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News Entry# 287669
  
Dec 05 2016 (07:39)  Danushkodi project yet to take off (www.thehindu.com)
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News Entry# 287669     
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Posted by: rdb*^  126143 news posts
Efforts to give the ‘ghost town’ a makeover still remain a pipe dream
It’s more than a year since the district administration proposed an ambitious project to bring Danushkodi — a once flourishing trading centre that was devastated by the 1964 cyclonic storm — back into the limelight. However, the project is yet to take off for want of funding from the State government.
After the then Collector K. Nanthakumar evinced interest in making the ‘ghost town’ a major tourist destination, the present Collector S. Natarajan wanted to preserve heritage structures and have
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a light and sound show to depict the historical significance of the district, believed to be the land of Lord Ram.
After visiting the site in June last year, the Collector held detailed discussions with architect Asaithambi Gurusamy, who suggested that the remnants of the heritage structures and historical monuments be preserved on the lines of Ross Island of Andaman and Nicobar islands, rocked by the 1941 earthquake.
Soon, he had presented a Detailed Project Report (DPR) — suggesting that the structures be preserved at a cost of Rs. 1.5 crore and the light and sound show with operational and management components set up at a cost of Rs. 1.5 crore with funding from the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department.
The project, however, could not take off immediately as the department felt that the light and sound show at the ‘uninhabited’ Danushkodi would not be viable and the same could be set up in Rameswaram. Deciding to split the project, the Collector had sent a revised proposal for preserving the heritage structures at a cost of Rs. 1.5 crore, sources said.
The architect had then sent the revised DPR, after sending not fewer than a dozen revisions for the preservation project. “We will start the work once the funds are available ,” the sources told The Hindu. The district administration has asked funds from innovation initiatives under Tamil Nadu vision 2023. The Collector, who was very keen on the project, held several discussions with the officials.
As the heritage structures were exposed to vandalism, it was important to begin the project soon, Mr. Gurusamy said. Local vendors were already selling rocks from these structures as ‘floating rocks’ used by Lord Ram to build ‘Ram sethu’, he said.
A portion of the wall of the 300-year-old Portuguese church had recently collapsed in the rain. This could be restored using the same lime and coral reef rocks, he added. Besides, the 13th century temple believed to be a Subramaniya Swamy temple, some colonial structures, the railway cabin, the semi-circular arch and a hospital without roof would also be preserved under the project.
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