Archive for the 'Public Spaces' Category

Street Lights in Pondicherry

For purposes of the management and maintenance of street lights in Pondicherry, the town is divided into five sectors, four under the responsibility of  Electricity Department and one under the Public Works Department (PWD).
Under the Electricity department:
  1. North
  2. Central
  3. South Central
  4. South
Under PWD

Gingee Salai

Ambour Salai

Beach road
The responsible government officials for the sectors are:
Junior Engineer – Saravanan
Phone no. – 0413 2336327
Total number of street lights: 650 (Mostly Sodium but also Tube lights)
Power consumption:  Sodium – 250 Watts; Tube lights – 40 Watts
Street lights are controlled by automatic timer. At an average there are 25 street lights per timer.
PondyCAN has asked Saravanan to set the timers so that lights are switched off at 5.30 in the morning and come on at 6.30 pm. He has agreed to do it in a phased manner.
The North sector begins from Perumal Koil and ends somewhere in VOC Nagar. Once we get details and maps of the other sectors, we will update this post.
Junior Engineer –  Sitaraman
Phone no: 0413 2336327
Details to follow…
South Central:
Junior Engineer – Tilakaraj
Junior Engineer – Ravichandran
The Superintendent Engineer directly above these four Junior Engineers: Anandakrishnan
Assistant Engineer – Jnanashekaran
Concerned citizens may get in touch with the responsible engineers in their neighborhood should they see any problems with street lights (non-functioning, on at the wrong times, etc.).  Should anyone have additional information, please share it with this forum.

Mired in Garbage

Garbage dumped in Thengaithittu

Garbage being burned in Thengaithittu. Photo by T. Singaraveluo, The Hindu

The residents of Thengaithittu and Uppalam villages have been living with the pollution, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss of illegally dumped garbage in and around the Thengaithittu River and along the main road leading to Thengaithittu for years. An article in today’s Hindu quotes the Municipal Councillor for Ward 39 in Thengaithittu saying:

“Vehicles of both private contractors and the municipality dump the garbage here. The site allotted for garbage dumping is at Karuvadikuppam, but they do not go there owing to the distance factor.”

Pleas to local government authorities to stop the dumping have gone unheeded. The article, by Serena Josephine M, titled “No end to garbage dumping here” reports:

…the officials said it was unauthorised dumping of garbage and private contractors were doing it without the knowledge of the authorities. “We had issued strict instructions to the private contractors not to dump the garbage at Thengaithittu. But they dispose of the garbage during nights,” an official said.

Ah, what can a government do when its own contractors break the law?  And if it is done during the night, how can the government know about it?

Residents have filed complaints, stopped trucks, and even raised money to clean up the mess last year, but the dumping continues. Government officials offer a solution when a Rs. 47 crore (approximately US$ 11 million) proposal for an “integrated solid waste management project” submitted by the Puducherry (Pondicherry) government is approved by the Central government.

No point enforcing the law until you have a more permanent solution in place no matter how long it takes, eh?  Who can blame the contractors for taking shortcuts at the expense of the citizens?  After all, they can save so much more money if they don’t have to drive all the way to the legal dump at Karuvadikuppam.  What’s a little smell, ruined wetland habitat, loss of biodiversity, and mosquito-borne diseases?

Beautiful Pondicherry Awareness Campaign

Beautiful Pondicherry - English

Beautiful Pondicherry - Tamil

Thirty three students from Tagore Arts College, members of the National Service Scheme (NSS), took to Beach Road in Pondicherry on Saturday, 12 January 2008 from 5:30 to 7:00pm to raise awareness among the strollers and revelers about littering, kicking off a student-led “Beautiful Pondicherry” movement. Shuddham, in support of the NSS Students, had a full complement of “beautifiers” who swept the street and sidewalk and emptied garbage cans while the students spread their message in various ways.

Singing Group
Three NSS Students of Tagore Arts College singing their message

The three students above sang a song on litter, composed by Salim, the young man on the right, set to a popular tune. One young man read out a poem; another read out a series of announcements, a group of six performed a mime, and the last group (pictured below) performed a skit.

Drama Group
The drama group after their second performance

Towards the end, the entire group assembled to march en masse down Beach Road, shouting slogans.

At least five local television channels and print media covered the inaugural event – not bad considering an event-packed weekend preceding the Pongal festivities.