Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXXIII No. 20, February 1-15, 2024
Last fortnight saw some interesting statistics emerge from a hearing of the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal. Of the 1,206.59 hectares that the Pallikaranai Marsh is supposed to span, only 749 hectares or 62 per cent remain with the forest department. This edifying statistic was revealed by the Tamil Nadu Government after its two-year long survey of the marshland in response to an order to do so by the Bench. The rest of the revelations did not make for good reading either. The encroached 38 per cent is now occupied by a mix of institutions – public and private, and several housing colonies, apart from the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) which has one of its dumping yards here. The challenge now is to restore the marsh to its original extent.
There are several disturbing takeaways from the report. The first is the way the Government has merrily been allotting the marshland to several of its institutions. The railways for instance has been in occupation of 47 hectares and the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu is sitting on 163 hectares. The bigger offender is the GCC whose dumping ground occupies 174 hectares. The National Institute of Ocean Technology and the National Institute of Wind Energy are two others. How is it even possible that the Government, which is supposed to be the custodian of our natural heritage, has been parcelling out the marsh to so many of its own institutions?
It’s been barely a month since the Rs. 394-crore Kalaignar Centenary Bus Terminus (KCBT) at Kilambakkam became operational, but its story is already one filled with woes. KCBT is a mammoth facility with a total built-up area of 640,000 sqft and the capacity to operate more than 2,350 long distance buses, but it is still a bit rough around the edges – as on date, the terminus offers only a limited number of bus bays and lacks the comfort of shops and restaurants. And so, chaos ensued when a recent and rather abrupt
Last fortnight, your Deputy Editor had to travel to the city’s outskirts. Having completed his errand, he found there was enough time to explore and so as he wandered about, he came upon what looked like a modern temple. The vast open-air setting of the place, and the waterbody by its side
I embark on this article with a sense of trepidation. I have debated on writing it for years and maybe put it off for too long. These are times when legend is increasingly being accepted as fact and I am sure what I write below will not be to the liking of many. But as a chronicler it is my responsibility to put down what I have researched. I do not write this story
G. Sakunthala is remembered chiefly for her role in the film Manthiri Kumari but there was a lot more to her than that. A stage and radio artiste who also acted in films (her cameo in Uyarntha Manithan as Pankajam is brilliant to say the least), she was an associate of MGR. The following memories appear in the book MGR, Man of Humanity by Ithayakkani S Vijaya (publisher: The Alliance Co) and were translated