Grandma\’s Tales

March 30, 2007

The Elliot’s beach saga – 12 News!

Filed under: Consumer caution,Games People Play,Government,Society — Rajesh @ 9:54 pm

A prominent piece of news today: “The Madras High Court has restrained the Tourism Department from constucting a jogging track 100 metres from the shoreline at Kottivakkam and Palavakkam (soutern suburbs of Chennai). The first bench comprising Chief Justice AP Shah and Justice D. Murugesan granted the interim injunction on a PIL filed by V. Srinivasan, who said construction of the 350-metre jogging track, well within the Coastal Regulatory Zone III constituted a major ecological hazard.
Pointing out that a similar track had been built near Thiruvalluvar Nagar and Thiruvanmiyur in 2003-2004, the petitioner said construction of similar structures would lead to the formation of a track parallel to East Coast Road. This would endanger the coastal eco-system in the entire belt. Increased vehicular and human movement would lead to pollution and affect the coastal flora and fauna.”
Ahem. In Puduchery environmentalists and fishermen mounted a campaign against the government’s proposal to build a port off that coast. And they managed to stop this disatrous move. In Goa, again, large sections of people, supported by the church, fought against the government’s shocking plan to convert entire hillsides to hotels and resorts in what was called the Goa Development Plan 2020 or something. The plan was finally scrapped.
It is a scene that’s playing out again and again. The guy gets on to his seat, whether he has a majority mandate or not, whether the election was legitimate or not, and the first thing he does when he sits down is to call for the “Development File”. Obviously the file contains details of the “Developemnt Fund”. He flips through the file, muttering to himself, “Where do I build? Here, here or I say, here!” He quickly decides on the modalities, prepares a fast-track plan (Ecology, what’s that? Don’t human beings come first? Plants and fish are for eating! Want to see them? Go to the zoo or aquarium!), calls the press and throws words like development, employment, tourism, attraction, beautification, jogging and now alarmingly, “the disabled community”. The construction gets done equally quickly and the park/track/wall/flyover/ elevated pathway/spine gets opened with a lot of fanfare.
End of the story: a couple of years later, the construction has turned to an eyesore. Fianlly, when it goes down, it takes along with it, the eco-system/the sidewalks, the beauty of the place. There is more debris, more construction material underfoot and more congestion.
The politico who ordered the “beautification” has since moved on and a new man sits in his chair. The first thing he does? You know what it is.

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