Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXIX No. 10, September 1-15, 2019
If the State and Central Government are to have their way, George Town, the heritage quarter of our city, is likely to soon be a thing of the past. On the anvil is a plan for the complete redevelopment of the space, including the creation of, hold your breath, a logistics park or a hub to cater to the financial and legal industry. The Government has opted to make a virtue out of every one of George Town’s weaknesses, all of which came about owing to prolonged neglect and apathy. The idea is laughable in the extreme and dangerous too, for it aims to destroy the cultural fabric of the space. But that the powers-that-be do not consider it to be so is quite clear from the recent pronouncements.
The area it has been announced, will be redeveloped with funds from the Centre’s Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). It will be recalled here that the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority has already been contemplating the redevelopment of the area based on the guidelines framed by the Justice Rajeswaran Committee, which looked into the conditions required for granting amnesty to buildings that have violated regulations. George Town it was found, was filled with structures that deviated from the rules, the Commissioner of the Corporation stating that as much as 99 per cent of the buildings here were put up in contravention of the laws.
Now this is being made the basis for the proposed redevelopment. The area it is argued has so many buildings that are faulty that the only way out is a new plan. The question is, why did the civic body and the planning authority look the other way when all these violations were going on? Are all the builders and the officials who collaborated with them to be allowed to go scot-free? And are we not in reality rewarding them with fresh construction opportunities?
Our THEN is Mr. Muthiah cutting a cake shaped like Central Station, flanked by Sriram V and Quiz Master V.V. Ramanan. Our NOWis a cake baked by Cake’kanum where each layer incorporates some aspect of the City’s heritage.
Now that Phase I is functional, it is time to take stock of how the Metro is going to improve the city’s environment and citizens’ lifestyles when both phases are completed. Phase I of the Metro has cleared the traffic in many parts of Chennai and imparted a modern look to the city. Structures under Phase II, now set to take off, are going to be sleeker and less intrusive of road space. Beautification apart, the expectation from the mass transit system is that it will clear traffic congestion on the roads, reduce pollution, provide an inexpensive mode of transport and, because of its predictable schedule and speed, deliver more time for leisure. All this makes for a better quality of life when realised.
Phase I is a sample, covering 45km out of the total 163km of the two phases. Its results can now be extrapolated to predict the likely outcome of the second
English language films made in India by Indians are quite uncommon, and sometimes tend to be self-conscious and stilted. Of course, there have been a few lovely exceptions, and some of the better efforts can be free-flowingly multi-lingual, at least bilingual, as many of us are in real life conversations. The recent India premiere of His Father’s Voice, produced by Kavadi Productions – the Puducherry-based husband and wife team of K. Kaarthikeyan Kirubhakaran and Ashwini Pratap Pawar, along with Shankar Kirubhakaran – was refreshingly free of artifice, despite a storyline that offered plenty of scope for just that kind of treatment. It traces the journey, both physical and spiritual, of Kris, a young male dancer battling the rage, confusion and acute sense of loss that follow the estrangement of his parents and his father’s absence from his life since his boyhood days. Happily, the film has equally successfully avoided the safe path of a maudlin tearjerker.
Chartered accountant Karthik Bhatt and journalist Srinivasa Ramanujam won the annual Madras Quiz 2019 on Sunday held at the MMA auditorium in the city. It was held as part of the annual Madras Day celebrations.
Both are residents of the Mylapore neighbourhood. The duo climbed up steadily in the final round of the quiz which featured six teams, all seasoned quizzers.