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Vol. XXXII No. 12, October 1-15, 2022

Archives: Vol. XXXII No. 12, October 1-15, 2022


Government (finally) moves on heritage conservation

-- by The Editor

There is some good news on the heritage front. The State Government has announced a budget of Rs 100 crores or thereabouts for the restoration of 17 heritage structures across the State. The buildings that will be attended to within the city are Rajaji Hall, the Pay and Accounts Office East and Agricultural Records Building (we presume this means the Humayun Mahal and the tower that Chisholm built to link the two wings of the Chepauk Palace), and parts of the King Institute. Out of the Rs. 100 crores, around Rs. 44 crores will be spent on these city-based structures. In addition, it is learnt that the Heritage Wing of the Public Works Department is also attending to the old Government Press (earlier the Mint) on Mint Street as well as focusing on completing the restoration of Humayun Mahal. Once these are all done, the State Government will have a track record to be proud of and hopefully will prove an inspiration to owners of private heritage buildings.

What is not spelt out with any clarity however is the process that will be followed. There is no doubt that it will be the Heritage Wing of the Public Works Department that will take up the activity. But is it even equipped to handle work of such magnitude? A news report a year or so ago had it that with just 19 engineers and 25 assistants, the Heritage Wing was struggling to handle the restoration of just Humayun Mahal, work on which has been in progress


Recent Swiggy strike enumerates the need for labour codes governing gig work

-- by A Special Correspondent

A June 2022 NITI Aayog report titled India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy carried a few revealing facts about the sector. 77 lakh workers were engaged in gig employment in 2020-21, a number that is projected to hit 2.35 crores in 2029-30, which would amount to a significant 4.1 per cent


Heritage Watch

Rajaji Hall – What after restoration?

The State Government has announced a planned outlay of Rs. 17 crore for the restoration of Rajaji Hall (see main story alongside). But what it has chosen to remain silent on is the plan for the utilisation of the building after the work is completed. A structure can survive only if it is continuously put to use and is subject to routine maintenance. This is not the case at present with Rajaji Hall.


The Cat Burglar of Madras

-- by Sriram V

‘In general, a cat burglar is a thief who intrudes into homes to steal personal property, getting their name from the idea that cats can be quiet and sneaky. Cat burglars are essentially thieves who are able to break into a home without being noticed’ – thus runs a definition on the internet. Madras city had just such a cat burglar in the 1920s and he gave the police in the city quite a run before finally being apprehended.


Umbrella Magic – Ebrahim Currim & Sons

-- by Shobha Menon

Go to Ebrahim Currim & Sons on NSC Bose Road at the busy Parrys junction, and you can pick up an umbrella that matches your personality, your mood and style – even if it’s not raining! It all began when Ebrahim Currim, a kirana store owner in Mumbai, imported the first ‘rain’ umbrella to India in 1860, until which time the only Indian umbrellas around were

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