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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Marina Swimming pool to go private !!

The sandy shores of  ‘Marina beach’ known for its  pristine beautiful sandy shores -  runs from Fort St George to Besant Nagar. This beach has a long history.  This was conceived in 1884 and christened by Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant-Duff, the then governor of Madras – the beautiful beach  is famed for the  ambience and rich eco system though it  stands a lot polluted now.   On the road side, many stone statues, some of them installed during the Tamil World Conference adorn the area.  It keeps people healthy, providing the right ambience for the early morning walkers and those spend their evenings enjoying the sea-breeze, especially in sweltering summer.

At Marina, one can hear the sea, the sound of waves  and nearer – the  waves jumping and touching the shore and then submitting themselves to the shore but trying to comeback to conquer again ! would be very interesting sight  – One  can see monstrous  ships anchored in the middle of sea, some fishing boats and Sun coming out as a red ball from the Sea – all great sights to behold.  To those given to enjoying Nature, the morning at Marina  provides innumerable things.... down here, there are only 3 seasons – hot, hotter and hottest – though nearer sea, it would be lot pleasant in evenings. 

A swimming pool, [paddling pool or simply a pool], is a man-made structure filled with water intended for swimming or other water-based recreation. A pool can be built either above or in-ground, some on top of buildings, in hotels  and even on luxury ships.  The "Great Bath" at the site of Mohenjo-Daro in modern-day Pakistan was most likely the first swimming pool, dug during the 3rd millennium BC.  Ancient Greeks and Romans reportedly built artificial pools for athletic training.  Swimming is an important Olympic sport.
This one at the 8th floor rooftop – you can see the backdrop !

Enabling people cooling down, there are two swimming pools along the stretch—the Marina swimming pool and the Anna swimming pool. The Marina swimming pool situate opposite to PWD/ Presidency College, was built in 1947 -  100m long and 30m wide, bigger than the standard Olympic pool size.  It not deep – around 5.5 feet but for a small portion of diving pool of 9 feet, which is not operational now.   The Anna swimming pool opposite the clock tower building of the University of Madras remaining partially hidden has two pools – one used a diving pool in earlier days and the other swimming with varying depths.  

Remember that in 1970s  Anandhan [VS Kumar Anandhan from Velvetithurai, Ceylon] attempted a Guinness record at Marina pool, water treading [floating continuously]  for 3 odd days.  We witnessed him at Marina floating on water.  Anandan achieved many other feats including a record two-way swim from Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka to Dhanushkodi on the Tamil Nadu coast. He passed away in attempting to swim the English Channel in 1984.

The  first South Asian Games [SAF] were held at  Kathmandu, Nepal in 1984 and have since been held every two years except for some occasions.  In 1995, it was held grandly at Chennai.   During that time, infrastructure was created – we have the SAF village near Koyambedu and the Aquatic complex in Velacherry.  The Complex was built  at a cost of Rs.11.32 crores. 4000 spectators can watch aquatic events in this complex which consists of one 8-lane racing pool of 50m x 25m, one Diving Pool of 18m x 25m and one Warm up Pool of 25m x 25m, all conforming to international standards.  Besides these facilities, one fitness centre and an indoor hall for gymnastics are also available in the complex.

Chennai has some other swimming pools too – in Savera, Woodlands, and many other hotels.  We have heard of ‘bleach’ which refers to a number of chemicals that remove colour, whiten, or disinfect, often via oxidation.  The bleaching process has been known for ages, but not the same chemicals have been used earlier.  Chlorine is the basis for the most commonly used bleaches, and many people commonly call calcium hypochlorite as the bleaching powder.  Bleaching chemicals and chlorine are often used in water in pools to disinfect and keep it clean.  This at times can cause eye-irritation too.

Marine pool having been maintained by PWD would at times be not in great shape – for a few years now, there have been many coaching instructors who hire and teach their wards, the way to learn swimming.  TOI Chennai Edition today reports that  Marina swimming pool will from now be maintained by a private operator. Corporation of Chennai handed over the pool following an ‘e-auction’ that concluded last Friday. The auction started at Rs.35 lakh and the winning bid was Rs.45 lakh.

Because of summer vacation, the pool will remain open to the public for longer hours: from 5.30am to 8.30pm.The same charge of `15 per hour will apply and it will continue to be free to students of corporation schools. The revenue from entries will, however, go to the private firm and not the corporation. The firm has been asked to provide facilities such as lockers and swim wear, which are chargeable. The primary revenue, however, will be through advertisements. “We have demarcated space on walls inside and outside the pool building, which the private operator can let out for ad revenue,’ said an official of the corporation. About 150sqm outside the pool and 75sqm inside will be demarcated for the operator. “Corporation will use 50sqm of this space to display our own announcements,” he added.

To participate in the auction, all firms had to deposit Rs.5 lakh. The private firm will now pay Chennai Corporation Rs.45 lakh every year, which will increase by 5% annually . The contract is for three years. Based on its performance, we will take a call on renewing the contract for two more years, the civic official said.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st May 2015.

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