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Vol. XXXII No. 23, March 16-31, 2023

Our Readers Write

Statues on the Marina

Talking of statues on the Marina (MM: February 16, 2023) I remember, after the statues of Tamil scholars were erected as a part of the World Tamil Conference over 50 years ago, it was then rumored that the statues actually came to life in the dark of the night in celebration of the Conference.

Some claimed to have seen Kannagi and U.Ve. Swaminatha Iyer playing ring tennis across the road. All so eerie!

G. Ram Mohan
Flat 2B, Arihant Sr Narayana
Door nos. 33 & 35
Fourth main Road
R A Puram, Chennai 600 028

Apollo Hospitals

Reference to ‘Apollo Hospitals – Early struggles’, (MM, February 16, 2023). A bouquet of kudos to Dr. C. Pratap Reddy, the honourable founder of the first corporate hospital with global standards in India. After its success and fame, some others also ventured to establish similar hospitals in India, but Apollo Hospitals still continues to function with its glory in the field of medical care. Even though there were many initial problems while taking a footstep, it’s founder has succeeded in creating legendary footprints. It has grown with several branches and many para medical institutions. It has successfully managed to remain in the forefront of medical services. Recently it was reported that the Apollo Hospitals has established the Proton Beam therapy for cancer treatment, first of its nature, at very high cost at its Chennai cancer unit, when others gave up such attempts after facing several hurdles. The power to move with grit for making such efforts against all odds is commendable.

At the same time, people feel that Apollo are high starred hospitals and many feel frustrated not to have access to them due to the high cost of treatments. Having established a strong foundation, the management should try to offer affordable rates to the subaltern and poorer folks. It can solicit help from many charitable institutions for contributions to its ventures to serve the patients and earmark a higher portion of profit for CSR to help the people. However, it is true that the charges are cheaper than those prevailing abroad.

About the Proton therapy introduced by it, a doctor from Thiruvananthapuram opined that,“it is regrettable that high cost of these therapies is a huge hurdle to cross for the poor and “medically undeserved”. Combination therapy that combines radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, including immunotherapy has been found to be more effective, both in terms of the cost and better prognosis. Advanced treatments must be accessible for all those with cancer.”
I sincerely hope that such treatments would be made available to the common folk in the near future.

Anna Nagar
Chennai 600 040

The Metro and the changing city scape

When we resided off Mount Road in the 1960s and 70s, there were a few places I haunted. New Elphinstone Theatre, Bata showroom, Mount Road Post office, Christ Church School, Buharis restaurant and Higginbothams.

The walk from home to Higginbothams took about 20 minutes and there were many eye-catchers along the way which took our minds off the sweat. You could spend as much time as you wanted in this bookstore, even read a few pages of a book you liked and nobody asked you nasty questions!

Some years ago, when I dropped in at the vintage book store, there was a dullness all around. Work on Chennai Metro was on at a furious pace and this had disrupted all the businesses on Mount Road, now called Anna Salai.

“We hope the new rail line will bring us new customers,” the store manager had told me. What he was hoping for was for book-lovers from all parts of the city visiting Higginbothams once access by the Metro was made easy and simple and cheap.

Mount Road has revived but it is not anymore, the buzz road that it once was.

Chennai Metro projects are underway in many zones of our city. Phase Two is an ambitious one, with one line running north-south and another, east-west. And once these lines are in operation, mobility is going to be great. What interests me, and will for all those who take great interest in this city, are the changes that are brought about by such large civic projects. They change the face of our neighbourhoods.

Earlier this week, I had to shop at a place in the middle of TTK Road in Alwarpet. I got there close to 7 p.m. There was a strange silence all around me, this in a zone which was not too long ago a bustling channel of vehicles and a hub for retail stores. Massive barricades on two sides of the road enclosed civil work on the local station for Chennai Metro that would come up, two buildings had been brought down and many more would be shaved off in the weeks to follow.

Changes are also taking place in Luz and on Kutchery Road, on Luz Church Road and off TTK Road, as they are in other parts of the city. And if you are familiar with these areas, you may have noticed that shops you frequented, apartments where your friends used to reside and hawkers who used to serve your needs have all gone or will soon disappear.

The Marina off Queen Mary’s College and the TN Police Headquarters is already looking different, with giant cranes and massive barricades dominating this skyline. Imagine what this beach area will look like when the Metro stations, parking lots and newly designed zones come up.

The changes are immense. Reason why I have been asking city-based freelance photographers to document the changes that are taking place in the city because of Chennai Metro. Can you imagine what Luz Circle (which is to be the intersection of two Metro rail lines) will look like in 2025? – Courtesy: Mylapore Times.

– Vincent D’ Souza

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