M.R. Subramani
M.R. Subramani

News Editor-cum-Commodities Editor who thinks there is always a lighter side to everything, from business to politics

M R Subramani

No Amma theatres, please

| Updated on February 25, 2014 Published on February 25, 2014

Being an educationist himself, the mayor would well do to come up with small playgrounds.

The Chennai Corporation Mayor last week said vacant lands will be used to construct Amma theatres. It would be, instead, better to come up with small playgrounds that can stand in good stead on a long term.

Meeting a friend after a long time, I was not too surprised with his comment: “Next World Cup hockey could be in Chennai on your head,” he said and burst out laughing.

Joining him in the laughter, I thought he was also making a statement of fact that Chennai is fast running out of playgrounds. “Yes, there are more such hockey grounds in our apartment than in Chennai,” I replied.

Today’s reality is that with Chennai developing fast, playgrounds that can ensure good health for us, more importantly, children are few and far between.

There is just no space for sports and games. In a city like Chennai, space comes at a premium.

Even jogging in the city has its own problems. If you want to run, where will you run? Parks are there but your home has to be near to it. You can hit the road for running. But you never know when the corporation guys will dig it. And no one knows when the road will be set right. There are many roads in Chennai which have been lying dug up for months. Most roads don’t have proper platforms. If this is the case with jogging or walking, the issue with games such as football, hockey and cricket is even grave.

Chennai has few grounds where people can play. A few corporation grounds have been taken hostage by those playing badminton and cricket.

One should see the corporation ground at Thiru-vi-ka Nagar or Shenoy Nagar or Gopalapuram to understand the situation. Too many teams playing in too little a space.

There are playgrounds that have been lost to developments or projects such as flyovers. The Perambur flyover has eaten up two playgrounds. On either side of the Perambur Railway stations, we had the DRBCC School and the Railway Colony grounds. Both have become history after the flyover was constructed. A park has come up under the flyover now but for what purpose?

The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium had a field for hockey and for quite sometime, the annual Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament was held there.

A few years ago, the tournament was moved to the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium since the hockey federation decided to hold all tournaments on artificial turf.

Every May-June until two years ago, MCC Club used to play matches against The Hindu hockey team and other clubs. Expansion of the stadium including construction of a swimming pool and nets has made the field vanish.

Today, football and hockey players in the metro lack grounds to practice. Lucky ones like us have found our alma mater handy. There are playgrounds in some schools but they are under lock and key during weekends or holidays. One example is the Singarampillai school grounds at Villivakkam. Today, the ground entertains only those who pay to practice cricket in nets and tennis under a coach.

Kandaswamy College grounds in Anna Nagar is another example. The ground is used for hosting exhibitions and sale events. Not surprisingly then, talents in any sport, particularly cricket, are coming from Bharat.

We can brush these off as pangs of development but equally concerning is the move announced by Chennai Mayor Saidai Duraisamy. Presenting the corporation’s budget for 2014-15, he said vacant lands would be utilised to construct Amma theatres.

Why concerning because these lands can easily be converted into small playing grounds for children. The mayor wants to do something in honour of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. Nothing wrong, but there are better ways.

But for Jayalalithaa, one wonders, if the revamped Nehru Stadium for athletics and football, the modern Radhakrishnan stadium for hockey and the Nugambakkam tennis stadium would have come up. They are all her initiatives.

Being an educationist himself, the mayor would well do to come up with small playgrounds that will stand in good stead in the long term rather than theatres which will serve only limited purpose.

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Published on February 25, 2014
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