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Politics & Education
The Tamil Nadu government moved to demolish the Queen Mary's College on the picturesque Marina Beach road in Madras. The government secretariat is to be constructed there, apparently a very modern secretariat. We know what "modern" buildings mean nowadays, those are the ones with glass facades etc. Environmentalists, energy conservationists, architects and construction experts have for the last half a decade (ever since the glut of MNC software companies setting up [body] shop here started) insisted that these glass buildings increase the heat levels in the building, resulting in more consumption of energy. So imagine what a swanky glass exterior building on Marina beach would do? It'd destroy the beach (and beach road and the entire scenery) as we know it.
Madras is home to a vast variety of ancient buildings, most of which have withered away due to a shocking lack of foresight by governments as well as a callous attitude. The decision to move the QMC to an adjacent location and use the space for a new secretariat is just the latest. Jayalalitha, in her earlier "regime" had attempted to demolish the beautiful DGP's office just across the road from QMC and build some government office there. Thankfully that disaster was averted, and now this. Why should the government secretariat move to such a high traffic volume location? Imagine the traffic snarls which would happen if Her Ladyship went to work. Is she still taking a Rs. 1 salary by the way?
There is so much [to put it in Singara-Chennai-Sen-Thamizh] porampokku land (I mean waste land - Vadivelu !) in Madras. Why can't the secretariat be built on one of those? For quite a while now, a lot of intellectuals have been talking of moving important administrative offices out of Madras, to save the city as well as to ensure that people from far-flung places in Tamil Nadu don't have to travel all the way to Madras. The main offices should be in a more central location, like say Thanjavur or Tiruchirapalli or Madurai? Each major city/town will have branch offices, in much the same way as you have high commissions/embassies and consulates. You can get a better picture from a district map of TN.
What is extremely heartening is the way the government has been forced to back down on the issue by a High Court ruling staying the government order to demolish QMC. Kudos to all the students (of QMC and other institutions) as well as the teachers (and other such unions) for protesting the decision, in spite of the government's best efforts by using the police and administrative machinery to threaten the students. We should be really proud of this protest and more so if it leads to the government backing down once again.
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