Life & Style

Change & the city

Taking green steps at the Kalam Vanam at Coimbatore’s Anna University campus

Taking green steps at the Kalam Vanam at Coimbatore’s Anna University campus   | Photo Credit: M Periasamy

In the last decade, NGOs, corporates and the local administration have increased the city’s wellness quotient with the active participation of its people

The green way

NGO Siruthuli has shown the way in greening the environment and reviving water bodies. Its work so far includes the Kalam Vanam at the Anna University campus on the foothills of Marudhamalai where 80,000 saplings were planted resulting in thriving biodiversity and an improved water table today.

Also across the city are small patches of dense forests created by the Miyawaki method with nearly one and a half lakh trees. At the Central Prison, 10000 more saplings were planted.

Siruthuli believes that it is every individual’s duty to plant saplings, take care of them and ensure greening. It conducts regular awareness programmes at schools and colleges on the environment called Chittukuludan Siruthuli where students learn about conservation. It’s been an ongoing on for the last 10 years and has covered nearly all the schools in the city.

A city runs together

The number of participants at the Coimbatore Marathon has increased over the years

The number of participants at the Coimbatore Marathon has increased over the years   | Photo Credit: M Periasamy

October 6, 2013. That was the first edition of the Coimbatore Marathon and, ever since, the first Sunday of October has been marked as a day when the people of the city turn out in droves to run. There have been seven editions so far featuring three events, the Half Marathon, the 10K and the 5K run/walk. Each year has seen an increase in the number of participants. The first year it was 8,000 and this year there were 16,000 people of which 20 per cent were women.

It all began when Colimbatore Cancer Foundation reached out to Coimbatore Runners, an informal open group of passionate recreational runners, in order to raise funds for cancer awareness. The idea paid off and, since its inception, CCF has raised over ₹ 2 crores, which has gone towards setting up screening camps, counselling, organising cancer support groups and a home-based palliative project called Aravanaippu to serve people suffering from chronic and debilitating illnesses.

The event has inspired people to take up an active lifestyle. Coimbatore Runners that was founded in 2011 organises training programmes for beginners in running across the city enabling them to commit to a healthier lifestyle. Sessions are held four times a week at Codissia, GV Residency, Kovaipudur, Race Course, Sai Baba Colony, Thudiyalur, Saravanampatti and Singanallur.

Retail Therapy

Let’s go shopping

Let’s go shopping   | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

In the last decade, the city has seen three shopping malls come up. Brookefields Mall (2010), Fun Mall (2012) and Prozone Mall (2017). They are the hub of activity; some more than the others.

Brookefields continues to be the most popular and 20,000 visitors come in on weekdays and the 45,000 during holidays. The management is eco-sensitive, has conducted classes to make cloth bags and distributes free bags to its shoppers.

Fun Mall generated excitement but, sadly, things have not gone too well for it. Many stores have vacated its premises and the footfall has dropped. But plans are on to win them back with the inclusion of more cinemas.

Prozone is the biggest in the city (580,000 sq feet) with 140 stores both Indian and international. The Prozone records 20,000 visitors on weekdays and over 60,000 on weekends. There is a fitness corner, a football turf, go-cart and a trampoline park. It plans to become self-sufficient in energy production soon.

Every drop counts

Citizens turned out in massive numbers to desilt and clean the 320-acre Ukkadam big tank

Citizens turned out in massive numbers to desilt and clean the 320-acre Ukkadam big tank   | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

The first lake to be desilted and revived was in 2013. The Periyakulam, spanning 320 acres with a catchment area of 63 sq km, was cleaned by Siruthuli along with public participation. Thirty more lakes leading up to Siruvani have been de-silted.

The happy results are there to see. Earlier, one had to dig 450ft deep to get water. Now there is water at 200 feet. Siruthuli has so far constructed 650 rainwater harvesting structures at public spaces near schools and hospitals. Currently, a team is working on revival of the Noyyal. Farmers are happy as their borewells have water.

Siruthuli has inspired a number of other NGOs too. Namma Navakkarai, 20 km from the city, revived the Oorani water body in Thiruvalluvar Nagar of Mavuthampathi Panchayat. Now, it is full with rainwater. The Chinnavedampatti Lake Restoration Association revived Chinnavedampatti Lake, the only lake in the northern side of the city. The 200-acre man-made water body located near Saravanamapatti was constructed in the 1980s. Kurichi Kulam Paadhukaapu Iyakkam has revived the Kurichi Kulam spread across 328-acres.

It’s a goal

Football makes a comeback to Coimbatore

Football makes a comeback to Coimbatore   | Photo Credit: M Periasamy

At one time, football was at its best in the city. Fans watched the Federation Cup, Santosh Trophy, TFA Shield and other invitation touraments and, along with it, their favourie stars in action. The crowd turned out in large numbers from Kerala and Karnataka to root for their heroes.

Just when everybody thought it was only going to get bigger and better, football went into oblivion. The Nehru Stadium rarely heard the roar of a game in progress.

But in 2017, Chennai City Football Club chose Nehru Stadium, Coimbatore, as its home ground for the Hero I-League and brought the smiles back. A lot of money went into revamping the stadium, but it was an expense well worth it as the sport was restored to its original glory.

The cherry on the cake? Chennai City FC, with the cream of Spanish stars in its line up, emerged the champions of the League last year. On its way to victory, Chennai City beat teams such as Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Minerva FC in front of the jubilant home crowd.

The naysayers wondered about Chennai choosing Coimbatore as its base, but soon changed their opinion as drumbeats, music and approving roars filled the stadium and will continue to do so for several more years.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 3:02:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/five-major-developments-that-have-changed-the-face-of-coimbatore-in-the-last-decade/article30410787.ece

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