I do not normally look for PM's itinerary, when I open the newspapers in the morning. But today the news about the change in the itinerary of our PM, took my memories back by 25 years. PM Mr. Singh arrives at Neyveli to take part in the golden jubilee celebrations of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC)
Neyveli used to be in our minds, as school students. Not necessarily for its lignite deposits or the artesian wells. But for the school Jawahar Vidyalaya, the only CBSE school of those days in and around Cuddalore. The students of Jawahar Vidyalaya were looked at, with a bit of green in the eyes, by the other school children of the then South Arcot district (now Cuddalore district). Jawaharians used to be associated with cerebral stuff. . . We, students from Cuddalore, competed with them in all quiz, essay and oratorical competitions. (After one such competitions, a student of the school described about the autocrat principal, who whipped the boys and scolded the girls in public, snatched the ice cream from the hands of the kids, when the 12th class students were seen with one, after school hours, we started looking at our school teachers with more respect!)
The school got its name from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Neyveli Lignite Corporation shares its birthday with that of Panditji (Nov.14)
The district level competitions used to have questions on the places within the district. This only industrial town in the district has a few trivial info. It is the first lignite-fired Thermal Power Station in South East Asia. It houses the first boiler to be cleaned by hydrofluoric acid and many more.
It is said(!) that NLC also supplies a large quantity of sweet water to Chennai, from the artesian wells in the lignite mines. Of course, Chennai must be getting drinking water from all possible sources, to cope up with its legendary water scarcity.
Even if it is not sweet water, Neyveli's neighbourhood town Panruti supplies the sweetest jackfruits. My dad used to say that he was leaving for Neyveli on an official trip, if he went for buying a jackfruit on a holiday in summer. Once the jackfruit is in, even the neighbours can't resist asking my mom, "Oh you got the season's jackfruit?" The spread of smell (fragrance?) used to keep me away from home for a long time. But on returning for dinner, I could not resist having a cupful of jackfruit pieces!
It is really sweet of the Govt to approve the modification in the NH67 in Dec.2005. It will now connect Kumbakonam and Sethiathope - Neyveli Township, Vadalur, Panruti and terminate near Vikravandi on NH-45. Such industrial towns with cultural places closeby should be well connected so that tourists can make a round trip experiencing different characters of the cluster of towns. Neyveli, for instance has a few places like Vadalur( famous for 'Thai poosam' festival and Ramalinga Vallalar, who wrote the sacred hyms 'Thiru Arutpa' and Srimushnam (famous for Bhuvarahaswamy temple) and a little away, Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Pitchavaram (mangroves) to club with, for a sight-seeing package tour.
Let's us have a tourism itenerary for this place.
This is exactly what came to my mind on seeing PM's itenerary!