Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXXI No. 6, July 1-15, 2021
The great composer Tyagaraja in one of his songs speaks of the futility of decking a corpse with gold jewels. That is exactly what came to mind on reading a headline in one of the city newspapers recently. The Government it said aims to complete beautification of the Buckingham Canal by October this year. To what purpose this sprucing up when the core issue, namely the lack of flow of water in most parts of the waterway and continued pollution and degradation in places where it does flow, is not addressed?
As per the newspaper report, the entire stretch of the canal adjoining Rajiv Gandhi Salai (OMR) will be beautified. This will comprise the usual suspects if we can be pardoned for using such a term – a pedestrian plaza, a Miyawaki forest (the latest craze in civic administration in Chennai after red granite, polished flagstones for pavements and hanging gardens) and a children’s play area. There are some other inclusions which indicate that our city is advancing in thought, though may be not in action. On the anvil is an open-air performance space (just next to the deafening roar of traffic on the OMR), a sculpture court (!!!) and ‘well-maintained’ public conveniences – so certified even before they have been put up. All of these will come up under the smart city initiative.
We are not being dogs in the manger by criticising these plans. It is just that none of these will last beyond the day of the inauguration given past history. If the T Nagar plaza is anything to go by its equivalent in Adyar will end up choking the already existing carriage way and also become a haven for hawkers. While we are not against hawking per se we would like to point that this needs to be disciplined and the administration has time and again proved inept in this regard.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India in it’s audit report tabled in the Assembly earlier this month reports that Tamil Nadu’s government undertakings have sustained losses running into crores. Notably, it released its assessment of electric power generation undertaking TANGEDCO (Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation; year ended March 31, 2019), liquor undertaking TASMAC (Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation; year ended March 31, 2018) and the TICEL Bio Park (Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Bio Park; year ended March 31, 2018) underlining several areas of improvement.
It was November 4, 1985. The sun had not risen yet when the catamarans were being removed from the Marina beach. This led to the fisherfolk protesting against an attempt at evicting them for a beach beautification project spearheaded by the Chennai Corporation. The month-long protest ended with police firing, and five people wound up dead.
Thirty-six years later, the Greater Chennai Corporation is chalking out a slew of beach beautification initiatives under ‘Project Blue’ as a part of Singara Chennai 2.0. The latter is a project aimed at redesigning and redeveloping Madras.
I’ve never seen a tram in my life.
Not directly, that is. I’ve seen them rattling along lines in movies and glimpsed static pictures in magazines.