Sunday, November 9, 2008

Getting back

Was away overnight on a bird-watching camp organized by the Madras Naturalists Society and conducted by my namesake, Dr V.Santharam. The camp was just outside Chennai city - actually I guess the place we went to would fall within the boundaries of Greater Chennai. I had a great time getting to know the ABCs of bird watching - and then going out on to the field and spotting 27 species of birds (that's just the ones I saw; the more experienced birders had over 50 species on their lists).

Coming back into the city, we headed in on the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR); or, what was earlier called Old Mahabalipuram Road. It was renamed Rajiv Gandhi Salai sometime ago and the 20km stretch from Madhya Kailas to Siruseri was formally dedicated at the end of October 2008. The next phase of activity on this road, to complete the Siruseri - Mamallapuram stretch and some connecting roads between Rajiv Gandhi Salai and the East Coast Road is expected to take another year to complete. Though towns like Tiruporur, on the OMR, list themselves as being on the IT Highway, it will take a while before Rajiv Gandhi Salai begins to look like a highway at those points.

In a month or so, the toll plaza at Siruseri will be functional - today, just after we entered the IT Highway at this point in Siruseri, we casually breezed through the yet-to-be-functional toll booths. I believe that's how the villagers along this part - and several other parts too - of Rajiv Gandhi Salai will pass through, even after the toll collection is implemented!

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