Year-ender: Smashing 2018 headlines of Chennai

Chennai: It was a year of highs and lows, triumphs and losses for Chennai. Here are top news that made headlines in 2018.

Metro Matters
It was a good year for Chennai Metro with news of completion of phase-I being the highlight. Once the line from AG DMS to Chennai Central opens to the public, commuters would be able to take a trip around Chennai starting from Airport – Chennai Central – Koyambedu – Alandur and back to Airport. This year, CMRL also took many steps to increase commuter patronage like introducing feeder services and free health camps that have yielded positive results.

Nilam Engal Urimai
Talks about Cooum river restoration have been around for more than half-a-century and several thousand crores of rupees have been allocated and spent on it, according to the government. However, the ground reality is that many people who have been living along the banks of the river for generations have been evicted in the name of Cooum River Eco-Restoration Project and shifted to housing tenements in the suburbs, far away from where they earn their daily bread.

According to reports, over 6,000 families, with almost half of them having children, have been evicted for the Integrated Cooum River Eco-Restoration Plan in the middle of the school year. But up until today, there seems to be no visible progress in beautifying the Cooum.

Kodambakkam Area Vote-u Ketu Variya
The year 2018 will be remembered as the year of Kollywood actors entering politics left, right and centre. First was Ulaganayagan Kamal Haasan who launched his ‘centrist’ political party – the Makkal Needhi Maiam. It was followed by his friend and superstar Rajinikanth – who seems to be oriented slightly towards right-wing politics – announcing his intentions to contest elections and is soon to launch his own TV channel.

And, among the gen-Y stars is Vijay, who has been making leftist political statements in all his recent movies. If political teaser released by our stars from Kodambakkam are any indication, 2019 is going to be a blockbuster.

Chennai Super Kings
What a year it was! The boys in yellow (more like dads in yellow, going by the jokes on the Internet) were back and how?! Overcoming fitness issues, injuries, age and protests that shifted all matches barring the first outside Fort Chepauk, the Chennai Superkings – the pride of Madras – prevailed to lift the IPL 2018 trophy. Dhoni Army is back to show who is the boss of IPL and not just ‘ee saala’ (this year), all saala cup namadhey.

 

End of an era
The doyen of Tamilnadu politics, if not India, M Karunanidhi, breathed his last 7 August. He was one of the great thinkers in Indian politics who held the kingmaker mantle after Kamarajar. His influence extended beyond politics. He was a social reformer ahead of his times and his love for Tamil and efforts played a major role in Tamil being declared as a ‘Semmozhi’. The nation and the Tamil diaspora around the world mourned the death of the ‘Muthamizh Arignar’ who has left a lasting legacy and a huge void in leadership in Tamilnadu politics.

Trains and safety
Four commuters travelling on the footboard of a suburban train died and 10 others suffered injuries when they hit a concrete fence along the tracks at St Thomas Mount station in Chennai 24 July. The incident put a magnifying glass on the lack of safety measures in local trains.

Crimes galore
Chennai was always considered safe for women. But the city’s good reputation was put to shame by the horrific crime that came to light in July of a 11-year-old girl with a hearing disorder being gang-raped by at least 22 men for over 7 months. The perpetrators were treated mob justice when they were thrashed in the Madras High Court by enraged lawyers.

 

 

A Harsha Vardhan