Grandma's Tales

April 2, 2007

The Elliot’s beach saga – 13 Play it again, Sam!

Filed under: Consumer caution,Games People Play,Government,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 8:50 pm

Wow, wow! NDTV’s Sam Daniel, who was present at the meeting (read previous post) made a neat presentation of the entire “beach beautification” story. He took notes carefully, got me to tell him about the issues and what our objections were ( I later sent him the visuals of the results of the beach survey).
The clipping, which was telecast half a dozen times today during various slots, covered the issue very well. There were visuals of Corporation’s proposed plan in all it gory details. There was footage of the Ridley turtles being found. Sam connected it neatly with the lights from the billboards. He spoke to a couple of Oliver Ridley conservationists who said the hatchlings were programmed to move toward light. Left to themselves they would reach the sea following starlight. But the bright lights of the billboards would attract them toward the street. On the way, they were bound to be devoured by the street dogs.
Members of the Civil Society Group spoke too, saying brick and mortar construction did not belong on the beach. An amphitheatre would certainly kill the peace and quiet.
At the meeting, members had objected to the fountains. Fountains! Which civic body in its senses would erect fountains on the beach?
In fact, none of the nearly 500 respondents thought “development” meant construction. All they wanted were some parking space, a row of hawkers making snacks (?) and a clean, quiet beach. The message of Sam’s video film was clear. Leave the beach alone after giving it a good cleaning-over.
Of course, Commissioner Lakhoni was asked to speak. He admitted the stake-holders did not want any construction on the beach, so he would come up with a new plan. I’m keeping my fingers (and toes for good measure) crossed. But I’m sure our preferences went home. As Sam put it, “the community has shown that governments are accountable to people for their “development” projects” – a message that’s coming out of different parts of the country.
My husband who has had no interest in all this (strange, he goes there regularly for a morning walk) thought the video was very well made.
In case you missed the program that was aired, you can catch it on under the title “Chennai drops beach plans” listed in the top stories.
Play it again, Sam! Thanks for all your help.



  1. Maam,

    Its amazing what media can do if only they put their heart to it ! For sometime now have been fearing of living second hand by believing everything written/seen but the NDTV article has revived my trust !

    Great blog work – proves one voice can find many a echo !

    Best Regards

    Comment by Gayathri Chakravarthy — April 3, 2007 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  2. Sure, Gayatri. Media can play a positive, thought-changing role if they put their mind to it. I have nothing against their promoting trivia, but a percentage of air-time could be reserved for discussing civic, social issues. Do you think competition among channels will help?

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — April 3, 2007 @ 9:51 pm | Reply

  3. Walking down the memory lane, I recollect Doordarshan and its monopoly over airtime ! Then came a wave of ‘fresh’ channels with promise to redefine television viewing… end of the day we are still bored, indulging in channel surfing. Also, media seems politically controlled of recent(best example being Tamil Nadu) sending alarm bells ringing !

    I wholeheartedly agree media should take on responsibility to highlight social or civic issues on prime time slots..infact, they should draw out the public for suggestions / concerns / recommendations, present them to concerned local bodies and help measure their performance but again, I digress 🙂

    Comment by Gayathri Chakravarthy — April 4, 2007 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

  4. Hi Gayathri, a couple of English channels have programmes like I-witness and citizen journalist. In today’s slot on I-witness (NDTV) my friend Mahesh from Bengaluru proved with photographs how the effort to make the Taj Mahal disabled-friendly is a huge eye-wash. The ramp for a wheelchair, at a 45* angle, is so steep that it is a Himalayan struggle for the wheelchair user to push himself up. Why weren’t architects consulted? How much was spent on this waste? Mahesh said all the 5 wheelcair users had to be physically lifted up the steps, by-passing the “ramp”.
    Have an issue? Go to the website and put down your story.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — April 4, 2007 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

  5. Ma’am,

    I couldn’t agree more… there are some channels doing predominantly good work and I have watched a special coverage about Delhi schools and school children on CNBC that made me sit up and take notice. However, it’s the local channels that know the pulse of people and can help a message reach the masses intact which is why I believe they need to put in constructive effort to create awareness and am scared when media houses are toyed with by Political parties.

    Thanks for your ideas and time !

    Best Regards

    Comment by Gayathri Chakravarthy — April 5, 2007 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

  6. You hit it on the head, Gayathri. Media houses should not be mouthpieces of political parties.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — April 5, 2007 @ 9:50 pm | Reply

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