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Vol. XXXIII No. 19, January 16-31, 2024
The Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet has just concluded. It was high profile event with the State pulling out all stops to ensure everything went off without a hitch. The results have, according to the Government, been most satisfactory with a reported Rs. 6 lakh crore of investment agreements having been made. It is to be hoped that a significant percentage of these will become reality. Too often, as former CM M. Karunanidhi once remarked, these events deliver very little beyond their initial hype. But then we need not be pessimistic about it and can hope for the best. What however needs looking into is what is the proportion of projects proposed around Chennai and what is planned in the rest of the State.
As any visitor to the meet would vouch, the Trade Centre was the ideal venue for the event – it had the space to accommodate large numbers and the halls needed for the various breakout sessions happening simultaneously. Also, as any visitor would have vouched, accessing the place was a nightmare with traffic inching towards it from miles ahead. Work in progress on a metro rail line by the side of the location did not help matters either. And the rain added to the chaos. It showed up the limitations of the city’s infrastructure. As overseas visitors would not have failed to note, we are a city bursting at the seams.
If the present administration is serious about leaving a lasting legacy on the State, it should begin looking at how it can attract investment to the rest of Tamil Nadu. While it is to be accepted that having the event at the capital made sense by way of infrastructure and avoiding the necessity of travel for the cabinet and the bureaucracy,
The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) recently released the results of the 2023 Swachh Survekshan, a cleanliness survey conducted as part of the Swachh Bharat (Urban) campaign and which covers 446 cities. The evaluation parameters covered the cleanliness levels of residential and commercial areas as well as public spaces, water bodies, parks, schools and waste management arrangements. Indore and Surat shared
The Nandambakkam Trade Centre is of recent origin as is well known. This large venue played host to the Tamil Nadu Global Investors’ Meet 2024 last fortnight. It was the latest such event in a long line of such meets, trade fairs and industrial exhibitions that stretch back in time. Madras was the first city of India to ever host an industries exhibition and that was in 1855!
We look back at the venues that played host before Nandambakkam came along. Our first pic is of Banqueting aka Rajaji Hall, which was home to the 1855 exhibition.
The four-face clock on the Presidency College main building is a majestic attraction. Only a few in Madras would know that this clock — has a name: the ‘Fyson Clock’. Mr. Muthiah in his Madras Miscellany column (https://www.the-hindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-columns/have-they-got-them-right
Recently, the American nephew asked if we could visit Gemini Studios, the next time we find ourselves in the old hometown. I tell the teenager the studio was defunct even by the time I was in my teens. Besides, I am not sure Gemini Studios was ever like the famous Universal Studios in California, which offers guided tours.
The boy’s curiosity, however, made me revisit the bilingual writer