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VOL. XXIV NO. 14, November 1-15, 2014
Our Readers write

Similar situations

I do not hold any brief for the Government or defend the Government servants (MM, October 16th). But the position in the private sector is no better. At least in the Government, the residence telephone numbers are listed in the directory and you can catch someone in the house or barge into his or her room because the person is a ‘public servant’. But you cannot even enter a private company office without swiping a card. I have written and talked several times that the Chairman, MD or CEO of a private company – you are sure – exists but you do not know his whereabouts and there is no way you can contact him. In a private company, the secretary (PA or PC in Government) never allows you to cross her and if you persist as I do, she notes down all your details and the chairman or CEO will call you back if he feels that you are sufficiently important.

More or less a similar situation prevails in the fourth estate. For instance, there are three mistakes in your Quiz column: 1) It was not in Vana Ratham in 1956 that Lata Mangeshkar sang for a Tamil movie first. Her debut was in 1952 in the dubbed version of Aan with Dilip Kumar and Nimmi – the music director was Naushad who used the same tune and Lata sang in Tamil. The same mistake was committed first in an article in The Hindu recently. I tried to contact the writer a few times, but no way. I did not want to send an e-mail because they say that they get hundreds of e-mails and so do not read most of them! 2) There was no Governor Sri Prakasam. He was Sri Prakasa. 3) Emden shelled Madras during World War I (not WWII). Quiz Master: Correct thyself!

Coming from the Gujarat IAS cadre, I appreciate the humour in your lead article: “It is amazing how that city is considered the fount of all wisdom these days.”

Dr. G. Sundaram i.a.s. rtd.
A-601, ‘Dugar Apartments’
Keshav Perumal Puram
Greenways Road
Chennai 600 028

Editor’s Note: (a) We fail to see the connection between the public sector behaviour and errors pointed out in our Quiz, unless it was Dr. Sundaram’s inability to contact a writer in The Hindu. b) Regarding errors 2 and 3, most readers would realise that the printer’s devil was at work and that a veteran quizmaster would not make such obvious mistakes.

Enforce GO

Further to the Editor speaking of “Hope for the Canal” (MM, September 16th), I refer you to Madras GO No. 213 dated 30-3-1989 which states that “No industry causing serious water pollution should be permitted within one kilometre from the embankments of rivers, streams, dams etc., and that the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board should furnish a list of such industries to all local bodies.” By a subsequent amendment in 1997, the distance was increased to five kilometres. The GO makes mention of two Annexures, Annexure I, the listing of highly polluting industries, and Annexure II, naming the rivers, streams, reservoirs and canals in Tamil Nadu. Ten rivers, ten tanks and reservoirs, and three canals are mentioned in Chennai and Chengalpattu Districts. The Adyar, Cooum and Palar are detailed in the Annexure as rivers in Chennai District. But among the canals, the Buckingham Canal is not mentioned.

The GO clearly states, “The Government impose a total ban on the setting up of the highly polluting industries mentioned in Annexure I” within the limits stated. The Supreme Court, in the case of Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum Vs Union of India and others, referred to this GO and the Full Bench observed: “We have our doubts whether above quoted government order is being enforced by the Tamil Nadu Government. The order has been issued to control pollution and protect environment. We are of the view that the order should be strictly enforced and no industry listed in Annexure I to the order should be permitted to be set up in the prohibited area.” That this direction of the Supreme Court is honoured more in the breach is seen from the present state of the Palar, Adyar and Cooum rivers, apart from the canals, in which the Buckingham Canal must be included.

Among fifteen polluting industries listed and detailed in Annexure 1 are tanneries, textiles, sago and electroplating. In a study conducted by the Centre for Water Resources, Anna University and the AMM Murugappa Chettiar Research Foundation, Taramani, as part of a UNICEF-commissioned project for evolution of a national water quality management policy, the condition of the quality of water in some of the rivers in Chennai was found to be as follows: “An anomalous chromium concentration occurs along the Adyar river and coastline. A large quantity of effluents is discharged by nearly 90 tanneries in places such as Pallavaram, Chromepet and Pammal, increasing the chromium content in the groundwater. Researchers point out that chromium is highly toxic in nature and the intrusion should be stopped at the earliest. If the groundwater sources are stressed further, the quality of water resources will deteriorate rapidly.”

It is the duty of the Chennai Corporation and, more so, of the Tamil Nadu Government to enforce the Madras GO No. 213 dated March 30, 1989 as per the direction of the Supreme Court.

P.S. Subrahmanian
2 A, Nalanda Apartments
2, 5th Street
Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai
Chennai 600 004

Correcting ourselves

The headline of the lead story in the last fortnight (October 16th) issue of Madras Musings suffered at the hands of the printer’s devil. Instead of “Same rule” he had it as “Some rule”, obviously not realising the importance of the word same in the context of the story.

The Editor

For Swachh to work

Can Swachh work in Chennai (MM, October 16), I wonder. Ever since the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules 2000 came into existence, we speak more about scientific management of MSW, segregation, composting, recycling, incineration, producing electricity, etc. but have not followed up words with deeds, except for spending huge amounts on purchasing three-wheelers, machineries and constructing infrastructure.

Garbage is the major eyesore. If we manage it properly, India will be clean. For Swachh Bharath scheme to work, Government should act on following lines:

Step 1: Ban the manufacture of plastic carry bags less than 20 microns, which forms more than 20 per cent of municipal waste, and plastic cups, trays, etc. Suggest to the manufacturers alternative plastic products, providing technical and financial assistance. This will reduce the total garbage.

Step 2: People should segregate garbage at source, i.e. in the kitchen. Collect wet waste such as vegetable waste, food waste etc. in a separate basket. Wet waste can be put in a compostible bin that may be provided in the backyard, or in two or three flower pots, if you don’t have a backyard. Municipality can arrange community composting yards wherever necessary, to be managed by local NGOs

All papers, plastic, milk cover, grocery cover, other packing materials, glass, electrical/electronic items, napkins etc. – all dry waste – can be put in a separate basket. From this dry waste, you can separate papers, plastic covers, milk covers, grocery covers, packing materials etc. which can be sold to waste paper dealer. Municipality should collect other items door to door.

This will minimise the total garbage. Municipality can give some incentives in terms of reduced property tax.

Step 3: Municipality can collect segregated garbage from commercial establishments, hotels, maals, marriage halls, etc. using separate vehicles. Electrical waste, chemical waste, hospital waste etc. can be collected by Municipality who can levy garbage clearance charges from them, depending on the quantum. Municipality should also arrange to collect vegetable waste from vegetable markets, flower markets, temples, etc. and arrange for composting of all this commercial bio waste, while dispose of all other non-biodegradable waste properly.

Step 4: Municipality should arrange for collection of building debris. This can be profitably segregated and reused by, for instance, grinding concrete waste in a coarse/fine aggregate bricks into brick jelly, etc. It is big business if done properly.

By reducing the garbage, Municipality can not only save huge transportation and labour expenses, but also precious land fill area. Trash can become Municipality’s cash.

For people to do their parts, you don’t need any awareness programmes. You need only incentives and punishments. Municipalities should remain committed to clean cities. The Press and other media should also play a regular role in getting citizens their part in keeping their city clean.

V. Kuppan
Retd. Superintending Engineer (Highways) Senator,
Exnora International,
Chennai 600 088

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In this issue

The sad state of our roads
Madras Landmarks - 50 years ago
Welcome sensitising of temple restorers
The early days of the I.A.S.
Madras beginnings of Hindi Prachar
Trying to save Jerdon's Courser
Advertising goes outdoors
Answering the need of the hour?
Studying during those 'Quit India' days

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Readers Write
Quizzin' With Ram'nan
Dates for Your Diary


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