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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

celebrating Indian Independence - buildings illuminated

Visitors to Chennai for sure, would be captivated by the winding road along the beach – Kamarajar Salai aka the Beach Road that has  Marina beach too  .. .. there are so many statues, of which our hero Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar stands infront of a famous red building.  

Mount stuart Elphinstone Grant Duff, the governor of Madras from 1881 to 1886, conceived and built the promenade along the beach in 1884 by extensively modifying and layering with soft sand. He also gave it the name Madras Marina ~  since the early 19th  century, a number of public buildings were constructed fronting the beach.  That beautiful building infront of Mahakavi statue is that of PWD (Public Works Department).   It  is the oldest department in Tamil Nadu, founded during British Raj during 1800. It became a government body in 1858.  The Public Works Department is entrusted with the construction and maintenance of buildings for most of the government departments and public undertakings, and the construction of bridges, roads, and infrastructure.  

The Public Works Department of Tamil Nadu  was established in the year 1858 by Lord Dalhousie has corssed 150 years now.  The  department has over the years, undergone several structural and organizational changes to be in tune with changes in the political and administrative systems and with pace and orientation in the developmental activities.  The Madras Public Works Department was formed in the year 1858 under one Chief Engineer with three Inspecting Engineers, twenty District Engineers,       seventy-eight Executive Engineers and Assistant Engineers, two hundred and four Upper Subordinates and seven hundred and fourteen Lower Subordinates. The revival of "Coodimaramut" or unpaid village labour of ryots was brought about by legal enactment.  Through the years of evolution, the administration of the Department and the Engineering Services in general has been well streamlined.  

During the post-independent period, on account of enormous developmental schemes under the Five Year Plans and remarkable increase in the construction activities, it was necessary for the Public Works Department to shed some of its responsibilities to be taken over by independent organizations and this necessity started even as early as in 1946.   

The Public Works Department through its long innings of 150 years has created invaluable capital assets including irrigation infrastructure in the form of dams, reservoirs, tanks canals etc. A few of these are the Dams, Reservoirs and anicuts like Mettur, Bhavani, Manimuthar, Amaravathi, Vaigai, Parambikulam, Sathanur, Palar, Ponnai, Tirukoilur, Srivaikundam etc; Buildings like Presidency College, University Senate House, High Court, Madras Law College,  District Courts, Collectorates, Hospitals, etc. and other monumental buildings.   

Ahead of the Independence Day,[Azadi ka Amrit Mahothsav]  monuments and landmark buildings across the country, such as the Parliament House and Gateway of India, have been  illuminated with colours of the National flag of India. 

It was interesting to see this evening,  PWD department too decorated with tri-colours and illuminated with lights !  

Sir Mokshagundam Vishweshvaraya KCIE, FASc (1861 – 1962)  the brilliant engineer,  the man behind Krishnaraja sagar dam, 19th  Diwan of Mysore, recipient of Bharat Ratna, knighted as a Knight Commander of the British Indian Empire (KCIE) by King George V for his contributions to the public good,  took a job with the PWD of Bombay and later was invited to join the Indian Irrigation Commission. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Aug 2022. 

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