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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Regularising shops in Marina beach; Venice to become 'no new kebab shops'

Are they eye-sores or means of livelihood ! ~ how would you view that ? – hygiene anyway would go for a toss. 

To the visitor Marina beach [often touted as the second longest beach of the World – factually not so – and that never takes away its credit] and its pristine beauty offers solace, especially from the sweltering heat.  The sands of Marina provide chance of pleasant times – a few decades ago – there was the Radio beach –  behind the Kannagi statue stood ‘Seerani Arangam’- the Thilagar Thidal place on which so many meetings were held.  Opposite to Presidency College, there was a promenade – a  radio kept on a pedestal, people would gather around to hear ‘maanila seithigal’ – the news in Tamil. There used to be many shops selling sea-shells, conches, and more – and of course lot of food ~from cut mangoes, sugarcane juice, murukku, thenga-manga-pattani-sundal and bajji shops [a particular shop run by an old lady – mami bajji shop  was pretty famous]

Often there are talks about regularizing shops in Marina ~ sometimes they would be banned and would reappear in a week or so.  Even recently, regularisation of shops at Marina beach was intensified  with heavy machines being used to lift and shift the shops. Chennai corporation officials say the shops are planned to be settled in seven rows and add that such raids will be conducted at regular intervals thereafter to discourage new shops coming up.   Marina as could be seen in old films – boats beached with lovers sitting around – for the others – ‘thengai manga pattani sundal’ & ‘kai murukku’  were the hits.  There is also the view that t as hawkers are spread out across the beach, incidences of chain-snatching and harassment are much less !  This year, the corporation took up the issue following repeated complaints from  regular beach-goers and a few NGOs, on the mushrooming of new shops during summer months. These shops came up on the pavement or on the sands of Marina preventing walkers and fitness enthusiasts from carrying on their routine, they claim it to be.

Miles away, Venice is known as the 'City of Canals' and the 'Floating City' - and it can now add another name to that list: 'City of No New Kebab Shops'. Local authorities have banned new fast-food outlets, including those selling kebabs, from opening in the romantic tourist destination to 'preserve Venice's cultural heritage'. The new law, which came into effect recently, also sets a limit on the number of shops which can sell slices of pizza.

'We want to put the brakes on types of activities which are not compatible with the preservation and development of Venice's cultural heritage,' said Paola Mar, the city's tourism chief, according to The Guardian. She added that the Italian city did not object to kebabs or fast foods in principle, and stressed she did not have a problem with people eating outside. 'The problem is that with a tourist city like ours, there is a risk of it losing its identity. There are local products that we must try to promote,' she continued. To discourage tourists - who visit in their millions each year - from eating takeaway food in hotspots, Mar said there were plans to establish picnic areas.

However, Artisanal ice cream will be exempt from the new rules, as it is a firm favourite of the city's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro.   Quite simply, artisan ice cream is ice cream made by an artisan which the dictionary definition of artisan being a ‘skilled craftsperson’. Delving a bit deeper in to the dictionary tells us that a crafts-person is some one who makes things skilfully by hand. Although now-a-days, ice cream makers do not plunge their hands in to a bowl to make their ice cream, the artisan makers certainly do take a very ‘hands on’ approach using all the skills that many have learnt from many, many years making ice cream with recipes and techniques often handed down from one generation to the next.

An ice cream parlour in Rome which charged British tourists £54 for four cones in 2013 took out a newspaper advert justifying its high prices. The Antica Roma gelataria charged brothers Roger and Stephen Bannister and their wives the sum when they stopped at the outlet near the city's famous Spanish Steps. When the unlucky tourists complained, they were told the cost would have been double if they had eaten their gelatos at a table instead of standing up. One Rome councillor called the prices ‘a scandal’. The family complained about the cost to a national newspaper - reigniting a debate over high prices faced by tourists in parts of Italy. But the firm responded by taking out a full page advert titled 'the price is right,' in which it justified the cost of its products.

Last November, the Mayor of Florence was sued for $20million (£15m) by McDonald's after he refused to let them open one of their restaurants in the shadow of the city's famous Duomo. The American fast-food giant wanted to open an outlet in the Piazza del Duomo, deep in the heart of renaissance Florence. But the Mayor, Dario Nardella, told the city council earlier in 2016: 'McDonald's has the right to submit an application, because this is permitted under the law, but we also have the right to say no.' Mr Nardella's decision was upheld by a panel of conservationists who are in charge of preserving the city's most historic areas. But the company, which has more than 36,000 diners around the world and is worth $37billion, did not accept his ruling.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

13th May 2017.

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