Will Cooum ever become Thames of Chennai ?

Sunset, Chennai

Sunset over Cooum River at Chennai

Cooum River was the pride of Madras with its clean watercourse, once upon a time According to Wikipedia “The name of Cooum appears to be derived from Tamil Literature. The word “coovalan” denotes a person who is well versed in the science of hydrology. ” It is likely, that the River Cooum might have derived its name from such a usage.

According to one estimate 158 sewage canals are let into the Cooum. According to a report , Central Environmental Ministry under the National River Water Protection Scheme had sanctioned Rs 325.25 crore to Tamilnadu Government for cleaning them.

When the DMK Govt came to power for the first time in 1967, Cooum beautification project was taken up. I remember the Tourism Department providing boating services and there was a restaurant at the banks of the Cooum adjacent to the Anna Swimming Pool (Is it being used now). Earlier there used to be a stink when we cross the Cooum River over the Iron Bridge. Now it doesn’t seem to be there. Or have we got used to it? Even a visiting Mayor of a foreign country donated a Fountain to Chennai Corporation which was installed in the Cooum River and functioning for some time. Even now the idle fountain could be seen in the Cooum River.

The encroachment on the banks of the Cooum River by unauthorized construction caused the city to be flooded during the last year rains and the Government has taken steps to remove these unauthorized constructions.

Now a park is developed close to Cooum River after Iron Bridge and a Fountain installed as we enter the Sivananda Salai from Iron Bridge.

Though a tidy sum appear to be allotted for cleaning the rivers at Chennai, there does not seem to be any visible activity towards beautifying the Cooum.

Will Cooum ever become Thames of Chennai ?

7 Comments so far

  1. sln (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 2:27 am

    Its the dream of every Chennai-ite but likely to remain so. Though the govt. is promising to make it a reality under the Chennai city river conservation project (treating the sewage before letting it in Cooum n remving the slums elsewhere), it doesnt look like it will be enough.


  2. Kumar Appaiah (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 7:31 am

    The least we can do is not to pollute or litter our city to the extent possible, and avoid the use of plastic and the like. After all, it is the waste we generate which ends up in rivers like Adyar and Cooum, right?

  3. visithra (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 10:11 am

    wow what a pretty shot

    i tell ppl if u must throw – throw it on roads not on the waterways or sea – as water tends to drag em in n the waterbed gets polluted – roads are cleaned daily – they should do the same to beaches

  4. Lavanya (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 12:28 pm

    I agree with Kumar that the Chennai citizen has a part to play in keeping the city clean.

    @Visithra: I’d tell people if you must throw, go find a dustbin first and use it. It is sad that a lot of us think it okay to toss around waste in public space. The general line seems to be “the govt. does not do much cleaning anyway, so why should we bother” but how can any govt. keep the city clean if the citizens do not help them with the effort?

  5. Sankar (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 7:12 pm

    Something has to be done about cooum. It could serve as a very good medium of public transportation. In a day where the traffic crunch is on the rise, such steps would really ease the traffic.

  6. Kingsley (unregistered) on April 10th, 2006 @ 2:08 am

    வாய்ப்பே கிடையாது. மண் அள்ளிப்போட்டு ஆழ புதைச்சாத்தான் உண்டு.

  7. Kingsley (unregistered) on April 10th, 2006 @ 2:09 am

    It would actually be a better strategy to go pollute the Thames till it becomes worse than the Cooum.

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