Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVII No. 19, January 16-31, 2018
Ooty Golf Course all frosted up saw the New Year out
“Super Moon” over the Marina (above) greeted the New Year in. VIJAY SRIRAM adds that the moon picture was taken “using a 300 mm lens”.
Chennai may never become a super metro or a smart city, whatever those two terms may mean or imply, but it is fast becoming one of the most built-up cities of India. The value of open space is fast being forgotten and Government and private parties alike view all such areas only as places where buildings can be put up. You name the precinct – colleges, University, the High Court, the stations, administrative headquarters – everywhere the trend is the same. More and more buildings are coming up. No thought is being given to alternative campuses in other parts of the city, and as a result, congestion is on the rise. It is high time the administration thinks of preserving what little open space it possesses and puts it to good, creative, alternative use. And in this it would appear that a more congested city than ours, namely Kolkata, can show the way.
There is disturbing news casting a cloud of delay and uncertainty over the sanction of Phase 2 of Chennai Metro. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has questioned the viability of Phase 2, expressing concern over a poor patronage of Phase 1 of only 30,000 per day. The Ministry cannot be blamed for raising this issue, as the low usage is a fact and a matter of concern. This journal has raised this concern in an earlier issue (MM, September 16th) pleading for imaginative pricing and promotional strategies.
The Ministry’s calculation of pro rata ridership threshold for financial viability based on completed mileage of track is, however, questionable and is unrealistic. The forecast usage of 7.76 lakh per day in the project report for a 45 km line has been proportionately reduced to an expectation of 4.5 lakh per day for the 28 km of line, completed so far. The expectation that each section or portion thereof, on completion, should result in a proportionate footfall would be right only if typical travel habits were highly localised. In travelling, people do move from one zone to another. Therefore, without a full connectivity network it is difficult to test the adoption rate. The typical example is of the reluctance of passengers to take the Metro to Central station even though a feeder service is provided connecting Nehru Park station to Central. The inconvenience of changing from one mode to another, although the Metro price includes connectivity, is a dampener. The assumption in evaluating the whole project by the experience of one partial segment is faulty.
It is the Pongal season and Madras that is Chennai is in the grip of The Hindu’s Lit for Life fest 2018. It is ironic that when matters literary are being debated elsewhere in the city, the oldest library here, or, to be precise, the building that claims to have housed it, is in ruins with nothing being done about it. I allude to what is known as the Clive’s Library Building, Fort St George.
There are several unresolved mysteries about this structure. Was this really a library used by Clive? That may not be a correct interpretation. But we do know that as a young man and a lowly Writer, Clive was encouraged to read books by the then Governor of the Fort, Sir Nicholas Morse, who was of a bookish temperament. He had a well-stocked library and encouraged the Company’s servants to read. The bulk of the books were religious in nature and Clive plodded through several. It is believed that they helped in calming down what was a temperament naturally prone to depression. As to where Morse’s library was in the Fort we do not know. It was very likely in Fort House, which was central to the entire precinct and not the present building referred to as Clive’s Library, which is on the northern side of the Fort, separated by an arched passageway from the Exchange Building.
N. Pattabhi Raman.
When Dr. N. Pattabhi Raman started Sruti, a “south Indian classical music and dance magazine” in October 1983, it was by and large a family affair. His two elder brothers Sundaresan and Venkatraman were publisher and financial adviser, my maternal uncle S. Ramaswamy was senior editor, my fellow assistant editors, Anandhi Ramachandran and Gowri Ramnarayan were closely related to me, ‘research staff’ was Kamakshi, Gowri’s cousin, business manager Ravi Rajagopal was a nephew of Pattabhi, T.A. Narayanan, the printer, was his cousin’s son-in-law, and photographer Pat Raman was, well, Pattabhi.