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Vol. XXIX No. 15, November 16-30, 2019

Archives: Vol. XXIX No. 15, November 16-30, 2019


Let’s waste water once more

by The Editor

The year 2019 promises to be one in which Chennai will receive adequate rains. This is one of those quinquennial occurrences that does much to restore faith in the future of our metropolis. For the rest of the time we are quite happy to lament loudly about the shortage of water and indulge in doomsday predictions. There is however very little concrete action as far as conservation of water is concerned. In fact it becomes even less in years when the rains are plentiful, which is when we ought to be saving every drop that falls.

For the first time since 2014, Chennai has registered a surplus of 30 per cent in the rainfall received till the month of September. With the northeast monsoon predicted to be normal, it is expected that the water crisis that has gripped the city since 2017 will ease quite a bit this year. This is of course a welcome development and Chennai can congratulate itself on its serendipitous fortune. The sad part is that with the pressure easing, all action on conserving water has more or less ceased. The first of the signs that this is no longer a hot topic likely to get media attention is when rainwater harvesting and conservation cease to be the subject of seminars hosted by fringe elements and social climbers. Hollywood stars too have stopped expressing concern over Chennai’s water scarcity and godmen also have moved on. Of course these do not have much of an impact beyond spreading some awareness at best. But what is worrying is that people who are affected by water shortages have also begun putting off implementation of rainwater harvesting schemes purely on the assumption that water will once again be available in plenty post the monsoon.

The Government too has gone on to focus on other matters. With the withdrawal of the water train from Jolarpet, the most striking reminder that we were brought to our knees just a few months ago has also vanished. Emergency measures for water not being needed means these will not garner publicity and so will not translate into votes. It is no wonder that there was not a ripple in the media, both social and otherwise, when the Government admitted that the new reservoir and the fifth for the city, slated for completion in October this year, will operate only up to 30 per cent of its capacity, chiefly owing to some civil works that have become hugely delayed. The Thervoy Kandigai- Kannankottai Reservoir, planned to have a capacity of 1,000 million cubic feet of water, will be able to take in just 1/3rd of that volume. This means that that we are not much better as compared to what we were in 2015 when it comes to our ability to store rainwater. As for the rest of that surplus monsoon that we are likely to have, all of it will make its way to the sea. And so, we did not learn much from our varied experiences of flood, cyclone and drought between 2015 and 2019.

If this is the way we are to administer our storage and usage of water, we are not likely to progress much. Having recognised that we have a problem,


Old & New

Old College House

Our OLD is the cover picture of the Madras Journal of Literature and Science, dated July to Dec 1847. Could the building featured in it be the College of Fort St. George? Our NEW is a picture of a structure with similar architectural features that still stands in the same campus but which is much smaller in scale. For more details read The College of College Road


Revamp deep-sea fishing scheme to provide relief for fishermen

by A Special Correspondent

Readers may remember that we had published a two-part article regarding TN’s deep-sea fishing scheme earlier, in Madras Musings Vol. XXVIII, Nos. 10 & 11. This is a follow-up article to monitor the scheme’s progress. – The Editor

It has been two years since the Central and Tamil Nadu governments launched a deep-sea fishing project as a jointly funded arrangement. The project provided a major capital subsidy to replace 2000 boats with modern vessels for deep-sea fishing, thereby obviating the dependence on trawling in Sri Lankan territorial waters and offering hope of saving our fishermen from being jailed by Sri Lankan authorities for transgressing fishing rights.

The Central and State Governments extended a total of 70 per cent capital subsidy (50 per cent from the former and 20 per cent from the latter) towards the


When the cows come home

Every year, during Diwali and Pongal, we get an expected visitor. Named differently at different times, we have been visited by Gopala, Perumal, Jambavan, Lakshmi and Kanaka Durga, names which invariably originate from the vast pantheon of Gods and Goddesses. This time, Venkatesha Perumal, a two-year calf/cow, visited us as its owner sang and showered encomiums, asking the cow to nod its head at various pauses, bestowing its wishes that were filled with everything bountiful. The animal was draped resplendently in bright colours of blue, green, red and pink, its forehead adorned with cowry strings and its hump stringed around with a garland of bells which jangled every time it turned its head. 


Lost Landmarks of Chennai

The College of College Road


Which is the college after which College Road takes its name? Women’s Christian would be the most common answer though some have averred it is the Good Shepherd’s School. The correct