Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVI No. 23, March 16-31, 2017
The newspapers recently were full of how the strike by water tanker operators had brought Old Mahabalipuram Road aka IT Corridor to its knees. The much-vaunted hi-tech area, with offices developing high-end software solutions for companies abroad, is pretty low-tech when it comes to that precious commodity – water. It just needed three days of no supply for the trouble to assume crisis proportions.
The statistics are mind-boggling. The Economic Times has it that three-fourths of Tamil Nadu’s Rs 50,000 crore software exports happen from the IT -corridor. A day’s shutdown would mean a loss of Rs 100 crore. Several Fortune 500 companies depend on this stretch for their IT solutions and some of India’s biggest software names operate from here. And believe it or not, they all depend on tankers for their supply of water! Strange though it may seem, Metrowater does not cover the area and so, the companies, IT Parks and other precincts here are left to their own devices. And these are the most ancient techniques possible – tapping water from wells nearby and getting them supplied by tankers.
This has worked well for almost a decade now. However, the rural wells that hitherto -catered to the needs are now under a lot of stress. Villages are becoming wary of the water -being sucked out and many have lodged protests at the way they are being exploited. In 2014, the Panchayat of Solanur on the OMR filed a petition seeking restrictions on commercial establishments in the vicinity sinking bore wells. These were being drilled to a depth of 400 feet, the complainants said, and were depleting the groundwater in the area quite rapidly. The matter is still sub-judice but it is indicative of what could become a trend.
Madras Musings celebrated its 25th year and Fort St. George’s 375th year with a year-long series in 2015-16 titled Know Your Fort better. It was a fact-packed series by Sriram V of the Fort’s 30-plus major sites which has now been brought out as this guide by Palaniappa Brothers. A slim, easy to handle book, a visitor to the Fort can walk his/her way around the Fort with this alone as guide.
The first rays of sunlight dramatically capture the roosting flocks… and this (on left) is what they look like during the day, in the midst of the tank. Pictures were taken by Murali Narayanan during the Annual Waterbirds’ Count at Vedan-than-gal. (Courtesy: Madras Naturalists’ Society.)
The recent death of a Rameswaram fisherman in Palk Strait waters has once again brought to the fore the thorny problem of Indian Tamil fishermen fishing in these -waters and, many of them, -ending up in Sri Lankan jails if not worse.
And so the theatre has been demolished. A flex banner at the entrance to the vast compound has it that “Pilot Theatre is demolishing” and then adds, “Trespasser will be prosecuted,” thereby indicating that groups are most welcome. But the groups or crowds have long ceased coming to Pilot.