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Vol. XXV No. 18, January 1-15, 2016

Archives: Vol. XXV No. 18, January 1-15, 2016


Steps to make City world-class

(By A Special Correspondent)

The waters have receded, those manning centres for immediate relief have gone back to their respective activities, and now the focus shifts to long-term rehabilitation. There is now a realisation that Chennai cannot afford to expand the way it did. That it does need to grow is a reality, but such growth has to be based on a sustainable model. How can this be done? A macro approach at the planning and policy level is necessary, but there has to be considerable attention to detail at ground level.

Did you know for instance that there is really no agency that looks into the planning and lay-out of any new colony in the city? This is not unique to Chennai alone – all Indian cities suffer from the same problem. At a rarefied level exists the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and it concerns itself only with master plans, of which it has produced but two, the last one being ten years ago and subject to much dispute. It reserves for itself the right to sanction construction. The Corporation, which is supposed to monitor adherence of actual building to plan, does not control what happens by way of drainage, water supply or electricity, each being under an independent authority. The roads do come under the Corporation, but if it is a national or state highway, then there are additional powers that hold control. It is therefore no wonder that our residential and business areas are such a mess – a road laid by the Corporation can be cut at any time by Metrowater, a footpath can be blocked by an electrical transformer or junction box. There is nobody who controls all these activities.


Can we become citizens once again?

by The Editor

The lead story above speaks of how our city does not have a single administrative entity that is willing to look at all the problems facing it. That is certainly a matter of concern that will probably need much looking into and a solution at the policy level. Meanwhile, there appear to be several manageable aspects at a micro-level that we as citizens, particularly those of us belonging to the middle class and above, have forgotten. These are responsibilities that we need to take on ourselves if the lessons from the recent floods are not to be discarded.


Know your Fort better

by Sriram V.

When you are done with exploring St. Thomas’ Street, walk west, on the road that flanks the southern wall of the Fort. You will cross St. Thomas’ Gate on your left. Walk further and you will notice that the road now turns at a sharp angle towards northwest. Cradled in this bend is a long two-storied building This is the arsenal of Fort St George.


The Maths Prof. who became a librarian

Chandra Sri Ram, a grand-niece of S.R. Ranganathan, the legendary librarian, recalls him after a visit to Sirkazhi, where he was born and did his early education.

Almost every city, town and village in the world has one. Certainly every university and almost every school.


Childhood visits recalled

to Monegar Choultry

A sure sign of growing old is that you start developing an interest in the past. I now recall that when I was a child, my Sundays had a set routine. After breakfast, my parents, brother and I drove to my (paternal) grandparents’ home and spent the day with them.