Sunday, August 26, 2012

Urban renewal

There was a time when Chennai had a green lung along one side of Mount Road. Most of the eastern boundary between the Cenotaph Road and Chamiers Road junctions was taken up by the Poultry Research Station (PRS) of the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS). The PRS campus had a few scattered buildings amidst the greenery on its nine-acre campus. The rest of the space was taken up by raintrees, gulmohurs, neem trees and a thick spread of underbrush all around. 

It was a space where herds of chital roamed. Where rat snakes played a daily game of slithering away from a family of mongoose. Where koels, flycatchers, kingfishers, mynahs, woodpeckers and at least 25 other species of birds built nests for generations. Almost all of them have disappeared over the past couple of years, after the land was turned over to the Chennai Metro Rail for its headquarters. 

Once, poultry breeds like the Nandanam Chicken and the Nandanam Broiler were developed here, for use by breeders all over the state (if not all over the country). Now steel rods are being shaped into frames for spans that will carry the metro rail over many parts of the city. Truly a case of urban renewal! 

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