Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Parks of discontent

When Chennai Mayor M Subramanian could order renovation of big parks like Tower Park at Anna Nagar and Thiru Vi Ka Park at Shenoy Nagar, why this step-motherly treatment meted out to smaller parks in the locality? This question haunts residents of L Block and Kambar Colony, which have a children's park and a playground respectively, but both in a shambles for over a year now.
After receiving complaints from residents in this connection, our reporter visited the places and spoke to a few residents.
Kumar, a fifth standard student of a local school, said, 'In school, everyone from the physical education teacher to the principal insist upon us to spend time in parks for fresh air. But the park which is close to my house at L Block is more or less in dilapidated condition and I risk getting infected with diseases if I visit or play there.'
'The park at L Block is in such a state that no one can go anywhere near it to have fun. It is sad,' another boy said.
'The equipment in the park are rusty and in a damaged condition that it can injure children if they use it,' said Ranjan, a local resident.
Kubendran, an elderly resident of L Block, said, 'The state of the children's parks, except a few, in the area is nothing very shocking. The park near 19th Street of L Block has been the same for days. We tried our best to bring it to life, but nothing materialised till now. And in the long run, these kinds of parks would virtually become a den for miscreants to do unlawful activities, and also a spot to dump waste'.
The children park in L Block is fully surrounded by residential apartments. But no one goes there. For the condition is such that they prefer Bougainvilla Park where they can refresh themselves.
Speaking to this reporter , Rajapallawi, president of Kambar Colony Residents Welfare Association, said, 'After persistent efforts by the residents for nearly four decades, Chennai Corporation had begun the facelift work. But, even after a year, the works have not been completed. As a result, a few play-equipment like seesaw are in a broken and rusty condition.'
'Around 300 families reside at Kambar Colony, and we have a good number of children there. They need proper space to play. Whenever we contact the higher officials about it, they say that the estimate for the renovation is being made. And I don't know when they will be through with it', lamented Rajapallawi.
'We would be very happy if the Mayor turns his attention to these kind of small parks and order renovation,' said another resident. Will the small parks and playgrounds in the locality ever see the light of the day, a question that begs for an answer.

Left in the drain

The tussle between TNHB office complex, Thirumangalam, and the residents of Asiad Colony, over illegal use (according to residents) of drainage service by the former, is reaching flash point as the residents plan to stage a protest pressing their demands.
The residents say that the board, for its commercial interests, is creating an adverse environment near the peaceful and well-maintained residential colony.
It may be noted that several weeklies carried a news item about the issue a year ago. The TNHB officials then held talks with the residents and promised to solve the problem as early as possible. Things were smooth for a few months. But the same problem of drainage overflow at the Asiad Colony has again started and strained the relationship between the two.
Speaking to this reporter Ratnasingam, president of Asiad Colony Flat Owners' Welfare Association, said, 'We want a permanent solution to this problem. Asiad Colony has 312 flats with a population of about 3000. The colony is a model colony in many respects as it was one of the oldest in the area. The problems are persisting for the past six to seven years. Adjacent to the compound wall of the colony, TNHB office is functioning in first floor and below that an office, a number of commercial establishments including a restaurant are functioning. For the commercial establishments, there is no proper drainage system is laid'.
'These establishments (illegally) use the drainage system, which pass through the colony. All the waste is let into the drainage system. It not only affects the free flow of drainage water but also often chokes and as an effect of it, houses in the colony gets inundated with the overflowing drainage water'.
In view of this problem, we held a general body meeting recently and at the meeting it was decided to hold a dharna infront of the TNHB office pressing for an early settlement of the persisting problem, Ratnasingam added.
A resident, who has his flat close to the compound wall and TNHB office, says, 'People coming to the TNHB complex for various purposes, are causing nuisance by using it (a small space kept vacant between the construction area and the compound wall) as a public convenience. The residents nearer to the compound wall are affected by bad odour emanating from that side'.
Another resident added that, their sleep has been disturbed in the last few months, after the opening of a fastfood stall very close to the compound. 'The customers make a nuisance of themselves till late in the night,' he said.
When this reporter tried to reach the executive engineer of TNHB for clarification, no one was available for comment. Will the concerned official take note of the problem?

Take a breath

Most people after a bypass surgery or a serious illness are afraid to return to an active life, they say they are not able to keep up with others.
But that does not seem to be the case. Take 75 year-old J B Shah, he is a real turnaround. Shah, who had under gone a critical bypass surgery almost three years ago and advised to stay indoors has shown that one can bounce back to a new life. 'They only have to practise pranayam,' he said. Today not only is he back to his normal way of life, he also helps many shape their lives without problems.
It is a sort of 'giving back to society' says J B Shah. He was a busy man once, Shah could not able to sit idle at home after the surgery, found a new lease of life.
While convalescing, he came to know that pranayam, ( breath control) would help him a lot in recuperation and it would even make him fit to venture outside. So, he gathered all information about it through a popular television show, broadcast in the mornings. He did not stop there itself by practicing those exercises at home for his wellness alone. His zeal drove him to master the nuances of it from Hardwar-based organisation, and as a social responsibility, Shah now teaches it free at various centres located in and around the city.
He says he has fully recovered, and helps others get cured from heart related diseases and diabetes through these breath control exercises.
This reporter met Shah at his residence at Anna Nagar a few days ago and asked about the success story. 'It was a rebirth,' says Shah. 'Immediately after that critical surgery, I too thought, it was all over for me, as most of the heart patients are (advised to) spend time at home only. But my will and with the help of pranayam, I have made it'.
Now, I am happy, not just for that recovery I had, but for those all, to whom I have made a difference through the breathing exercises, Shah said.
According to him, the concept of pranayam in short is nothing but practising inhaling and exhaling systematically to attain perfection in keeping sound health. Good health can be achieved by practising pranayam regularly at least once a day for 30 minutes preferably in the morning on an empty stomach having only one glass of warm water. Pranayam can be practiced by all ages from five years onwards.
Shortly after completing formal training and insistence by his fellow friends, Shah started his first free pranayam and yoga classes at the Anna Nagar Tower Park in December, 2004 . Since then, the popularity of his classes has swelled up and now the number of centres in the city has risen to 21. Based on enquiries, Shah plans to open another 30 centres in the city very soon.
After successfully imparting pranayam to the residents of different areas, Shah has embarked to another mission: teaching it to school children. When asked why he is keen to teach pranayam to children, Shah says, 'It has a dual advantage. Children can grasp the concept very effectively and mastering breath control at a tender age does good for their future. By practicing it, they can develop an immunity towards hereditary diseases.'
Many individuals have benefited by pranayam. Diseases and ailments, which have been tough to cure, have been cured with pranayam. For further details about pranayam and for conducting free classes, contact J B Shah at 98404 80345 or D V S Gupta at 98840 48380 or Vijay Khumar at 94443 77014.
Photo available
Exercise and methods
It should be borne in mind that practice of pranayam or the exercise of breathing must be through the nose. That fills the lungs with pure air.
There are three mudras (postures) dhyan mudra, apanvayu mudra and vayumudra generally practised during pranayam. One can choose any one of these mudras. One must be relaxed and enjoy the process. It helps the body to get good oxygenated blood and improved blood circulation.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Easing out the strain

A traffic restriction, which came into force from the first week of this month on the movement of heavy vehicles on the National Highway-4, has (relatively) eased congestion on several roads including the busiest stretch in the locality, Koyambedu Roundtana to Padi junction.
After the introduction of the restriction, motorists are a lot happy. As
movement of heavy goods vehicles and container-laden trailers are prohibited both ways on National Highway 4 (Chennai to Bangalore) from the junction of Chennai Bypass (Maduravoyal junction) to the Madhavaram flyover junction (on NH 5) between 8 am and 9 pm.
Narendran, a resident of Korattur, said, 'After the introduction of this restriction, traffic on this stretch has become smooth. Earlier, it was so terrible that many motorists bound for Korattur and Ambattur areas started using the 'not-so good' Park Road, Anna Nagar West Extension, to reach TVS Lucas junction to avoid getting stuck at Padi Junction.'
'Now that (Park) Road is also relaid, and we have two good options to reach our homes without any hassle, he added.
Deepak, a student with Kandasamy Naidu College and a resident of Retteri, said, 'Earlier, to reach college on time, I used to start before an hour. But it has been reduced to just 20 minutes'. 'See, how a small restriction has made our lives easy,' he added.
But the same restriction, which was well received by the motorists, has turned out to be a big problem for heavy vehicle drivers. Mithu Singh, a resident of Kambar Colony and driver of a container lorry service, said, 'The new restriction has added pressure on our travelling schedule. If some delivery has to be made from Andhra Pradesh to Anna Nagar, and if the vehicle reaches Madavaram by 9 am, I've to wait till night time to get into the city. By wasting so much time, we tend to incur losses on our companies.'
Like every action has both positive and negative impact, the new rule too has both. What is good for motorists are bad for the container lorry drivers.
By and large, the traffic snarl, which has become a regular occurrence near Padi Junction, has now become a thing of past.
-G Saravanan

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hall soon for Anna Nagar

Here comes good news for Anna Nagar residents who have expressed

and persistently advocated for a multi-purpose hall at Anna

Nagar. On 2 August, Chennai Mayor M Subramanian along with a team

of officials visited Anna Nagar and identified a suitable

location for the hall and ordered the officials to speed up the

process to set it up.
Confirming the spot identified for this project, Assistant

Commissioner of Zone-V M Krishnamurthy told this reporter that

'a vacant plot of around 90 grounds in A Block, located near the

local MLA office and Crescent Park, has been identified as the

place for constructing the multipurpose hall'.
According to sources in the Corporation, the Mayor had ordered

his officials to complete the 'survey and layout' works within a

It may be noted that the need for such hall at Anna Nagar, the

one like P T Thiyagaraya Hall at T Nagar, has been felt for quite

sometime now.
A few months ago, for the first time the issue over the hall was

brought to the notice of the local MLA and State Electricity

Minister by a resident while the Minister was speaking at a

function in Valliammal College for Women. It was at that time,

the Minister had assured to the gathering that the issue would be

taken up with the Chief Minister soon.
Meanwhile, the same issue was again highlighted by the residents

during a face-to-face meeting organised by the Exnora Club of

Anna Nagar a month ago. During that meeting, the Mayor, in

another programme a week after Arcot N Veerasamy's, gave further

assurances to the residents on the hall.
So, going by indications, the dream of Anna Nagarites of having

an auditorium like P T Thiyagaraya Hall at Anna Nagar would no

longer be a dream, but a reality.
-G Saravanan