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Readers' Mail

A sacrilege

Sir, — After a long time, I recently visited `Chithirasabhai' in Courtallam, one of the five temples sacred for the Saivaites.

The herbal colour paintings depicting the events from the puranas and epics drawn on the inner and outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum are said to be 2,000 years old.

However, some mischievous people have scribbled on the pictures.

Pujas are performed to Lord Natarajar, but not as per schedule. The water in the tank was shallow.

It is better to hand over the maintenance of these monuments to the Archaeological Survey of India. Even during the Courtallam season, only very few people visit the temple.

The Tourism Department should give due publicity to the temple by publishing pamphlets.

V.S. Sankaran,

Madurai.

`Manju virattu'

Sir, — `Manju virattu' (bullock cart race) held in villages should be banned.

The poor animals are beaten up brutally, and some of them bleed. Sometimes, they are given arrack.

This inhumane sport should not be permitted in a land where the sage Arul Prakasa Vallalar was born. The media and NGOs such as the Blue Cross Society and the People for Animals should highlight these cruelties.

Will the Government do the needful?

R. Chandrasekaran,

Madurai.

Water scarcity

Sir, — The northern parts of Madurai has many irrigation tanks such as Chokkikulam, Bibikulam, Alankulam, Kosakulam and Naganakulam.

Concrete structures have been erected on these tanks. The Koodal Azhagar Temple tank on Town Hall Road and the Prasanna Venkatachalapathy Temple tank on Azhagarkovil Road have dried up, and are used as dumping yards.

Despite frequent rain, the groundwater level has not improved. The city roads are flooded with water tankers, and the sale of water has become a profitable business.

The permanent solution to the city's water scarcity is to supply water by desalination.

The desalination plant may be installed at the ancient port of Thondi, or at any other place near Madurai. Will the Government consider this suggestion?

S. Balakrishnan,

Madurai.

Tax panel

Sir, — After the High Court vacated the interim stay on the collection of deposits for the underground drainage scheme, the Corporation has started collecting Rs.5, 000 from each household and Rs.10, 000 from each commercial establishment.

Besides the deposits, a uniform maintenance charge of Rs. 600 is collected every six month.

Another kind of `betterment' tax is to widen the bunds of the Vaigai and broaden the roads running parallel to the bund.

No one will grudge paying taxes to the civic body; but there should be a method of levying taxes.

Hence, an advisory committee comprising the Mayor, the Commissioner, the Health Officer and representatives of the Chambers of Commerce and welfare associations should be formed to recommend taxes, in tune with the requirements of the projects. This will certainly help to alleviate the sufferings of taxpayers.

M. Ratnasabapathi,

Madurai.

Sand transport

Sir, — Lorries carry sand for constructions in the city from far off places. There is a Government Order that sand should not be transported in vehicles without cover. Yet, lorries transport sand without tarpaulin. Such vehicles pose a lot of risk to vehicles that follow, especially two-wheelers. This is a common sight in Teppakulam, Anna Nagar and K.K. Nagar.

Will the authorities concerned take action?

R. Jawaher,

Madurai.

New subject

Sir, — The report, `Introduction of new subject criticised' ( The Hindu , June 16), seems to suggest that environmental studies is introduced for the first time in Madurai Kamaraj University.

However, it is a compulsory paper in the sixth semester for all B.A. classes. The syllabus is comprehensive, and good textbooks are available.

The proposal for the introduction of environmental studies in the second semester as part IV was approved by the Academic Council and the Boards of Studies in March, 2004, and all the colleges were informed of the proposal even before the university examinations began in April.

The syllabus is exhaustive, and the textbooks are prepared by famous authors.

But the real problem is how to fit the paper in the weekly schedule of 30 hours.

At least six hours a week are needed to teach the subject. The university has to fix the modalities at the earliest.

Similarly the university should form a panel of experts to bring out a standard textbook.

A. Subramanian,

Rajapalayam.

Madurai.

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