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Blanket heat in Andhra slugfest

Blankets are heating up Andhra’s politics this winter.

The Telugu Desam has launched a “blanket collection” campaign to help students whom the party alleges have not been provided with enough warm linen.

“We have collected 1.4 lakh blankets so far. We will raise more such donations,” said Desam boss N. Chandrababu Naidu.

The campaign is aimed at embarrassing the Y.S.R Reddy regime into accepting the alleged appalling conditions in the hostels and its tight-fisted approach to the problem.

The Desam’s volunteers have gone to town highlighting the fact that the students’ health was at peril, hoping to whip up public anger over the blanket scarcity.

Naidu even unleashed figures that suggested the government was cutting corners on the students’ basic amenities. He claimed the amount spent on food for each student was Rs 11 (daily). The figure was Rs 150 on linen (annually).

Even jails — where the government was said to be spending Rs 35 and Rs 750 on each inmate — were better off. Blanket dealers are hoping the chief minister hits back, in kind.

More help to beat fog hassle

After airlines, the Delhi airport management is doing its bit to make life easier for fliers in the winter months.

The website of the Delhi International Airport, which is revamping one of the country’s busiest aviation hubs, now has a fog advisory and helpline numbers.

The site, updated recently, contains several features that provide more flight and passenger information. There is even a section that has information on cargo — which could be useful for courier companies and traders.

Other than the information on flight movement, the company has introduced a link on the site that offers details of the revamp plan and its progress.

The fog advisory follows plans announced by several airlines over the past few weeks to limit fog-induced inconvenience, with more helplines and phone alerts about delays.

DMK hunt for youth mascots

The DMK’s GeNext is racing to pick young turks who can propel the party.

M. Karunanidhi’s son M.K. Stalin and daughter Kanimozhi have zeroed in on faces they believe have the potential to be future mascots.

Stalin has plumped for star appeal, and is keen to groom upcoming actor Vijay. Kanimozhi, touted as her father’s literary heir, has seen promise in English professor Tamizhachhi Thangapandian.

Tamizhachi could play a key role in galvanising the DMK’s women supporters, Kanimozhi feels. Her choice has the blessings of elder brother and DMK’s Madurai strongman M.K. Azhagiri.

Stalin believes Vijay’s fans could be an asset, especially after actor Vijayakant rebuffed the DMK’s overtures and decided to float his own political front, the DMDK. Another star, Sarath Kumar, has taken the political plunge with his own outfit.

Vijay is also being eyed by PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss but the Union health minister’s no-smoking-on-screen diktat could be a turn-off.

On the house

Life for Haj pilgrims flying out and into Delhi just got easier.

A guesthouse will come up at Dwarka, Delhi’s fast-expanding residential enclave close to the international airport. The government recently cleared the Rs 94-lakh accommodation facility, which can also be used by Urs Mela visitors. “Delhi has been an important embarkation point. So, we have decided to provide these facilities,” chief minister Sheila Dikshit said.

The Delhi Development Authority has allotted 5,000sqm in Dwarka’s Sector-22 for the facility “Haz Manzil”.

Delhi: This Tuesday, watch director Prasanna’s adaptation of Moliere’s classic, Tartuffe, at Sammukh, National School of Drama (NSD), at 6.30pm. The venue is at Bahawalpur House, 1 Bhagwandas Road. It is a five-minute walk from the Mandi House Metro station. Tickets for Rs 30.

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