a huge price for something that was not her fault. However, she admitted that she was naive enough not to have known the implications of allowing Sri Lankan students at this juncture. (TOI) read more

Motorists to be given protection against the parking cowboys

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Andrew Pester, Chief Executive of the British Parking Association has also welcomed the bill. “A single, mandatory code of practice across the whole sector is important to ensure that unscrupulous providers don’t undermine the parking sector with bad practice,” he said.“As the leading authority in the sector we shall continue to work closely with Government and key stakeholders to press for progress towards a positive outcome for all.”Unlike parking tickets issued by the council or a fixed penalty notice from the police, private car parking notices are charges for breaking a contract rather than breaking the law. In England and Wales wheel clamping by private landowners, or companies that work for them, was banned in 2012 under the Protection of Freedom Act. In Scotland it was banned in 1992. In March 2015 councils were told to give drivers a 10-minute grace period before issuing a parking fine in an effort to reduce the number of disputed tickets. Drivers are set to receive new legal protections from private parking operators as the Government backs plans to ban cowboy firms from accessing motorists’ details and issuing fines.Independent parking companies are issuing almost 13 times more illegitimate tickets than a decade ago, making as much as £100million a year. The government has confirmed that it will support new legislation aimed at raising standards among parking companies to stop drivers being subject to unreasonably large charges and threats.The RAC estimates that the total value of illegitimate parking tickets issued by private companies in a single year could be as much as £100million. Nearly 10,000 people approached the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for advice on private parking tickets last year.The Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government says drivers are increasingly complaining of inconsistent practices, substandard signage, confusing appeals processes and intimidating payment letters.“For too long drivers have suffered from unjust fines at the hands of dodgy parking firms,” said Secretary of State for Communities Sajid Javid.Under the proposed plans a new code of practice will be developed in conjunction with motorists groups. Those falling foul of the rules will then be blocked from accessing DVLA data, with the aim of forcing them out of the industry. The DVLA makes more than £1.4million a month from selling motorists’ information to companies for £2.50 a vehicle.“We need a fairer, clearer and more consistent system that brings the small minority of unscrupulous operators in line with those who are behaving appropriately,” said Javid.center_img “That is why Government is putting the brakes on these rogue operators and backing new laws that will put a stop to aggressive behaviour and provide a simpler way for drivers to appeal fines.”The latest crackdown comes after dozens of doctors, nurses and support workers were left suffering high levels of stress and sickness after a NHS trust authorised a private car park operator to pursue them through the courts over unpaid fines. In July last year medical and admin staff at University Hospital of Wales (UHW) face an estimated total bill of £12.8 million after a court ruled they were liable to pay £128 for each ticket they received, plus tens of thousands in court fees.Industry bodies have voiced their support for the bill, which was introduced by Sir Greg Knight MP, and it will receive its Second Reading in the House of Commons on Friday.“Motorists will be delighted that the Government is throwing its weight behind Sir Greg Knight’s move to bring some much needed regulatory rigour to the world of private parking,” said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.”We all hoped the ban on clamping would end the sharp practices that had come to plague private parking, but the fact that companies are issuing millions of penalty tickets annually is clear evidence that something is still going badly awry.“Drivers don’t want a parking free-for-all, but they do want a system that is fair to all parties and that’s what a code of practice set by Government – rather than the industry itself – should bring about.”last_img read more