Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol XXXI No. 22, March 1-15, 2022
The elections to the Greater Chennai Corporation have just been held. Chennai has not covered itself in glory. Just about 43.58 per cent came out to vote. It shows a shocking apathy towards participating in what is a civic responsibility. And if we shy away from such duties, we then automatically deny ourselves the right to criticise what goes on in the name of city administration. That said, it is necessary to find out the possible reasons for such a low turnout.
The Corporation itself is partially responsible for the present situation. Used as the city is to get along without an elected council for years, most residents of Chennai have no idea as to what a Councillor does or what they can expect out of their elected local representative. Clearly, the muster roll scandal of the 1970s and the long absence of a council in the last ten years have had their impact on at least two generations. Secondly, news reports of the way the Councillors conduct themselves when the council does function hardly make for edifying reading. People seem to have reached a level of indifference on who is elected and what they do. Thirdly, the electoral rolls having been revised in what was a seemingly a never-ending exercise for which the Corporation repeatedly sought extensions from the High Court, many found their names missing in the list when they did turn up to vote. A fourth reason is the steady whittling down of the scope of work of the Corporation itself – so many other agencies have been carved out of it for specific functions that the civic body is seen as a mere repository of records and an agency to collect taxes. The COVID pandemic, though visibly on the decline, may have also been a cause for the low voter turnout. While numbers are steeply falling, there is still a fear of falling victim to the virus and people may have been reluctant to step out.
The children used to come every evening after school, armed with cricket bats and balls, badminton racquets and footballs. They would descend upon the Chennai Corporation playground at RA Puram in droves, challenging one another to earnest matches. Anyone driving past on RK Mutt road or Brodies Castle road could see the children at play, occasionally catching thrilling glimpses of solemn contests, joyous victory, or bitter defeat. The kids have all but disappeared today, for CMRL has taken over the playground to undertake
In any other country it would be a nice walkway across a waterbody. Imagine a restored bridge, with Perspex or some other protective glass on both sides, informative plaques all along the walls, or even local art providing a great display for walkers. What a sight that would be with glorious views of the sunrise over the horizon. It may even mark a great turning point in the life of the river.
Not so in our city, or for that matter in any Indian city. The Elphinstone Bridge over the Adyar river has been given over to the elements. A supremely ugly waterpipe now runs on it
Barely a month after the city woke up to the news that Adyar Gate Hotel aka Park Sheraton aka Crowne Plaza was up for sale, it was announced that the TVS Group was selling its prime property on Mount Road/Anna Salai. Unlike the former news item, where the owners of the property are still denying it, there was no doubt in the latter. Sundaram Motors, the TVS Group company that owned the nearly five-acre property confirmed that it had been sold for a consideration of around Rs 550 Crores in an all-cash deal to the Brigade Group. The buyers plan to develop 2.14 lakh sq.ft of retail and commercial space on the plot
February 1976 was the beginning of my career with the company, then called Affiliated East-West Press Pvt.Ltd. After graduation and a six-month secretarial course in Davar’s College of Commerce, I was sent to Mr. K.S. Padmanabhan’s office to take on the replacement for the Secretary who was going on leave. After probation, I was confirmed by the company in September 1976 with a monthly salary of Rs. 375. From then on to February 1984, it was a roller coaster ride. The two-bedroom flat converted into a small office on Montieth Road was ideal. Mr Padmanabhan, Paddu as he was called by everyone, was my mentor and I learnt all about work culture from him.I would bang away on the Godrej typewriter and later shifted to a Facit machine.