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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 15, november 16-30, 2009
It’s not cricket!
(By A Special Correspondent)

A blanket ban by the Corporation on playing cricket on the Marina has sent shock waves around a city with a healthy tradition of neighbourhood cricket. Indeed, the local teams have been the cradles from which several cricket stars at the State and national levels have emerged. It is the considered view of sports-lovers and those concerned with outdoor recreation that the latest Government order is draconian.

The Marina before recent alterations

Why has the Corporation taken such a step? The reason given is that the playing of cricket is not conducive to the safety of others who use the beach. This is surprising in that we have never heard of a cricket-related accident or fracas or crime on the Marina. On the other hand, it is well known that anti-social elements habitually frequent the beach and, after dark, there are several stretches of the beach which are at their mercy. The Corporation has not thought of banning their activities!

It is also alleged that this step is one more instance of the powers-that-be pandering to the interests of car users, who flock to the beach in the mornings and evenings and also during weekends. These people have always feared damage to their cars due to the occasional boundary shot. More importantly, space that could be allocated for their cars was being taken over by the cricket-players. Further, as most of the cricket matches happen on the service road that runs parallel to Kamaraj Salai, the ban could be the first step towards making the service road a full-fledged thoroughfare open to vehicular traffic at all times.

Thirdly, can this be a direct result of the Government’s Marina beautification plan? If so, what is the purpose of such beautification if it keeps the common man away from the beach? Was the beautification at all necessary when what the beach really needed was more amenities and less of manicured lawns and stone birds? And is the ban on cricket but the first step towards a complete outlawing of the traditional beach activities and converting the Marina into a museum piece? Taken in conjunction with the continued attempts at evicting fisherfolk from the seafront, ostensibly for the building of refurbished homes, but in reality bowing to the demands of the powerful realestate lobby, the recent step has led to such fears gaining ground.

The beach is a public space, the largest lung of the city, and, therefore, has to be designed to cater to ALL stakeholders. And in this latest tussle it is important that youngsters’ aspirations are also considered, for it is they who will one day inherit the beach. Their well-being is important and it would be advisable for the Government to consider demarcating a particular stretch of beach and Marina for cricket and declare it out-of-bounds for others. The stretch of beach fronting the fishing colony is at present terribly badly maintained and if cleaned up could be well-suited for playing the game. What is surprising is that the beach beautification has not included this stretch of the beach. But, then, with only fishermen frequenting the place, it is not surprising that the Government has chosen to ignore it.


In this issue

It’s not cricket!
Living with waterlogging
People’s Park...
The Madras of 1878-79...
Ajay Rau in Ocean Race...
Historic Residences...
Other stories

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