Ooty: The Nilgiris Documentation Centre (NDC) has written to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr. Edappadi K. Palaniswami to reconsider the site for the proposed government medical college in Ooty.
Dharmalingam Venugopal, director of NDC, in the letter stated that the huge investment for the medical college could have positive multiplier and acceleration effect for the whole district if it is done with care and planning. The college could propel medical tourism including sports medicine, he said.
The success of the medical college would depend on the site chosen for it. The location chosen should be in a relatively warmer area with convenient approachability from all parts of the district as well as easier connectivity to Coimbatore for complementary and advanced treatment. However, the site chosen to set up the college- cum-hospital now at the erstwhile Hindustan photo films (HPF) premises in the Wenlock Downs area do not appear to fulfill these requirements.
Besides, there appears to be some patently disadvantageous factors.
The site adjoining the golf club lacks easy and convenient approach and accessibility. The site is one of the coldest locations in the district. The temperature regularly dips below Zero degree Celsius followed by severe ground frost during winter.
Lamenting various interferences that have taken place in the 20,000 acre Wenlock Downs in the name of development, Nilgiriologists have observed, "Resource management which does not consider the total systemic impact of development projects may regrettably lead to the destruction of numerous rare and fascinating forms of life".
In view of the above, the TN government shall reconsider the present site for the medical college and constitute a search committee to identify a suitable site for the college, he stated.
‘Present site is viewed as inauspicious’
Mr. Venugopal stated that one reason why most projects on the Wenlock Downs failed or were constantly beset by problems could be the violation of the sentiments and beliefs of the indigenous people.
According to the ‘Badaga - English Dictionary,’ Malladu or Wenlock Downs, the name of the extensive tract of hills and grazing land on the Nilgiri massif stretching some 20-km west of Ooty is the path of the souls after death.
The Nilgiris indigenous communities including the Todas and Badagas believe their souls after death reside in the western part of the Nilgiris.
That is why no habitation was ever established west of Nanjanad.
Therefore, it may be unwise to locate a life-giving hospital and college in what may be considered an inauspicious location in the district....