Sei sulla pagina 1di 16

VOL 3 ISSUE 1

TRADITION

I

CULTURE

I

FLAVOUR

I

BUSINESS

I

NEWS

JULY 10, 2009

Local impact: A resolute social worker helps rehabili- tate women abused by their alcoholic spouses.
Local impact: A resolute
social worker helps rehabili-
tate women abused by their
alcoholic spouses. p 11,12
Sullivan’s Bungalow: This
landmark building in the
district has plenty on offer
for the history buff. p 14
eLocal
OotyVintageCar
rally: pics inside
A
UNIQUE
PERSPECTIVE
OF
THE
NILGIRIS
Heavy
School bags:
A back-burner issue. p7
Kiran Komail Hassan
Inspite of the dangers of
physical and mental stress,
presented at an early age,
to a school going child,
much is said, but little is
being done about the
weight of the school bag.
Nilgiri Roads : The network of roads in the Nilgiris encompasses over 3376 kms, with

Nilgiri Roads: The network of roads in the Nilgiris encompasses over 3376 kms, with the highest width per 100 sq miles recorded among all hill regions of India. Travelling from Ooty to Coonoor is a 35 min drive with the scenic Valley view enroute. Along much of this drive look out for the railway line, which snakes its way through the valleys and hillsides suddenly springing upon you at an over bridge near Wellington,to finally culminate at Coonoor. While in Coonoor,do not miss visiting Sim’s Park (historical information mentioned below) and the Dolphin’s nose viewpoint if not Lamb’s rock as well, time permitting.

Kotagiri can be accessed from Ooty and Coonoor, in an hour’s time, either way, with good roads connecting these towns. Places to see in Kotagiri are the Sullivan’s Bungalow, near Dimhatti village and the Kodanad viewpoint beyond Nedugula village. For what to do while in Ooty, refer the 5 must-visit spots on the following page. Gudalur town has more to offer than just the Mudumalai sanctuary but more on that in the next issue. The two-hour drive to Gudalur is dotted with stately eucalyptus trees planted during the 70s. Drive safely and responsibly - remember never to drive under the influence of alcohol. Cheers!

Excited youngsters from Coimbatore, visiting Nilgiris, . An eye catching sight - these youngsters sticking
Excited youngsters from Coimbatore, visiting Nilgiris, .
An eye catching sight - these
youngsters sticking their heads out of
the sunroof of this powerful SUV,
waving out to everyone in excitement;
the picture has the Ketti valley on the
Ooty- Coonoor Road, in the
background! Two of the young holiday
makers are from Miami in the US. ‘We
love this weather’, they shout out.
Advertisement Woolen wear: Choose from an exclusive range of sweaters at the Woolen Store, this
Advertisement
Woolen wear:
Choose from an exclusive range of sweaters at
the Woolen Store, this season. Sweaters for all
occasions, and for every member of the family.
Prices range from Rs 252/- onward. For
information, call (0423) 2442214. Visit us for
personalised service. The Woolen Store, (M
Chandiram & Son) Commercial Road, Ooty - 1

2

Advertisement Digital Video Coach: Deepa Travels offers a wide range of transportation options - Tata
Advertisement
Digital Video Coach: Deepa
Travels offers a wide range of
transportation options - Tata
407 Van, Car, Tata Sumo,
Qualis, Indica and Luxury
Tourist Bus.
Call for local sightseeing cabs,
airport drop and pick up
requirements or for group
travel.
Clean, well maintained
vehicles with courteous staff,
committed to your safety and
comfort.
For information, call (0423)
2206181/ 98430 20176.
94425 20176,C Murugesan,
Deepa Tours & Travels, no 8,
Market, Coonoor - 2.
Deepa Tours & Travels, no 8, Market, Coonoor - 2. The present district court premises, including

The present district court premises, including the site and the building, were originally meant for the Breeks Memorial school. In 1873, J D Sim, (who laid out the park at Coonoor named after him, around the same time) placed the foundation stone for the school. During 1875-78, the entire complex with an attractive clock tower was completed by J W Morant, District Engineer par excellence. In 1885, the government acquired the site and the building for the court house due to the centrally accessible location.

Info, courtesy: Rev Philip K Mulley

3

travel

5 must-visit tourist spots in Ooty.

In about half a day’s time, with a small car or taxi handy, one can get to the essence of Ooty’s tourism identity.

Pykara Lake:one can get to the essence of Ooty’s tourism identity. 21 kms from Ooty, on the

21 kms from Ooty, on the

Ooty-Mysore Road, is the Pykara lake. It is considered sacred by indigenous tribes. Great for boating. Thank God for digital cameras - the

settings are picturesque.

Ooty Lake:God for digital cameras - the settings are picturesque. The glittering jewel of Ooty, the lake

The glittering jewel of Ooty, the lake is a treat to behold from afar! Total extent: 65 acres. Officially opened to boating since 1973.

Botanical Gardens:extent: 65 acres. Officially opened to boating since 1973. In the heart of Ooty town, this

In the heart of Ooty town, this

55 acre expanse is the lungs

of the town and its resident population. its layout was completed in 1867. With over 2000 varieties of flowers, the gardens is a must-see.

Tea museum &Tea factory:over 2000 varieties of flowers, the gardens is a must-see. Enroute Doddabetta, the tea manufacturing experience

Enroute Doddabetta, the tea manufacturing experience here, is total - from leaf to cup, as they say. The museum is a history buff’s delight!

Doddabetta Peak:as they say. The museum is a history buff’s delight! Standing at 2623 msl (metres above

Standing at 2623 msl (metres above sea level) Doddabetta is

10 kms from Ooty. The name

means ‘big mountain’ in the local language. Surrounded by dense shola (forests) the peak offers a truly far-sighting experience. One can see as faraway as Mysore, through a high-powered telescope set there.

The future of the Nilgiri Potato hangs in the balance.

The International year of Potato aims to increase awareness and support for the development of the crop, which, humble as it may be, has had the reputation of changing the fortunes of nations in recent history. The potato (Solanum Tuberosa) was first found growing wild 8000 years ago on the shores of Lake Titicaca high in the Andes mountain ranges of South America wherein 200 species of wild potato can be found. In some parts of the High Andes, land is still measured in ‘topo’ - the area a family requires to grow their potato supply. Time, it seems, was measured by how long it took to cook a potato. On an interesting note, the locals in whose hands rest the potato cultivation of the area are exceptional reservoirs of the knowledge and skills in domesticating wild potatoes. Unique farming practices have been passed on orally by generations of women farmers.They have, it seems, provided priceless assistance in preserving Andean potato biodiversity. Nilgiri native dwellers have no less a reputation for their acquired skills at farming, potato in particular having had a spectacular economic effect. The future of the ‘Ooty potato’, however, hangs in the balance, what with declining inclination of the next generation to take it up, rising costs of input as well as the vagaries of the market. Read a special account in the next issue, complete with a historical account, a detailed perspective of market conditions and an interview with an octogenarian farmer !

Daily vegetables: An early morning scene from Ooty market
Daily vegetables: An early morning
scene from Ooty market

Train timings:

Mettupalayam-Ooty:

Dep:7:10 am Arr: Ooty-1200 noon. Ooty -Mettupalayam:

Dep:3:00 pm. Local trains:

Ooty to Coonoor-9:15 am, 12:15 pm, 3:00 pm, 6: pm. Coonoor to Ooty-7:45 am, 10:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 4:30 pm.

DISTRICT

POLICE

HELP-LINES

call 108 in any emergency

Police: Ooty - (0423) 100, Coonoor - (0423) 2221836, Kotagiri - (04266) 271100, Gudalur (04262) 261246.

Please add the area code if dialling from a mobile phone or from outside the circle

Mini shopping guide

Garments:

Fashion India - Specialist tailors

We specialise in churidhars and gents suits. For more information, contact Mushtak M / M Mubarak on mobile no: 9847071235/ 94887 70674. Near IUDP Complex, Market, Coonoor - 1.

Sweets & Savouries

Shree Shakthi Sweets

Visit for an attractive variety of sweets and savouries. Call Shanthilal C. Bajaniya, (0423) 2239688. NKN Complex, Bedford Circle, Coonoor.

Florists

Best Blooms - Florists

Bouquets starting from Rs. 50/ - onwards. Contact for marriages and party decorations. Call P Sumathi, mobile no 98432 55278. Jograj Building, Bedford, Coonoor.

4

The epitome of simplicity.

The doors of the traditional, tiled, low- roofed home in the heart of Ooty town,

in Agraharam, a home that you will

find after several turns on a narrow winding road, would be opened at 5 am each day. ‘Whether it was a rainy morning or cold winter weather was not a detterent. My uncle would open the doors promptly at 5’, reminisces a niece tearfully. We had paid a quiet visit to the home where the former MP from the Nilgiris, Mr Surendra Ram lived for several years before he moved to Chennai, for medical checks and treatment for a heart condition. He was large-hearted. And fair and forthright too. A grandchild recalls the toys that he never forgot to bring home, inspite of busy schedules; a neighbour stressed on the daily arbitration that the former MP would undertake to settle issues for those who entered through the open doors.

A few months before Mr Surendra

Ram died, I had the privilege to visit him and the family at Chennai and had presented him a copy of TheLocal, the one in which the story of free legal aid in the Nilgiris was touched upon.

When reminded of his contributions towards enabling legal aid for vast sec- tions of under privileged people locally,

as mentioned by the writer, the kindly

man smiled. He perhaps meant that it was nothing, which is characteristic of

all self-effacing people. Or, he per-

haps meant, ‘wish I could still do more’,

which is selfless.

His contributions to the development

of the Co-operative banks, locally, are

noteworthy. Mr Surendra Ram strongly advocated the habit of small savings among the marginalised and lesser privileged. The M P’s inspira-

tion came, it seems, from his father Shri Muniswamy Pillai, then Agricul- ture Minister, also the first Minister

of State from the Nilgiri district.

The pictures on the wall at the

tribute

Former Rajya Sabha MP and MLC from the Nilgiris, Mr Surendra Ram, was a man
Former Rajya Sabha MP and MLC from the
Nilgiris, Mr Surendra Ram, was a man
committed to quiet service to local community.
His simple life is testimony to the true identity
of a politician.
The young couple: (left) Mr.
Surendra Ram and Mrs Thulasibai
In distinguished company: With Dr
S Radhakrishnan and Marshall Tito;
amongst fellow-parliamentarians
(below).

Agraharam home tell the story. The MP was, according to the family, very dear to the then Chief Minister K Kamaraj. His travels took him far and wide and his friends included no less than dignitaries like Marshall Tito (in pic- ture, above).

The Rajya Sabha tenure lasted from 1952- 58. His life of service to society, went beyond. Everywhere we visited, the day after his de- mise in Chennai, asking people in and around Ooty town, of their memories of the former MP, it was his simplicity that would be talked

of first - he walked (never owned a car), you always saw him in a Nehru suit, he had a smile on his face. Most importantly, he had time for everyone he met on the road - a word of timely advice and reassurance. Mr Surendra Ram’died at age 88. He is survived by his wife and four children and their families. He leaves behind a legacy of unconditional and unsung service to local society that may never be paralleled. A ster- ling example of how a true politician must be.

The Local Correspondent

5

general

5 general Commemorating 150 years: Mr N Ram, Editor-inChief, The Hindu, addressing the gathering at the

Commemorating 150 years: Mr N Ram, Editor-inChief, The Hindu, addressing the gathering at the Nilgiri Library 150th year celebratory function. Seen seated, from left, Dr D Krishnaraj, Hony President of the library and Mr K Chandramohan, Hony Secretary.

‘An improbable survival’

150 years of the Nilgiri Library commemorated.

The 150 th anniversary celebrations of the Nilgiri Library were made special by the presence of Mr N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu. His speech was delivered from a podium set up in the high-ceilinged Reading Room. It was evident that he had taken time off from his busy schedule to look up informa- tion regarding the Library. The survival of the Library was an improbable survival, be- cause although the reading habit has not died, books and newspapers have definitely been left by the wayside. Newspapers are on the decline but since most papers are available online, readership have increased while the output of print material has dwindled. Most publishing houses are on

their last legs. But the habit of reading is not dying out and one needs only to look at the phenomenal global success of the Harry Pot- ter series to realise that. Books are now avail- able online and only need to be downloaded. So with gadgets like the I-pod or an e-reader, a reader can access a book at any given time. Therefore, this library has to resort to ener- getic, innovative methods to entice new members. It should work hand in hand with the new electronic technology in order to ensure its continued survival. Children, es- pecially, should be introduced to the joys of reading. The Nilgiri Library could further be safe- guarded by getting it declared a heritage building so as to preserve it and keep it con-

temporary. Encouraging words.

J Pillai

Unscramble the words alongside to discover a local treat below!

answers on p 13

K

A E C

to discover a local treat below! answers on p 13 K A E C N Y
N Y H E O SOL A D M N H E S A W
N
Y H E O
SOL A D M N
H
E S A W C
I
A P T S
C
N M H U
N
O G A M

A gift from Ooty that makes home, sweet home!

Readers write

Monkey in the mind

Sarasu Bellie

I picked up a dictionary to search for the meaning of words such as conflict, vaccillation, indecision, confusion and dis- traction. It took me three days to do this. But why so long? Because Tommy would distract me with his angry barking. He seemed to be bothered by something up on the tree, but I see nothing there. The

phone rings. It is an old friend. We talk and we talk and then I go for a walk. The dictionary is still on my table. The mon- key it seems was not on the tree but in my mind. I promise to finish my word search- ing immediately but I forget why I’m do- ing this. Its the monkey again. This time, Tommy is fast asleep.

this. Its the monkey again. This time, Tommy is fast asleep. Statutory disclaimer : The Local

Statutory disclaimer: TheLocal disclaims liability of any kind whatsoever, arising out of the readers use, or inability to use the material contained in it. Adequate care has been taken to compile stories for the reference of our users. TheLocal makes every effort to maintain accuracy of the information but does not accept responsibility for any and disclaims responsibility for any loss or damage which may arise from the information provided. All opinion expressed in the issue in the form of articles or any viewpoint is solely that of the individual or advertiser concerned and TheLocal accepts no liability thereof. None of the Authors, Contributors, Sponsors or anyone connected to TheLocal can be liable for any reproduction of the material.

6

Promotional feature

With more and more electrical gadgets filling the average consumer’s home, chances of accidental fire is today, greatly increased. How prepared is the average housewife to cope with an eventuality when there may be no help readily available? UBC Fire Safety Equipment representatives throw light on various aspects.

How prepared are we, in the event of an accidental fire at home?

are we, in the event of an accidental fire at home? Fire safety , for the
are we, in the event of an accidental fire at home? Fire safety , for the

Fire safety, for the home, is usually the last thing on anyone’s mind. The excuse is that a fire rarely happens so why bother about it. How- ever, accidental fire in homes do occur. The question is, are we prepared? What would we do, for instance, if the curtains

in the bedroom caught fire? Or something in

themicrowavegotburntandsparkedoffflames? The first reaction is to throw water. However,thiscouldprovedangerous,especially

when dealing with electrical gadgets, says MrA

M Lawrence, head of UBC Fire Safety Equip-

ment. ‘The fire could spread faster and in some cases, the chances of electrical shock to the individual is greatly increased. A fire extin- guisher, on the other hand, is a handy device that can efficiently and safely take care of such accidentalfires.

Theextinguisherspewsapowderyspraywhich

acts as a blanket, cutting off any oxygen supply

to the flames (which is what makes a fire grow

bigger). A few quick sprays on the affected surface and the fire is effortlessly put out.

The recommended size of a fire extinguisher

below depicts (Mrs Devaram, a resident of Coonoor, is seen holding a 2 kg cylin- der in her kitchen). The ideal place for the fire extinguisher is at the entrance of the kitchen, says Mr Lawrence. ‘The kitchen is the most likely place where a fire could start. In case of an eventuality, it is easy to rush to the doorway, unhook the cylinder and spray over the affected area, instantly!’ There is a 5 year maintenance-free warrranty on the product. This is the life- time of the cylinder which can be refilled, thereafter. UBC Fire, according to company sources, is one of the largest fire safety solutions provider in the region. The organisation, incorporated in 1997, has a highly trained workforce, who, as part of ongoing safety drives also actively engages in fire safety

awarenessprogramsforvariouscommu-

nities especially those in highly fire-sensi- tive zones like garment factories. School students are regularly trained in fire safety.

School students are regularly trained in fire safety. for home use, is either a 1 kg

for home use, is either a 1 kg or 2 kg cylinder

for an average household. However, the ac-

tual requirement of a home is based on the assessment of a fire safety consultant after considering size of the house, extent of the surroundings andsuchotheraspects.

Is it difficult for a housewife to actually handle

the extinguisher? Is it heavy? The fire safety expert reassuringly explains that operating a fire extinguisher is simple, once the family has been trained in the easy-to-follow steps that are imparted at the time of installation. As for theweight,boththeoptionsmentionedabove are balanced in such a way as to prove con- venient to hold and operate, as the picture

UBC’s fire safety solutions also extend to the corporate and industrial sector. ‘Our help desk at Coonoor, will be happy to provide information regarding fire safety and how to go about installing a fire extin- guisher at home.’ For those who wish to know more about home safety solutions, they may call theNilgiri region area repre- sentative, Mr Basil Benny on the follow- ingtel.nos.(0423)2232101/ 9894990523. Prices for the portable range of fire extin- guishers, for a household, range from an attractive Rs. 999/- to Rs. 2499/-.

Information & photographs: courtesy, UBC Fire Safety (P) Ltd.

UBC Fire Safety (P) Ltd, no 108,Tatabad, Coimbatore - 641 012.Tel - (0422 4373101 Fax - (0422) 421 3101 email ho@ ubcfire safety. com. www.ubcfiresafety.com. Nilgiri region office: no 18,Church Road,Bedford,Coonoor. (0423) 223 2101

7

local issue

A back-burner issue

Kiran Komail Hassan

Onset of juvenile rheumatoid arthiritis can be attributed directly to the weight of the school bag, but the issue, at present, is a low-priority one.

A flash survey of the weights of school bags that children carry to school each day produced some thought-provoking results - the weight of the bags, on an average, were found to be over 20% of the students’ body weights.As per International norms a child’s school bag must not exceed 10% of his/her body weight. In India, there seem to be no specific guidelines available in this regard. Dr P K Ramachandran, senior surgeon, when asked for his opinion on the matter, explained that a heavy bag on a child’s shoulders increased the risk of physical strain on the muscles and possible damage. Likely symptoms, he says, are migraine headaches and frequent complaints of back pain and

musculoskeletal pain. In severe cases, onset

of juvenile rheumatoid arthiritis can also occur,

the doctor cautions. Several parents find themselves carrying the child’s school bag or hiring an auto rickshaw to avoid the obvious strain on the child’s shoulders.

A Principal of a large local school categorically

stated that children and parents must be watchful of the timetable requirements and plan the contents of the school bag accordingly.

Teachers, it seems, advise students periodically to plan according to their

respective timetables. A random assessment

timetables versus the books being carried

did show some students carrying more books

of

being carried did show some students carrying more books of than required, but most others were

than required, but most others were carrying books according to the day’s plan. Is it therefore, that the timetable itself might need a relook? Before considering this larger question here is another observation - an average of 2-3 books per subject are being hauled up and down to school each day. If, for example, a child had seven or eight subjects to study then around twenty books will be required for that day!

An average of 2-3 books, per subject, is being hauled up and down to school everyday. If a child had seven subjects to study, then around 20 books will be required for that day!

There are suggestions. A local school correspondent points out that text books need not be carried along every day.This,she feels, will greatly reduce bag weight. Homework could also be replaced with a brief revision the next day allowing discussion and assessment to happen in class itself. Amid all this, school bag manufacturers, mostly from the unorganised sector, seem to be having a field day. There are ‘big bags’ on sale. ‘Parents ask for bigger bags, said one retailer in Ooty. Exceptionally, at least one branded bag maker had sizes for specific age groups. The real issue, however - education being primarily meant to spark the mind and not challenge the body - is on the backburner; it needs to be addressed sooner than later.

The writer is engaged in the welfare of little students. She is also a French tutor.

welfare of little students. She is also a French tutor. TheLocal interviewed Mrs. Leela Krishnarajan,

TheLocal interviewed Mrs. Leela Krishnarajan, Correspondent L.R.N Opportunity School, Coonoor, for her perspective on the issue of children carrying heavy school bags.

How heavy was your own school bag when you were a student? We were just 17 students with each us being provided desks to store all our books and take home only the necessary ones. I remember carrying books in our hands.

What do you think has led to the change, today? I think teaching a large number of children and attempting to cover portions quickly has increased dependence on text books and guides.

Has the dependence on a teacher reduced? Yes, and that is mainly because earlier teachers were concept oriented, using different methods for teaching whereas today most teachers tend to rely on the text book. Some even dictate directly from the text book.

I am reminded of my own teachers at St. Joseph’s Convent, Coonoor, Mrs.

Chippendale and Mrs. Saldhana who taught

us with innovative methods. Mrs. Saldhana,

a widely travelled person, would, for example, while teaching us about a particular country,

actually dress like them! Today I find myself adopting several methods that these

teachers employed.

Contd on p 14

interview

Teachers like Mrs Saldhana and Mrs Chippendale were role models. They showed us students how to eliminate dependence on books by being creative in their teaching methodology.

models. They showed us students how to eliminate dependence on books by being creative in their
Men in Black The Ooty Vintage Rally was most certainly the spectacular event of the
Men in Black
The Ooty Vintage Rally was most certainly the spectacular event of the season with the
‘men’ all dressed to kill. The graceful lady of the lot, was a red-coloured Baby Austin of
1942 (on cover pg).
pic : courtesy, Ajay Venugopal

They were all lined up on the green grass; as striking a line-up as at any beauty pageant. They were the forty four vintage vehicles participating in the Vintage Car Rally held under the auspices of the Nilgiri Vehicle and Classic Cars Association.The line-up comprised cars, jeeps and motor-cycles, all gleaming and spotless. Some had travelled up under their own steam from as far as Salem and Coimbatore. Others, too fragile for the long drive uphill, rode piggy-back on a lorry to their destination. The oldest car present was a bright red 1934 Baby Austin. One black 1945 Morris was purchased from its original owner for a princely sum of Rs 5000.The jeeps were interesting in that though manufactured in the 1950’s they were made according to the specifications required by vehicles used in World War II. Hence they come equipped with map reading lights on the bonnet.These and the headlights are covered by metal hoods so that the lights would not be visible to any aircraft flying overhead. Many had thick wooden sticks bolted on to their bonnets. In case of any emergency these were unscrewed and fixed with either metal axe or shovel heads(which are also bolted onto the vehicle) and used as required. Most owners have a regular mechanic who is familiar with the cars. Some of the cars have had their original engines removed to make way for newer and more economical engines. At least one owner on acquiring the vehicle has removed the new engine and replaced it with an original engine found some

bazaar.The idea is to restore the vehicle to its original condition. But spares are hard to find and owners scour second hand markets or as a last resort will have the part made locally.The rally which began three years ago has now become a fixture at Ooty and the number of enthusiasts is on the rise. So we

can look forward to seeing more of these beauties on the road.

Information compiled by Mrs J Pillai

The young Inheritor Young Srinivas, a Std 9 student of Stanes School Coimbatore, is the
The young Inheritor Young Srinivas, a Std 9 student of Stanes School Coimbatore, is the

The young Inheritor

Young Srinivas, a Std 9 student of Stanes School Coimbatore, is the ‘hopeful’ inheritor of the 1945 Morris (in pic). Although the vintage car belongs to his mother,he takes an avid interest in the car,its mechanics and maintenance. Unlike other teens, Srinivas was indifferent to the charms of a Ferrari or a Porsche, but his eyes would light up everytime he looked at the Morris. He seemed to be on friendly terms with the mechanic and informed us that a self- starter has been installed to eliminate the need for the traditional crank. Once on the road, the ‘grand old lady’ moved at 50-60 kmpl. Srinvas’ family also owns another vintage car - a Vanguard.The young inheritor tells us that he wlll have to deserve the car in order to own it,someday.His continued involvement and care for the masterpiece, will help ensure that.

10

What do we mean, Plastic-free?

Roshni Yathiraj

environment

The Nilgiris district may only be carry-bag free (if at all). The larger problem lies beneath the surface and in the air that we breathe.

A truckload of soil was meant to be just that - a truckload of soil. Until the local resident who ordered it, found disposable syringes upon unloading! Hospitals in the Nilgiris did not have a system of disposal till the year 2001. Ever since, a Supreme Court ruling ensured that an independent area be earmarked for bio- medical waste and that a stringent system be put in place. Dr Muralidharan, member of the Indian Medical Association, Nilgiris, presently entrusted with overseeing the medical waste management system, estimates that about

a 100 kgs of plastic medical waste, each month, is being managed by the designated facility located near Coonoor. Earlier, in January 2000, the Tamil Nadu government had enforced a ban on the usage of three particular plastic articles in the district – carry bags with handles, plastic cups and plastic plates. The ban was largely triggered due to incessant problems of clogging of water passages and drainage and the resultant damage to the roads in particular. Today, barring some unrelenting offendors - vendors and customers alike, carry bags have

indeed reduced. The real issue however, is much larger - plastics other than carry bags and the manner of its disposal. An average Indian household deals with at least half a kilo of fresh plastic every three months - milk sachets, water bottles, packaging material and wrappers of all kinds, large and small. The local scenario is not unsimilar - roughly 1 tonne of plastic waste is generated every week in Ooty town alone, according to sources at the Udhagamandalam Municipal office. During the tourist season, there is a sharp increase in such disposables. ‘Nearly 50% of plastic

Burning or burying plasticswon’tmake it go away. Recycling andreuseare just buzzwords. There is a larger solutionalthough an expensive one.

Burning plastic:

A highly unadvisable op- tion to get rid of plastic waste. This is however, a regular affair across the district.

pics: RoshniYathiraj
pics: RoshniYathiraj

Publisher’s note

It still hasn’t struck me to quit publishing your local paper. The analogy of a boxer, down but not out, rising up from the mat to deliver one last punch is not misplaced. TheLocal is willing to give publishing of a paper

in the Nilgiris,

Countless reviews and taking stock of the situation has led to innumerable changes - changing the quality of paper (which we attempted once last year), attempting a quarterly and even a shortlived weekly (to help

But this must be the most startling

cash flows, we thought) and what not

change- the revised size of the paper! There are valid reasons, not in

the least important being the ease of managing smaller sheets in terms

important being the ease of managing smaller sheets in terms (Yet) Another shot. one more shot.

(Yet) Another shot.

one more shot.

This time around, the small paper with a big view, just got smaller. Its resolve, however, is bigger!

11

environment

disposables are added to the regular load’, states the council Chairman, Mr. R Rajendran, estimating it at about 1.5 tonnes per week, during the peak period. What exactly happens to these vast amounts of disposed plastic across the district? There are three possibilities - it is collected and dumped onto a designated wasteland, or it is strewn across the hillside or into a canal. In the worst case scenario, it is burnt. All the options pose threats. The dump yards are literal toxin-generating pools with large quantities of plastics exposed to direct sunlight for years, causing the exposed plastic to photo degrade into more toxic perto-polymers. Layer upon layer of plastics of all sorts have been collected over the years, so much so that the dump overflows into the neighbouring estate - a stark example of massive consumption or insufficient preparedness to tackle the burgeoning problem, depending upon how one wants to look at it. Plastic being strewn out the window is apparently the lesser of the two evils, the other being the burning of this substance, which almost all residents, particularly those residing outside municipal limits, frequently resort to, simply in order to get the mess out of sight.

5 ounces of burning PVC in an average-sizedroom,canemit enough toxicity to kill its occupants in ten minutes.

This form of disposal is the most dangerous - the release of dioxin, a carcinogen, causes damaging and life threatening effect. For instance, 5 ounces (or six 1 litre Coke bottles) of burning PVC in an average-sized room, can emit enough toxicity to kill its occupants in ten minutes. If exposed to, in an open environment, the toxins could affect the lungs, nervous system, kidneys and liver in the long term. Chronic diseases like bronchitis, emphysema and most cancers can take 20 years to develop and can be caused by low exposures to smoke and toxins, which originally appeared harmless.

Thanks to Alexander Parkes, creator of the first man-made plastic in 1862, the substance is found today, in nearly all durable or disposable goods and packaging materials. Polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene are the chemicals largely used in the manufacture of plastics. Synthetic polymers are easily moulded into complex shapes, have high chemical resistance, and are more or less elastic.They can be formed into fibres or thin transparent films (found wrapped around a bar of chocolate to keep the infamous worms out). It’s impossible to wish plastics away. If its not in your carry bag it is in your car, your shampoo container and your kitchen. The recycle triangle insignia found on the outside of plastic products, denoting that it’s recyclable and indicating the number of times that it can be recycled, is a litle more than a formality here in India; this issue is best reserved, at this point, for deeper

this issue is best reserved, at this point, for deeper Plastics, plastics : Garbage, across the

Plastics, plastics:Garbage, across the dis- trict is growing by the day. Plastics form a majority of the waste, posing a dangerous threat to all, unless diligently collected and correctly reused.

investigation at a later time. Coming to the predicament at hand, are there solutions? Is there a possible avenue for the huge amount of plastic waste that is being generated in the hills to be better utilised or at least, moved out of harm’s way? Perhaps, yes. The presence of plastics in roads, for example, has been experimented with since the 90s, with some success. A lot of headway has been made in the research and development of this alternative. 600 kms of roads in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have already been laid with plastic-bitumen blend that, according to experts, ensures twice the durability of normal roads. In 2004, the TCE Engineering College in Madurai developed a plastic road technology. The Government of Tamilnadu had then announced a scheme for laying 1000 km of rural roads using the plastic bitumen blend. The focus on plastic itself, as an alternative, came about due to a Supreme Court ruling in 1998 when the Arin Barman Committee was formed; it submitted a detailed report on solid waste management for urban civic bodies. At least 2 tonnes of plastic is required for 1 km of road of 3.5m width, which, with some simple computation locally,will establish that there is enough raw material on hand. One km of plastic road saves approximately one tonne of bitumen, which makes the option environmentally friendly! Plastic-bitumen roads are highly water resistant which easily caters to a perennial problem the Nilgiris. But there is a road block. Costs. One km of plastic road requires around Rs. 40,000/- more than the regular tarring.Therefore,small, local municipalities cannot go the distance alone. Which leaves us to depend on the government looking favourably in this direction. Or, private investors and entrepreneurs choosing to partner with local civic bodies. But, these are roads less travelled.

Ms Roshni Yathiraj is (late) Dr A A Devaraj’s grandaughter; She is presently pursuing a degree in Environmental Sciences at Bangalore

of layout. The primary aspect is most certainly, the cost of paper. TheLocal has, we realised in the two years gone by, been more of a magazine than a newspaper. The new size, incidentally, is typically magazine-like. So much for the latest change. The values of the publication are unchanged. Celebrating the district’s history, culture and traditions is uppermost and quite dear to me as it is to you. The need also, to reflect on issues that affect us locally, is something that TheLocal is conscious of and has duly explored. The elephant poaching issue, the worrying aspect of depleting water sources, and now the problem of growing plastic waste are examples of this underlying intent. You will find a mix of local aspects in this revised issue that will inform us about that which we weren’t aware, instil in us an introspective disposition about issues that are more serious than we imagined and truly, to invite us all to act in the interest of the larger good of local society not just for now but the future too. As you will discover, while perusing through the magazine, a separate section has been devoted to hearing your views on varied matters related to the district. Please feel free to send in your letters marked to the editor either by post or email, both of which are mentioned at the bottom of p 16. Sincerely, Edwin David

12

At SARAS, 60% of domes- tic abuse cases involve women having to cope with their alcoholic spouses. Mrs Vasanthakumari (in pic, left) and her team, have helped rehabilitate several grateful women and their children traumatised by unfortunate circumstances in their lives. Excerpts from an interview.

What made you break away from the mould and take up active social work? During my years in college I wanted to become

a teacher so it made sense to do my B.Ed. When

of

Kanyakumari sent out a call for service-minded men and women to serve the country,I decided to join.The training that I received there gave me the confidence and determination to take up social work as a career.It is probable that my underlying bend for social work was brought to the fore by the Kendra.After all isn’t a teacher’s job also a service? When was the SARASTrust formed?What is its aim? In 1999,with the help of my brother Dr.Satish Kumar,an Ayurvedic doctor who was practis- ing in Ooty. SARAS stands for Saradha Devi Ramakrishna and Swamiji (Vivekananda) the acronym being formed by the first two alpha- bets of the first two words and the first alphabet of the last word. Our aim is to help women from the age group 0-90.We help women who have been deserted, who are unwed mothers, who are trapped in family conflicts. Victims of domestic abuse and women with alcoholic husbands make up 60% of our cases. We also take in women who have been victims of trafficking and of rape.The Court, at times, entrusts us with underage girls who have run away from their homes. In rare cases, girls are brought to us by one or other of their

the

Swami

Vivekananda

Kendra

to us by one or other of their the Swami Vivekananda Kendra Restoring torn relationships J

Restoring torn relationships

J Pillai

parents to avoid an escalation of domestic con- flict. Do these girls know whom to turn to in times of trouble? Oh yes! We are very much in the public eye though maybe not in a strident manner. Dis- play boards have been put up in hospitals and police stations. All autorickshaw drivers in Ooty have been provided with information about us and our telephone numbers. If they see any distressed woman, they promptly bring her to us or call us. We also have volunteers in places like Kandhal and in most villages. Some are referred to us by the police and by lawyers. Could you describe the process of rehabilita- tion for our readers? Depending on the intensity of their problems, they are allowed to stay for a period not exceed- ing three years. The first week or so they are allowed time to rest so that a sense of normalcy returns to their lives. Relatives are contacted and both parties are counselled. Alcoholic hus- bands are advised to control their alcohol binges and their wives are given practical tips on how to handle their drunken spouses. In the case of unwed mothers, relatives are advised to take

back the girls. About 10% of these girls give up their babies and return to their homes to lead normallives. How successful have your efforts been? About 70% of our girls have been successfully rehabilitated. In cases where counselling has been unsuccessful and where the girls choose to remain at the Home then we proceed to give

themsomevocationaltraining.Skillsliketailor-

ing,embroidery,muffler making,sequin work,

paintingaretaught.Basiccomputerskills,mak-

ing of stuffed toys and pickles are also taught. When it is time for them to leave,then theTrust will extend a helping hand by sponsoring tai- loring machines or a petty shop. We also find

employmentforthembutnotbeforethewould-

be employers are thoroughly vetted. Does the Trust keep a track of these girls? Oh yes, we do follow-up with these cases. We meet with them, with their families, with their employers to ensure that things are working out well for them and to solve any difficulties that they may be facing.This is done on alternate months for a year.The girls are encouraged to visit us at least once a year especially for festi- vals and join our celebrations.

13

13 local impact includedoctors,counsellors,teachers,ayahsand peons. We are also assisted by a number of volunteers.

local impact

includedoctors,counsellors,teachers,ayahsand peons. We are also assisted by a number of volunteers. Tell us a little about your volunteers.

 

Recipe

Potatosalad

Our volunteers come from various parts of In- dia as well as from abroad.The Indian volun- teers, male and female are mostly students who are working towards their Masters in Social Work.Male volunteers are required to do field

female are mostly students who are working towards their Masters in Social Work.Male volunteers are required

workandareespeciallyconcernedwithdissemi-

nation of information regarding HIV.The In- ter-Cultural Exchange India, Bangalore which is associated with the Foreign Affairs Ministry has a website that highlights selected NGOs and their services.The SARAS Trust is men- tioned on this website.Those who wish to work with us get in touch with ICEA.Three volun- teers all female are chosen at a time. What challenges do you face in the course of your work? This line of work is, at the best of times, very challenging. This is especially the case in our workwithcommercialsexworkersandwithour efforts to spread awareness about AIDS. How- ever our work is made much easier by the good rapport we enjoy with the various Government agencies including the Collector. We are mem- bers of the Child Welfare Committee,the Red Cross, and the Child Trafficking Board. The Nilgiri Police have even issued us with a “Friends of Police”certificate.

1

cup boiled potato

1/2 cup celerey

1 small cucumber

1 small chopped onion

2 tsp finely chopped parsely

tsp finely chopped coriander leaves 1/2 cup curd

2

Pepper and salt to taste

Is it all work for the inmates? No, we do manage to have some fun. We cel- ebrate all major festivals on the Indian calendar. Woman’s Day is celebrated with great gusto by both staff and girls. A fancy dress competition is held where the girls dress up as famous women in history such as Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, Mrs IndiraGandhietc.Motivationaldramasarealso staged. How are the children taken care of? The children are allowed to stay in the Home except for boys above the age of six.The young ones are sent to a balawadi and the older ones go to the nearest government school. Medical care is provided. Milestones like birthdays are celebrated with joy and new clothes are given. Do you have a permanent staff? We have a permanent staff of about 22. These

Dice the potato, celerey and

cucumber into 1/4 in. pieces.

Mix

well with the remaining

ingredients and serve on a bed of shredded cabbage.The potato salad is now ready to serve.

You

may also add one chopped,

firm

apple or 1/2 cup chopped

How are you able to meet expenses? Although we do receive funds from the Gov- ernment there is never enough. So donations, in cash or in kind are very welcome.The members of the public can become Patrons by remitting as little as Rs. 100/- on a monthly basis to the Trust.

welcome.The members of the public can become Patrons by remitting as little as Rs. 100/- on

pineapple or a handful of rasin instead of the finely chopped coriander leaves. If you wish to spice up your salad, add one finely chopped chilli or sprinkle a bit of chilli powder!

In March 2009, as part of the Women’s Day celebrations the Inner Wheel Club of Ooty presented a shield to Mrs. Vasanthakumari in recognition of her services to womankind and to society.

 

answers to jumble on p 5.

chocolates.madeHomeMango.Munch,

 

Pista,Cashew,Almonds,Honey,Cake,

1. How many species of birds can be found

in the Nilgiris?

2. What does NWLEA stand for?

3. The Indian bison is known by another

name. What is it?

4. What is the population of the bison in

India and what extent of this majestic

animal’s population is found in the Nilgiris?

5. Which year did the Wildlife Protection

Act come into being?

The Nilgiri Tahr
The Nilgiri Tahr

The Local wildlife quiz.

3.Association.EnvironmentandWildlifeNilgiri2.resident).andmigratory(both3201.

34000and23000betweeniscensus,2002atoaccordingpopulation,bisonIndia’s4.Gaur.

1972.yeartheIn5.Nilgiris.theinfoundthisof1/3with

answers to the local wildlife quiz

Contd from p 6

In your opinion how many students can a teacher ideally manage? Around 30.

What would you suggest as likely solutions to this predicament of a heavy school bag? Text books need not be carried up and down each day. Home work - another reason for excessive books going back and forth - can be minimised, preferably eliminated. In place of homework, daily revisions could be adopted. Where class size is large, a ‘helper’ teacher can be included. However,what is most essential at this point, is a complete change in the teachers’ approach. Conceptualisation is key.

However,what is most essential at this point, is a complete change in the teachers’ approach. Conceptualisation

14

Letters to the Editor

SirSirSirSirSir,,,,, I was happy to learn that The Local is back in circulation. I have enjoyed your previous issues and want to give my best wishes to your team. We lok forward to reading informative and entertaining articles in the upcoming issues. Since I enjoy puzzles and word games, I would like to suggest the inclusion of a crossword or sudoku. ArchanaArchanaArchanaArchanaArchana Ramji,Ramji,Ramji,Ramji,Ramji, UAEUAEUAEUAEUAE

SirSirSirSirSir,,,,, This long overdue letter carries my warmest wishes for The Local. Being a native of the Nilgiris, many friends ask about the district and after reading the magazine, I have realised that there is much more to the place, apart from the regular tourist spots. I have discovered and wondered at the innumerable activities going on there and all the unassuming people behind them. I was fortunate to visit several places, including the Longwood Shola that I hadn’t known about earlier. On the same note, students and staff at Headstart Learning Centre in Chennai would like to thank you for the journalism workshop that you had conducted for them while in Coonoor on the recent excursion. It was a valuable learning experience for all of us. Our visit to Sullivan’s bungalow was enriching. Thank you. SavithriSavithriSavithriSavithriSavithri Radhakrishnan,Radhakrishnan,Radhakrishnan,Radhakrishnan,Radhakrishnan, ChennaiChennaiChennaiChennaiChennai

Sullivan’s

Bungalow

Dharmalingam Venugopal

history

Built at a total cost of ‘rupees twenty’, Sullivan’s Bungalow, in Kotagiri, evokes nostalgia of a bygone era.

Having been moonstruck by what he discovered on his maiden visit to the Nilgiri hills in January 1819, John Sullivan returned just three months later to build his first residence in the Dimbutti valley, near Kotagiri. Why he chose a site (now part of Kannerimukku village) so close to

Badaga habitations may perhaps be explained by his subsequent show of unbounded affection and concern for the local tribes. Sullivan was still a bachelor when he built the Dimhatti bungalow, which later came to be called the ‘Pethakal Bungalow’in local parlance. He got married in February 1820 and promptly brought his wife up in May that year. He stayed there during the various visits to the hills until the end of March

1823.

Sullivan’s bungalow was a modest affair to begin with, having been built at a cost of

‘rupees twenty’. It was later made into a ‘commodious bungalow’ with two storeys and four rooms. Built of brick and mortar and coated with fine chunam it had a terraced roof supported on strong teak beams (believed to have been brought from Tippu’s Seringapattnam palace), a neatly-finished wooden staircase, teak doors with brass hinges and ornamental

plaster cornices running round the rooms. Sullivan displayed much more lavishness in the houses he built later on the hills. Besides a kitchen garden, the Sullivan bungalow sported a ‘nice garden, and fine lawn-like piece of ground, bounded by a handsome wood adjoining’. The historic landmark degenerated into a cattle shed in the last century and remained so until it was resurrected to almost its original glory by the intrepid fellow civil servant Supriya Sahu in 2002. Since 2006, the bungalow is being managed by The Nilgiri Documentation Centre with the Nilgiri History Museum housed there now. The front door opens into ‘Sullivan’s Chamber’ where his portrait, pictures and paintings are displayed above the fireplace. Blow-ups of the main native tribes adorn the walls. The Chamber leads to the Henrietta Hall named in memory of Sullivan’s wife who died young and lies buried in St. Stephen’s church, Ooty along with her teenage daughter.The landing, at the head of the wooden staircase leading to the first floor, is named after Ms. Sahu. Pictures showing the natural heritage of Nilgiris line the wall along the stairs. The landing space is reserved for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. A corner is earmarked

for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. A corner is earmarked My vote was important Dhananjay Krishnamoorthy travelled

My vote was important

Dhananjay Krishnamoorthy travelled from Bangalore, where he works, to come to Coonoor, Nilgiris to cast his vote during the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. His views are clear and candid.

Catching an overnight bus from Bangalore, to get home to the Nilgiris on voting day, was uppermost in young Dhananjay’s mind. Working with a busy schedule at Tata Consulting was not a deterrent. ‘I think it is my personal responsibility to vote’, said the young professional. ‘If everyone that thought it wasn’t up to them, then we will not have true representation. Real change will come about only when people come forward to express themselves without bias or reservations.’Should the youth participate in politics? ‘Yes, but only if they have a service oriented mind.’ Is education important in politics? ‘It is. But that is not a guarantee of strong leadership. Even an ordinary farmer,for example,who may not have had access to formal education, could be a good leader. Moreover, he or she will be able to relate to everyday, practical issues better than most.’ Dhananjay’s grandfather (late) Dr N Kappinipathy is his inspiration. ‘Everyone in my family has always voted.’ Nilgiris, incidentally, posted a 70% polling turnout this time around. It will have been insightful to see how many of our youth voted. The young professional’s example is an inspiration.

Statutory disclaimer: TheLocal disclaims liability of any kind whatsoever, arising out of the readers use, or inability to use the material contained in it. Adequate

care has been taken to compile stories for the reference

of our users. TheLocal makes every effort to maintain accuracy of the information but does not accept responsibilityforanyanddisclaimsresponsibilityforany loss or damage which may arise from the information provided. All opinion expressed in the issue in the form of articles or any viewpoint is solely that of the individual or advertiser concerned and TheLocal accepts no liability thereof. None of the Authors, Contributors, Sponsors or anyone connected to TheLocal can be liable for any reproduction of the material.

TO ADVERTISE IN

liable for any reproduction of the material. TO ADVERTISE IN Local email your queries to thelocaleditor@gmail.com

Local

email your queries to thelocaleditor@gmail.com or call (0) 97905 90570

15

history Sullivan’s chamber : The main hall that greets the visitor on entry., contains sev-
history
Sullivan’s chamber : The main hall that
greets the visitor on entry., contains sev-
eral pictures and informational material.
A portrait of John Sullivan is positioned
above the fireplace. There are several in-
formational booklets and memorablia that
one can takeaway from the museum.

as a tribute to Philo Hiruthayanath, a self- styled anthropologist who wrote on the tribes of south India extensively in the 1960s and 70s. The upstairs room dedicated to Sir Thomas Munro, a good friend of Sullivan and who, as Governor,

signed the Nilgiris into history as a military sanatorium on the very day he died. The story of Nilgiris from pre-history is told in ten panels above a showcase displaying Nilgiri artifacts. The SouvenirShopinsidethemuseumoffersarange of memorabilia. There is a beautiful piece of

lawn adjoining the building for the visitors to relax. A clean toilet is available just outside the building.

The writer is a noted heritage conservationist and has been at the forefront of the campaign for a memorial to John Sullivan from 1980s. He is Director of the Nilgiri Documentation Centre.

Promotional feature Conveyor belt specialists ReenaReenaReenaReenaReena
Promotional feature
Conveyor belt specialists
ReenaReenaReenaReenaReena EnterprisesEnterprisesEnterprisesEnterprisesEnterprises was incorporated in the 1988 by Mr B Pradeep Kumar and
Mr G Augustin as a modest enterprise, in Adigaratty village near Ooty, with the
purpose of vulcanising rubber conveyor belts. Gradual progress helped
the enterprise purchase new conveyor belts from the southern India dealers
of Hindustan Conveyor Belts.
With growing demand the team started a new company, Faa Enterprises which
focuses on supply of imported PVC conveyor belts for factories. These conveyor
belts require high levels of quality and hygiene and are used in tea factories,
mushroom units, biscuit factories etc,. This unit is based in Coonoor, a central
location, especially taking into account, the tea industry. For enquiries, contact
Faa Enterprises, 81-B, Gray’s Hill, Upper Coonoor Nilgiris - 643 101.
Ph:9360100755/9443553946

16

The promise of freshness is alluring. We began to work on this promise from scratch,
The promise of freshness is alluring. We began to work on this promise from scratch, or more precisely, our commissary. India Breads’
modern baking facility at Coimbatore, complete with convection ovens, mixers and cold-room manned by expert bakers and chefs is a
testament to this philosophy. The enduring freshness in our products - breads, muffins, brownies, the Italian cuisine, including pizzas &
pastas, sandwiches, burgers, savouries, fresh cream and cheese cakes vouch for our promise. We think, only two other things compare - the
fresh, clean air of the hills and the quiet endearing interiors at India Breads’newly opened outlet at Hill Bunk in Ooty town. Visit us to taste
our hand-crafted chocolates and cheese cakes made from the finest ingredients sourced from across the world.
For home deliveries (on select items) please call (0423) 222 3361
India Breads Cafe, 164/H2, Club Road, Ooty - 643 001.
key elements

Published on behalf of The Local Media Publishing Co,. by Edwin David from 10/363-Y-1, Indiranagar; Avk Post, The Nilgiris. Printed at Satya Press, no. 50 Kariappa Street; Purasaiwalkam, Chennai - 7. Editor: Edwin David