Click here for more...

(ARCHIVE) VOL. XXII No. 13, October 16-31, 2012
Our Readers Write

Move not the capital, but business & industry

I was surprised to read the suggestion that the capital of Tamil Nadu should be shifted and several institutions like High Court, Legislature and all executive departments should be moved away from Chennai (MM, October 1st). Be assured that this suggestion will not and cannot be carried out.

Chennai is certainly becoming too congested for healthy living. But the solution is to decongest the city by ensuring that further concentration of offices, commercial establishements and industries would not be allowed in Chennai city and suburbs.

Earlier, there was much talk about the creation of satellite cities, but in practice the so-called satellite cities have only resulted in expanding the borders of Chennai city, creating more problems than solutions.

The obvious solution is to build a new city in a place which does not have much cultivable land, such as between Tiruchi and Pudukottai. Incentives should be given to set up offices and IT parks in these regions and the institutions already set up in Chennai city must be encouraged to move to these places. The big issue is connectivity and infrastructure development in these areas, which should be looked into with care and urgency by the Government.

Chennai has now become a chaotic city with vast segments of the population living in unhygienic conditions without the minimum facilities. A few five star hotels and a few massive office complexes do not make a healthy city. You get the impression that Chennai Corporation and the Government of Tamil Nadu are not any more in control of the civic administration of the city and they are only responding to the disasters which are happening every day in the form of road accidents, contagious diseases, etc.

With living conditions becoming horribly intolerable for vast segments of the lower and middle income groups, with house rents soaring beyond acceptable level for the lower and lower-middle income groups, tension is mounting in day-to-day life leading to bitterness, animosity, violence and murder. Unnatural deaths in the city every day due to various reasons are reaching alarming level.

Other places in Tamil Nadu should be made more attractive by investing in infrastructure facilities, so that the population in Chennai city will melt away. Further, development activities have to be encouraged selectively, appropriate to the city's strength. For example, Singapore which is a city state has restricted the number of automobiles on the road and this is reviewed every year. If private automobiles can be restricted, there would be scope for increasing public transport considering the availability of the road space.

Such appropriate and progressive measures call for innovative ideas and strong forward planning and a government machinery with commitment and capability.

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

Other views

Regarding the article by P. Sabanayagam, I wish to point out that Chennai has become overcrowded not because it is the State capital. The real reasons for overcrowding are the location of the IT companies and over-industrialisation. First, take the IT industry.

Instead of concentrating in Chennai, OMR included, why could not the Government have planned a satellite town with schools, colleges, hospitals, malls, etc. somewhere between Pondy and Chennai? Had this been done, we would never have had so many IT company buses, and real estate would have been affordable too. Similarly, industries should have been located around Chengalpet and a similar satellite town developed in the area. All these ought to have been done to spare this city.

Regarding the article by Radha Padmanabhan, I have two points. First, there are any number of laws in India, but very few are strictly enforced. Hence, a law concerning garbage will only be yet another one on paper. Secondly, as far as segregation is concerned, it is a myth. Segregated garbage is dumped together in the truck. Hence, segregation is only at the beginning, and it ends there.

C.S. Ananth
"Sai Villa", Plot 500
4th South Main Road
Kapaleeswara Nagar
Neelankarai, Chennai 600 041

Following the logic

I read the article by P. Sabanayagam about shifting the Tamil Nadu capital to Trichy because of non-availabilty of water and for logistics reasons.

According to his theory, India's capital should be changed to somewhere near Nagpur, Maharastra's capital should be changed to Ahmednagar, Kerala's capital should be moved to Thrissur and Andhra's capital to the middle of the Nallamala Forest, and so on. Be that as it may, our city's land promoters will in any case make Trichy part of Chennai someday.

Shafi Ahmed N.

A shift needed

Now that these protests by Muslims in Chennai against the U.S. near its Consulate-General have erupted on Mount Road, they are bound to recur in future over other perceived insults to Islam.

Change of Police Commissioner will merely address the symptom, not the disease. A permanent solution can be achieved only by shifting the U.S. Consulate elsewhere.

C.G. Prasad
9, C.S. Mudali Street
Kondithope, Chennai 600 079

Necessary tag

Yes, your question 'If Anna Arches, why not other heritage buildings?' (MM, September 16th) is very reasonable, logical and justifiable. But then... 'other heritage buildings' do not have that all-powerful 'Anna' tag!

N.V. Subbaraman
12/1045, Jeevan Bhima Nagar
Anna Nagar West Extn.
Chennai 600 101

Bus guide needed

With the present vast fleet and mumbo jumbo of Route Numbers, an updated edition of MTC Bus Guide is urgently needed.

Will MTC try and help the commuters?

N. Dharmeshwaran
C-4 RR Flats,
154 Bazar Road
Ramnagar North, Madipakkam
Chennai 600 091

If they can...

Since you and your journal have displayed an abiding interest in restoring and maintaining heritage structures in Madras, I wish to share with you a blog that shows how Jakarta maintains its heritage structures. It is a study in contrast when it comes to Madras and other cities in India which have done so poorly on this front in comparison.

Being a Third World country or citing a lack of finances is never an excuse. A look at the pictures in the link clearly demonstrates how we can learn from the Indonesian example.

Please see the pictures at this link.

C.K. Jaidev

Is it avoidable?

Chennai's roads are already full of dug up stretches, potholes, gaping manhole openings and what not. The Southwest Monsoon is round the corner and we will have to brace ourselves to traverse these roads with plenty of water standing on them. Is the recurring inundation of the roads unavoidable? Do we have to commission expensive foreign consultants to advise us on how to eliminate the problem? Or should our law--makers go on a study tour to U.S. and Europe to learn how they deal with the problem? Not necessary at all. The causal factors for the recurring inundation are easily identifiable and can be taken care of, if there is a will to do so. What are these factors?

The first point to be recognised is that Chennai's topography is level, unlike Banga-lore's undulating one, and so flow of rainwater away from the roads will be effective only if the stormwater drains have the requisite slopes to facilitate smooth drainage and are also well maintained. Our stormwater drains are the repository of plenty of mud, leaves and plastic waste of various kinds. Perfunctory efforts to remove all these are made just a little before the rains set in and the excavated material is allowed to remain on the edge of the roads for days on end. Much of this goes back into the drain due to the heavy movement of vehicles. Apart from this, clearing the drains only in limited sections where inundation is experienced is not enough. The entire length of the drainage has to be cleared to give the necessary slope and effective flow.

The second factor is the manner in which the conservancy staff works. You will see them first sweep and bring all the leaves, twigs and plastics along with the mud to the edge of the road and on to the slope provided for flow of rainwater into the drains. The leaves, twigs and plastics are then removed, leaving the mud accumulate all over the slope. This not only slows down the rate at which the rainwater enters the drain but a good part of this mud ends up in the drain!

Another major factor for which the citizens alone are responsible is the non-compliance with the rainwater harvesting rules introduced in 2003. Large multistoreyed buildings, both residential and commercial, and big hotels are built on a level much higher than the road level without any provision for harvesting rainwater within the premises. If you walk along the roads during the rains, you will see torrents of rainwater flowing from these buildings on to the road and generously contributing to the inundation.

As long as these factors are not dealt with seriously, we will continue to face ankle-deep and knee-deep waterlogging this monsoon and in future also.

Indukanth S. Ragade
B-9, Atandra
25, Thirumalai Road
T. Nagar, Chennai 600 017

Correct id

Regarding my letter (MM, October 1st), the correct email id is (and not as published).

B. Gautham
137, Wallajah Road
Chennai 600 002

Please click here to support the Heritage Act

In this Issue

Why so much secrecy?
Need supervised renovation, NOT demolition
"Let's bury 'road in-the-sky' and save the Cooum River"
The creation of a Chennai landmark
Following the trail of Vere Levinge
A merchant remembers...
Opportunity beckons in Rock Fort City
Madras chunam and other finds
That first Ranji triumph
Steps to bring back the House Sparrows

Our Regulars

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


Download PDF

Back to Archives

Back to current issue...