Chennai

Cooum snippets



The Cooum stinks! Oh, really?

“Stinking cooum” cries the title, in a revelatory tone. In the first-person account that follows, one R. Premsingh writes, “I wish to draw the attention of the Corporation authorities to the stinking smell emitted by the Cooum river.”

Mr. Premsingh continues, “It has been there for the past four days and nothing has been done so far to clear it or to reduce the smell.”

From what he writes, it appears this smell is restricted only to a section of the Cooum, “running parallel with the railway lines between the Stanley Viaduct bridge and Fort Station.”

Mr. Premsingh finishes his account with “May I request the authorities to take speedy action in this matter?” He believes the task is as easy as rolling off a log.

Is this an excerpt from a work of fiction? Not one stinking bit.

It is taken from a letter Mr. Premsingh wrote for one of the ‘Letters to the Editor” columns of The Hindu in 1953.



Take the plank out of your eye, brother

In 1956, the Corporation was convinced that the Penitentiary was responsible for the growing pollution of the Cooum river. Its sullage mechanism was causing the problem, the civic body maintained. When the issue was raised in the Legislative Council, M. Bhaktavatsalam, then the Minister of Agriculture, acknowledged that the Corporation had made a representation to the government. 

The government had acted on it and made an inspection, he said, and revealed the findings that were published in  The Hindu : “The sullage water of the jail was collected in a cesspool and used for the jail garden; a rare and negligible overflow alone went into the river. It was also noticed that there was a big storm water drain opening into the Cooum. This drain, which belonged to the Corporation, entered the jail premises underground at a point opposite the Ripon Buildings and the contamination caused through this drain had been mistakenly attributed to the jail drains.  The Commissioner of the Corporation of Madras had reported that the sewers in Poonamallee High Road were surcharged during peak hours and there was a flow of sewage into the storm water drain.” The Corporation was actually guilty of what it accused the Penitentiary of. 



Madras Week: Thus Spake Cooum

>Celebrating Madras Week

Over years, Chennai’s own river, the banks on which Madras arose, 376 years ago next week, has meandered on, stoic in the face of the assaults on it.

>Madras thrived on her banks

A group of history enthusiasts has brought a fresh perspective to the image of the river.

>The scene of great battles

A city grew on the banks of the Cooum, but did you know that they have been sites of the clash of civilisations?

>For them, Cooum is not synonymous with sewer

The Cooum, as strange as it might sound to some, still remains a lifeline to many villages in Tiruvallur district.

>Cooum snippets

In the first-person account that follows, one R. Premsingh writes, “I wish to draw the attention of the Corporation authorities to the stinking smell emitted by the Cooum river.”

>Cooum: Madras' engine of growth

Nearly everything that was and is notable in the city took root along my banks, from the houses of the powerful to the centres of commerce

>Staving off the sewage threat in Cooum

Chennai Metrowater seems to be trying to actualise the big dream of cleaning Cooum river through small steps.

>What's in a name?

A group of history enthusiasts has brought a fresh perspective to the image of the river.

>When crocodiles swam free in Cooum

If you walked by the Cooum about a 100 years ago, you may just have spotted the Cooum crocodile

>Cooum: High tide of artistic expression

From cinemas and bookstores to theatre performances and architectural marvels, I have witnessed this great city reaching new creative heights over many decades.

>Chennai Corporation to play a key role in Cooum makeover

Following a resolution by the Chennai Corporation Council this summer, the civic body is set to do a study on the restoration of heritage landscape along the Cooum river.

>On Islands Grounds and the Cooum

Do you know that Island Grounds owes its name to the Cooum?

>

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 7:42:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/cooum-snippets/article7549424.ece

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