Ooty: When the state is all set to celebrate the birth centenary of ‘Bharat Ratna’ MGR on January 17, residents here recalled the humane face of Chief Minister MGR who made an indelible mark in the minds of an earlier generation of people, when he visited the hills during November 1978 to inspect the flood-hit areas and console the families of victims.
The deluge on November 4 that year was one of the worst ever flood which Ooty hills ever witnessed, old-timers recall. Surprisingly MGR chose to walk upon the slush to reach certain houses in the Greenfields and Old Agraharam areas, which bore the brunt of the fury of the floods then.
Recalling the days of distress in November 1978 and how then Chief Minister MGR stepped up relief works and laid the plans for widening the Kodappamund channel running in the heart of Ooty, Mr T. Subramani, popularly known as “Nagara Mani”, former town secretary of the AIADMK here, said that just after the floods that turned the hills upside down, MGR landed in Ooty and walked through the Commercial street and visited a few houses in the Greenfields area to console the families of the victims as many persons died in the flood.
“On reaching Walsham road, which was full of slush and rubbish, MGR wore a gumboot to walk upon the slush to reach a few houses on the corner of the road. It took everybody by surprise. Then he addressed an all-party joint council meet and hailed the setting up of such a council crossing all political barriers. He patiently heard the suggestions from the political party representatives and instructed the officials to do the needful”, Mr Subramani added.
K. Babu, who was around 17, when MGR visited the flood-affected areas, said that MGR patiently heard the grievances aired by the families affected by the flood and assured them of all help. The quite a few hours he spent in Ooty showcased his care and concern for the people and exhibited how a Chief Minister should run to the help of the people at the time of distress.
N. Mohanraj, adviser of WWF-India, who is a resident of Greenfields area, said that only after MGR’s visit, relief works began to move at a faster pace and he instructed to widen the Kodapamund channel, which was the root cause for flooding the town then, he noted....