Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVII No. 2, May 1-15, 2017
“For ten years I have been in police service here, but not even once have I seen anything like this. I have brought my family, friends and known persons and showed them this. Everybody was stunned. Even my superior officer who goes walking here, after seeing this, instructed us not to make any noise and disturb them.” This was what a police personnel working in this area had to say to me.
He was talking about Rosy Starlings, one among several birds species which migrate from Europe to India due to climate change and non-availability of food. They return home in March or April.
For two months, around 5 pm every day I have seen them flying in groups from Manapakkam, Ramapuram, but I could not find where they were roosting. After continuously following them for a few days, I finally found that they spent their nights in the big banyan and pipal trees in the playground near Police Office Road, next to Guindy-Butt Road. One evening, I went to see them. At dusk, one small group was coming towards me. Later, it became bigger and bigger; some thousands of Rosy Starlings danced in the sky.
At a time when our State is not in the news for any edifying reason, here is one more statistic to add to the general gloom and doom – Tamil Nadu tops the country when it comes to the number of engineering colleges that have applied for closure. This has been a trend since 2015 when applications to this effect began to be made for the first time. That year the number was 17. Now it is 22. The process is not so simple and permission is yet to be granted to most, but it is indicative of deep rot.
Supply of engineering college seats far outstrips demand in the State. And it is the case in many other States too. Around 275 colleges have applied for closure all over the country. That Tamil Nadu tops this list is perhaps no surprise considering that the State has over 550 engineering colleges in it, a huge number. And there is a history behind this excess.
Chennai residents will be happy to hear once again that, like the Cooum River, the Adyar River is to get a make-over with riverfront development, plugging of sewage outfalls, modular sewage plants, walkways and cycle tracks. The project report “has been readied”, we are told. Particularly heartening is the assurance that encroachments of the river banks at 27 locations will be removed. Promises of riverfront projects on the Adyar and the Cooum have been made in the past and thousands of crores have been received for this purpose from 1968. But there is very little visible evidence of execution of any plan. Benefits of past piecemeal attempts have lasted for a while and returned to old ways for want of strictly supervised back-up rigour in upkeep and maintenance. At best, we have seen signs of improvements in bits and pieces here and there devoid of totality and a “here-it-is-ready-to-use” kind of delivery which alone makes a difference to citizens’ lives.
Ground realities indicate that Chennai will not get adequate water from the Krishna River. The southern parts of Andhra Pradesh abutting Chennai are drought-prone during summer. Andhra has to cater to the requirements of its own people and only then to her neighbour’s when possible.
Moreover, the Krishna Water project was conceived more to benefit the dry Telangana region and not the people of Chennai.
May I request readers of Madras Musings, who undoubtedly share my passion for our endearing city, to help me in my search for missing sketches and greeting cards done by me.