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Death of Cooum

Death of Cooum

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Published by George Adimathra

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Published by: George Adimathra on Jul 18, 2011
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Chennai ● Monday ● 18 July 2011

P. Palaniappan gave bonus to Co-operative Milk Producers Society. Indonesian envoy called for investments from Chennai firms.

Krishnamurthy Sastrigal was felicitated on Guru Poornima.

BRTS speeds up with new report

Pallavaram ROB to be ready by Dec.

Elevated expressway fast-tracks Cooum to doom

July 17: Work on the much-delayed and incomplete road overbridge near Pallavaram railway station to replace level crossing No. 24 will be completed by December this year. The state highways department and Southern Railway are jointly constructing the road overbridge to replace the level crossing, which connects Old GST Road and Dargah Road. According to highways department sources, the bridge work that commenced in 2003 came to a standstill following delay in acquiring land from the defence department. The Southern Railway’s reluctance to complete its portion of work delayed it further, sources added. The highways department has completed its portion of the work. “The railways has to complete its work including construction of the superstructure. They assured us that they will complete the work by this year end,” a highways official said. State highways minister Edappadi K. Palanisamy who inspected the ROB works on July 14 said that the bridge would be thrown open for traffic in January next year as a Pongal gift to the locals. R. Shanmugham, a Pallavaram resident, said that at least this time the highways department should keep its word.

July 17: With Chennai river restoration project stalling and the government keen to build a part of the elevated expressway from Chennai port to Maduravoyal along the Cooum, the 72-km river that runs through the city is heading for a fate similar to that of the Buckingham Canal. After pillars for the MRTS were built on the Buckingham Canal bed, the waterway that once played a major role as a stormwater drain and prevented flooding in the city is now ineffective during the monsoon. Things looked promising for the Cooum when former chief minister M. Karunanidhi assured that the river would be transformed and become like the Thames of London with a clean-up project. Former deputy chief minister M.K. Stalin, also chairman of Chennai River Authority, made trips to foreign countries to study similar cleanup processes. However, the project never gained momentum. “The river cleaning process itself has a long history as several times it was initiated by governments that ruled the state. In the last two decades alone, studies and surveys were conducted numerous times in this regard, but none reached a stage of execution and city residents ended up with just stench and mosquitoes,” said K. Ramdoss, a civic activist and environmentalist.

Piling work of elevated highway being executed on Cooum riverbed alongside the Spur Tank Road.

— DC

He added that half-hearted attempts were mostly made with the least enthusiasm. “Cleansing the river would also improve the groundwater quality of the city,” said Mr Ramdoss, adding that the public got disappointed every time the project got shelved. But more than the river clean-up process, many Chennaiites are worried about how the progress of the elevated expressway could affect Cooum. According to social activists and senior citizens of the city, the elevated expressway will sound the

death knell of the Cooum. “The expressway from Chennai port to Koyambedu runs along the Cooum and it was learnt that so far 150 piles have been constructed in the section. In the river stretch at Egmore, the piles are being placed on the riverbed instead of on the riverbank. This was exactly what happened to Buckingham Canal which got choked when pillars for MRTS were erected. By narrowing down a natural waterway even areas so far untroubled by the monsoon would get inundated in the coming

years,” said retired journalist T. Rajagopalan. G. Chitranath, a resident of Harrington Road, Chetpet, says the government should have taken a holistic approach while implementing the project. “The suggestions and grievances of experts at the public consultation meetings are not considered by the government,” he said. “They have an agenda and the public, a majority of whom are middle-class and lower middle-class people, suffer the consequences,” he added.

In the last two decades alone, studies and surveys were conducted numerous times on river cleaning, but none reached a stage of execution.
K. Ramdoss, Environmentalist

July 17: The proposed Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS), in which there will be dedicated bus corridors along specific stretches in the city, is picking up speed with the consultancy firm hired to carry out a detailed study on the feasibility of the project submitting its report. Sources in the secretariat said the transport department is examining the pros and cons of implementing the scheme on Rajiv Gandhi Salai on a pilot basis. As per the scheme, a dedicated lane will be provided for buses on the selected stretches which would allow buses to move freely and also attract users of private vehicles towards buses that are not preferred any more. Considering the ever-growing vehicular population and the traffic congestion in the city, Chennai Metropolitan Deevelopment Authority (CMDA) envisaged a plan to recommend BRTS on the lines of western countries, which was also successful in Ahmedabad. According to the Chennai Comprehensive Transport Study (CCTS) conducted by CMDA with the help of a consultancy, it was suggested to implement the BRTS scheme in a few stretches, including the 20 km Tam-

Implementation of BRTS will ease congestion on Rajiv Gandhi Salai. — DC

baram-Velachery-Taramani-Tiruvanmiyur Road and 28 km of Rajiv Gandhi Salai. It has advised to implement the 84-km of BRTS in the city by 2026. After having consultation with the various departments, CMDA suggested the government implement it on a few stretches. Last year, the transport department entrusted the work of conducting the feasibility study to a consultancy firm. The firm submitted its report last week to the department. “The consultancy firm has submitted its detailed report only a few days ago. We have to go through it thoroughly and send our views to the government,” sources added. They also pointed out that in all probability, the implementation of BRTS would find a mention in the upcoming budget.

noble gesture

More girls opt for ECE this yr ‘Dying’ Salem theatre

Cricketer R. Aswin presents a cancer survivor with a gift after inaugurating a cancer screening camp at the Paterson cancer centre, Vijaya Hospital, on — DC Sunday.

July 17: More girl students have opted for Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) this year. A total of 4,073 girl students and 1,975 male students enrolled for the course in the ongoing government’s single-window counselling for engineering colleges. As many as 6,048 students enrolled for ECE which has 29,794 seats totally in over 500 government, government-aided and private engineering colleges across the state. Career consultant and academician Jayaprakash A. Gandhi said that this year more women aspire to join engineering courses as they think engineering is the lucrative career. “As ECE does not need much of physical stress and strain, more girls enrol for that course whereas more boys have preferred mechanical engineering which involves

lot of physical work,” he added. Asked whether it was job opportunity that was driving students towards Electronics and Communication Engineering, Anna University vice-chancellor Prof P. Mannar Jawahar said that all courses had good job prospects. “It is not the course that you opt for but how well you study matters a lot for the company,” Mr Jawahar added. Meanwhile, 12,460 boys and 11,601 girls enrolled in various engineering colleges and of the 29,284 total students called for counselling until Sunday 5,136 abstained. Eighty-six students attended the counselling but did not opt any course. Anna University has provided affiliation to 21 new technical institutions this year, including some colleges that will impart architecture (B.Arch) courses.

seeks help from state

July 17: One of the oldest associations of theatre artistes in the state, the Salem District Theatre Artistes’ Association (STAA), founded in 1945, is in dire straits woth members complaining that their art is dying due to the lack of concern of the government. Considered as the cradle of theatre and cinema in the 1940s and 1950s, Salem district is famous for Modern theatres and Rathna Studios that were bustling with activity at a time when filmmakers were just setting up with state-of-the-art studios in Kodambakkam its in Chennai. “Theatre in Salem is as old as our civilisation,” says K.K. Kathavarayan, 75, of the Salem Theatre Artistes’

“The culture of staging plays started vanishing with the arrival of cable TV in the rural areas. Until then, our primary audience used to be women who flocked village theatre venues to see historical and social drama.”
STAA members

Association. “I started acting in plays at the age of eight and have been doing ever since. During those days, we used to have work on 28 days a week. But now we are almost jobless as there are no patrons for the-

atre.” According to STAA members, the culture of staging plays started vanishing with the arrival of cable TV in the rural areas. “Until then, our primary audience used to be women who flocked village theatre venues to see historical and social drama. With the arrival of TV serials, only drunkards and lewd men come to see plays and demand that we dance in a lewd manner”, they said. Members claimed that until 2000, the government supported the staging of new plays with `5,000. “For some reason that funding has been stopped and we are short of any money to stage plays. Also, it is extremely difficult to get permission to stage plays in public places which are the main reasons for this art’s slow demise”, said veteran artiste Kamalamani.


helping hand

8-year-old gives life to many

July 17: The vital organs of an 8-year-old child from Puducherry gave a new lease of life to five strangers, when her parents decided to donate her organs. The little girl was declared brain dead after an accident on Sunday and her kidneys, liver, corneas and heart valves were harvested and given to patients waiting for organs in four different hospitals across Tamil Nadu. The family of the young donor, Chinthamini, was not counselled by a transplant co-ordinator; doctors said that her parents came forward and requested them to arrange for her organs to be donated. A class 4 student, Chinthamani was travelling from Puducherry to Pazhani in an omnibus with her par-

Chinthamani was travelling from Puducherry to Pazhani in an omnibus with her parents and elder sister, to visit the temples there when the mishap occurred.

◗ A class 4 student,

◗ Her family came forward and requested the doctors to arrange for her organs to be donated. ents and elder sister, to visit the temples there. “The van collided with another van, and the child was reportedly thrown out of the vehicle. When her parents found her, she was unconscious and had suffered head injury,” said Dr Vel Aravind, nephrologist at Kavery Medical Centre where the child’s organs were harvested. She was first admitted to ABC Hospital in Tiruchy, and doctors put her on the ventilator as there was no brain function. While the father and elder sister did not suffer any major injuries, the child’s mother had fractured a couple of fingers in the accident. “However, her mother

refused to take any treatment for the fractures. When doctors declared Chinthamani brain dead, and suggested that the family let them pull the plug so they can take her home, they asked us to donate her organs,” said Dr Vel Aravind. She was then shifted to Kavery Medical Centre, where a kidney failure patient received one of her kidneys. The other kidney was sent to Meenakshi Mission Hospital in Madurai, and a team from Chennai’s Global Hospital picked up the child’s liver. Even though the girl’s heart was fit for transplant, the single suitable donor in Mumbai could not be prepared for the surgery, so the heart valves alone were harvested. The child’s corneas were given to St. Joesph’s Eye Hospital, Tiruchy.

Businessman Nalli Kuppuswami Chettiar distributes free books to needy students, at Rajasthan Youth Association’s 48th annual book distribution function in Chennai on Sunday. President of the RYA, Ritesh — DC Mohta looks on.

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