The New Indian Express, 01 April 2006

Info centre to help tsunami-hit

CUDDALORE: A Village Information and Communication Technology (VCT) centre was started for the benefit of the tsunami-hit people in a village near here on Thursday.

The centre, which was established by the Pondicherry Multipurpose Social Service Society (PMSSS) and funded by the Catholic Relief Society, was inaugurated by District Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi in Akkarai Gori.

Speaking about the functions of the centre, executive director of PMSSS Ratchagar said that the hi-tech centre would go a long way in creating a knowledgeable society in the tsunami-affected region.

The centre would impart training to women, youth and children in computer operations. Students affected by the tsunami would be given training in computers, he added.

Ratchagar also said that computers had been installed at various Balwadi schools in the district for the benefit of children.

Earlier, the PMSSS had opened one centre in each of the 19 tsunami-hit hamlets in the district. This was the 20th centre, he said.

These centres were monitoring the weather condition over the Bay of Bengal and collecting information on sea current, wind direction and speed and wave height.

Information about movement and availability of fishes in the sea was being collected through the internet. The information, which was being gathered from various sources, was being passed on to the fishermen and local people through public address systems at regular intervals from the centre. The centres played a significant role during heavy rains in the coastal district last year, Ratchagar said.

Among others, coordinator of the centre George Stephen Raj, Chief Coordinator Christopher, Coordinator of the VCT in Akkarai Gori Karthikeyan and other PMSSS staff, were present. The tsunami-affected people in Akkarai Gori also participated.