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Various facets of Chennai come to fore after floods

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Chennai Floods
Chennai Floods
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Chennai: The floods in Chennai and its suburbs which have put millions into misery also showed the good, bad and the ugly sides of people and organisations.

On the positive side, several individuals opened up their residences to strangers caught in the floods and provided food and shelter.

Without waiting for the official agencies, many individuals started offering food to the flood hit and also provided whatever they could — biscuits, blankets and more.

Those who had access to the internet posted messages on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter about stranded people so that help could reach them.

There were — and are — unscrupulous traders who jacked up the prices of milk, eggs and vegetables. But there are those who stuck to honest trading practice.

“We sell milk and other essential items at normal rates. We have not jacked up the prices. In fact, I donated cooked food to the flood-hit which cost me Rs.60,000,” Muthu, owner of Angalaparameswari Stores, a provision store in Mylapore in south Chennai, told IANS.

Voluntary organisations and others gave away food and biscuit packets near water- logged areas.

On the bad side, apart from traders who jacked up prices of essential commodities, autorickshaw and taxi drivers fleeced people even for plying short distances.

“Why blame the auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers? Look at private airlines. They ripped off passengers by charging sky-high rates to fly people out of Bengaluru to Delhi,” T.E.N. Simhan, a private sector employee, told IANS.

“Is it not an irony when even common people are contributing their bit to the flood affected, airlines took advantage of people’s distress,” he asked.

With Chennai Airport closed for days due to flooding of the runway, many people from other places reached Bengaluru to fly out to their destinations.

Surinder Singh of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) told IANS that he paid a whopping Rs.25,600 to a private airline to fly to Delhi out of Bengaluru.

According to reports, vandals are breaking into locked houses in flood-hit areas in Chennai and swimming away with valuables.

(V. Jagannathan, IANS)

(image: ibtimes.com)

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Cabinet Approves Plan to Set-Up 20 AIIMS

The construction of new AIIMS will be fully funded by the Central government. It will also bear the operations and maintenance expenses of these facilities.

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AIIMS Rishikesh, wikimedia commons

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved a plan to set up 20 All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) across the country, six of which have already been established, and to upgrade 73 medical colleges.

The decisions are part of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), which has been extended by two years till 2020, with a financial outlay of Rs 14,832 crore, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters while briefing on the cabinet decisions.

“Under this (PMSSY), we are going to set up 20 AIIMS in the country, six have already been established, and would upgrade 73 medical colleges. This is a historic decision,” said the Union Law and Information Technology Minister.

The construction of new AIIMS will be fully funded by the Central government. It will also bear the operations and maintenance expenses of these facilities.
Narendra Modi, wikimedia commons

The decision to extend the PMSSY was aimed to meet the shortfall in healthcare professionals and facilities across the country.

“Setting up of new AIIMS would not only transform health education and training but also address the shortfall of healthcare professionals in the region… Setting up of new AIIMS in various states will lead to employment generation for nearly 3,000 people in various faculty and non-faculty posts in each of the AIIMS,” said an official statement.

The construction of new AIIMS will be fully funded by the Central government. It will also bear the operations and maintenance expenses of these facilities.

The upgradation programme broadly envisages improving health infrastructure through construction of super specialty blocks, trauma centres and others, according to the statement.

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The procurement of medical equipment for existing as well as new facilities will be done on sharing basis by both Central and state governments.

“PMSSY was started during the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee to provide quality healthcare in remote areas as it’s not right to put all the pressure on AIIMS in Delhi. There were talks of setting up six AIIMS. But what happened in the next 10 years is for all to see,” said Prasad. (IANS)