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Reporter's Diary

Potholes on city roads have been posing a big threat to road-users. Instead of re-laying the roads, the civic staff dump debris to fill up potholes. They don't even bother to get them levelled with the help of road-rollers. Their practice is to let vehicles do the job. This can be dangerous. A ready example of this is School Road, Tirumangalam, a busy road teeming with school children. The poor illumination in the area adds to the problem.

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Citizens are demanding more buses and services, but the Metropolitan Transport Corporation seems to be looking at the other way. A corporation official says it is for passengers to bring to the notice of authorities notice violations by crew for action as the "field level supervisory officers cannot be present at all places at all times". The other day, the crew of a bus (route 18 K) which left the Parrys bus stand on Esplanade Road with just three passengers, took a short-cut to reach the Dental College junction, instead of the regular NSC Bose Road and Flower Bazaar route. The crew skipped the Central Station bus stop also and reached the Periyar Bridge stop via Munroe Statue. The crew was totally unmindful of the sufferings of commuters waiting at the Flower Bazaar and Central stops, particularly during the festival season. The corporation's reaction: the matter would be looked into.

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If `Samskrit' translates as culture then at Mambalam Samskrita Vidyalaya's golden jubilee celebrations, a visitor was witness to India's tradition of seeking blessings from elders. Children who won prizes in the Sanskrit sloka recitation contest organised by the school received their prizes from Richard D. Haynes, United States Consul-General in south India.

Quite a few children fell at Dr. Haynes feet when called to receive the prizes. At a time when this custom is questioned by many, the children's action showed that some people still adhered to traditional values.

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Despite the most stringent police action, one problem eludes a solution. And that is two-wheeler riders using mobile phones on the move. Some two-wheeler riders are even stopping in mid-traffic to talk over the cellphone, causing inconvenience to other road-users. A reader from West Mambalam suggests that in addition to penal action, television channel and cinema hall owners can be asked to regularly insert slides highlighting the danger of `talking and driving'. Awareness coupled with action can help, he suggests.

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Another point about mobile phones. The ring tones! The other day, a retired civil servant had something to say about the film tunes used as ring tones in mobile phones. He noted that a senior advocate, R. Gandhi, used Mahatma Gandhi's favourite song "Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram" as his mobile phone tune. Perhaps this could help one vehicle to promote Gandhian ideals, was the gist of the ex-bureaucrat's remark.

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(By K.T. Sangameswaran, R. Sujatha and T. Ramakrishnan.)

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