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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 17, december 16-31, 2009
Our Readers Write

Tamil Nadu tourism needs to wake up

With regard to ‘The Fort’s tourist potential’ (MM, October 1st), I wish to add the following:

In general, the Government of India’s publicity campaign (as featured in Australian TV and other media) on India’s tourism potential is enthusiastically (I am being euphemistic here avoiding the term ‘biased’) focussed only on ‘Rajasthan-Delhi’ and bits of the Himalaya. The overall design is such that a visitor enters India in Bombay and travels to Delhi via Rajasthan, and then, after seeing Jaipur, leaves India from Delhi after a worshipping halt at the Taj. The above, I reiterate, is the general pattern. However, after the launch of ‘Incredible India!’ campaign, the advertisements include brief images of Mahabalipuram and the East Coast.

I do not know how enthusiastic Tamil Nadu Tourism is in promoting Madras and Tamil Nadu in overseas media, but Government money spent on ‘protecting’ and ‘pampering’ politicians can be better spent in promoting international visitors who, in turn, would enrich the local economies. Unless Tamil Nadu Tourism aggressively projects Madras and other parts of Tamil Nadu, Madras and Tamil Nadu will disappear from the maps and travel programmes of international tourists.

Tourism Kerala is doing better. Even in a rural NSW township such as Orange I hear several people referring to travelling to Cochin and Alleppey to enjoy seafood delights and a ‘houseboat stay’ in the backwaters. Kerala Tourism obviously publicises the State’s opportunities on the Internet quite efficiently.

In my personal capacity, I have done my best in influencing close to a dozen people from Orange and its neighbourhood to visit Madras (and other parts of Tamil Nadu, including Pondicherry) in the last 5-6 years. They have all returned with the feeling that they would return to Madras and Tamil Nadu one day, especially to re-live their cultural experience there.

The English language is a major strength for us in this context. Australians prefer to travel to China because of its cleanliness and hygiene, which we lack woefully. However, the Aussies think twice before they plan their travel to China because an English-language interpreter, an expensive proposition, is vital for them to understand and experience the land, people and culture of China. Travel to Vietnam is picking up now in Australia, in spite of its lack of the English language!

Wake up, Tamil Nadu Tourism, and realise that the rest of India (at least Kerala Tourism) is pushing forward, utilising cost-effective publicity options and encouraging international tourists to visit them and experience their culture.

Anantanarayanan Raman
Senior Lecturer in Ecological Agriculture
Charles Sturt University
Orange, NSW 2800, Australia

The long wait

Reader D. Subbaram’s letter (MM, November 16th) reminds me of my first experience with regard to a Certificate of Existence decades ago. I commenced my professional career as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in Madras Medical College in 1962.

A grand-uncle of mine had retired as an official in the Madras Government service and had to submit a certificate of existence from a Gazetted Officer of the Government of Madras to receive his pension. He did not find it convenient to go to an office and wait for some officer to oblige him, so he did not collect his pension in 1960, 1961 and 1962.

When I was qualified, he came to me and got the certificate from me. The authorities gave him his pension for 1962, but refused to pay him the arrears for 1960 and 1961, as he did not have a certificate that he had been alive then. I had to give him separate certificates for those two years before he could collect his dues.

We Indians are addicted to red tape. I do not think we will ever be able to find a simple method of doing anything.

Dr. M. K. Mani
1, Kasturirangan Road
Chennai 600 018

Segregate them

You seem to be concerned about cricket being banned on the Marina (MM, November 16th).

I suggest that a certain area be marked as play area for the cricketers. They should confine to this area where they can play as they like and when they like. Let them not use the area marked for car parking and play cricket there, thereby posing a threat not only to the cars parked in the area, but also to people walking by and to themselves as well. Also what happens if an occasional boundary shot hits a child playing on the beach sands? They used to use the inner road to play cricket and were in danger themselves from speeding vehicles.

Morever, playing cricket on a black-topped road or on tiled pavements will not give real practice to the players. As a cricketer I know this. Let them play on the beach sands instead (within a marked area) where they can gain stamina and enjoy a good practice.

The Marina is for all and so let's all enjoy the Marina without the fear of getting hit by a hard cricket ball.

P.G. Rangarajan
170, Thambu Chetty Street
Chennai 600 001

Colour pollution

The vasthu colours shown in Madras Musings, December 1st, are irritating to the eyes and even cause headaches to some people. These colours are nothing but colour pollution and we will have to tolerate them just as we have been tolerating other pollutions.

K.R.S. Sadhashivan
9A, C.K.S. Nagar
Erode 638 452

Spending opportunities

Chennai Corporation appears to be viewing Elliot’s Beach as a spending opportunity. The Corporation is demolishing the pavements by the Beach that were laid only a few years ago and is now  replacing them with tiles that are no better.

An elliptical island near the beach was constructed and lawn and plants were grown some time back. It remained green for some time and then was neglected. Now, the Corporation has demolished the structure and is reconstructing it. I wonder why the island was constructed at all earlier, if it was only to be demolished after a few months.

Every year, during the monsoon, trees are planted along the beach only to whither away a few weeks later.  Perhaps, the Corporation is planning one more round of tree planting this year also!

The construction of  a viewing  gallery was thoughtlessly started on the beach sands and was stopped in view of public protest. Now, the semi-construction remains an eyesore.

The beach sand continues to remain dirty with leftover eatables and waste paper strewn all round, and the hawkers continue to have a field day on the sands. The Corporation, which seems so eager to spend lakhs of rupees on brick and mortar construction on the beach, does not seem to have any desire to maintain the beach in a clean condition.

Above all, with total disregard for environmental regulations and public opinion, lakhs of rupees were spent on constructing the Governor’s bungalow on the beach, while no one in the authority thought it necessary to observe the environmental regulations or honour the public view by stopping this construction. The building is rarely visited and stands as a sad monument betraying the anti-environmental attitude of the Corporation.

N. S. Venkataraman
M 60/1, 4th Cross Street
Besant Nagar,
Chennai 600 090

No place to move

Ranganathan Street in T’Nagar is one of the most sought after shopping hubs in the city. Aside from the shoppers, the street is used by rail/road users and the street is thronged with people from dawn to dusk.

Though every shop has its own space/building, most of the shops still spread their wares outside their premises and thus encroach on public space. While a person can easily walk through the street early in the morning, by 10 a.m. it is extremely difficult to walk through its length as its width gets shrunk beyond belief.

Based on a Public Interest Litigation [PIL] which, inter alia, sought removal of encroachments, the Madras High Court directed the Corporation to act against the errants. The civic body did demolish portions of buildings which had intruded into the public space, but there was no sustained campaign or vigil by the Corporation. So the shop-keepers came back with a bang, and the street is back to square one.

It is the same with the Railway Border Road where, too, the authorities, goaded by a Court order, instructed the vegetable vendors to keep their business within their premises. Everyone was all praise for the authorities for making that happen. But, their joy was short-lived as the traders once again invaded the public space mocking at the police inaction.

Rameswaram Road, which is close to Ranganathan Street, and Natesan Street are other places where encroachments are on the rise.

To make matters worse, people who come shopping, conveniently leave their ­vehicles close to the shopping area, inconveniencing the residents of streets like Motilal Street and Mahalakshmi Street.

Notwithstanding the PILs, and the protests which the suffocating residents raise quite often, when will pedestrians and residents be able to breathe easy?

V.S. Jayaraman
31, Motilal Street, T’Nagar
Chennai 600 017

What’s V.O.?

In MM, November 1st, Ramanan’s answer for question number 12 is wrong, I think. Kappalottia Tamilan V.O.C’s grandfather’s name was Valliappan. His father’s name was Olaganathan. V.O. stands for Valliappan Olaganathan.

V. Davis Packiaraja
13, Southeast Street
Pushpavanam 627 109
Tirunelveli Distric


In this issue

Will the City waterways see better days?
Urban renewal must look decades ahead
Heritage legislation is essential
Calming traffic in recreational areas,
like the Marina
Historic Residences of Chennai - 32
Other stories

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan
Dates for your Diary


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