Tirunelveli Town

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Tirunelveli in 1908

This section has been extracted from



Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts.Many units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.

Chief town of the District and taluk of the same name, Madras, situated in 8° 44' N. and 77" 41' E., on the left bank of the Tambraparni river, 446 miles from Madras city by rail. It is the largest town in the District, but the adminis- trative head-quarters are at Palamcottah, on the opposite bank of the river.

The early history of the place is not of much note. About 1560 it was rebuilt by Viswanatha, the founder of the Naik dynasty, who also erected many temples in it. The chief shrine at present is a large building dedicated to Siva, which is beautifully sculptured and contains many inscriptions. Mr. Fergusson considers {^Indian and Eastern Architecture, p. 366) that, though this is among neither the largest nor the most splendid temples in Southern India, it has the rare advantage of having been built on one plan at one time, with- out subsequent alteration or change.

The population of Tinnevelly rose from 24,768 in 1891 to 40,469 in 1901 (of whom 34,664 were Hindus, 4,998 Musalmans, and 807 Christians), and it ranks eighteenth among the towns of the Presi- dency. It was constituted a municipality in 1866. The municipal income and expenditure during the ten years ending 1902-3 averaged Rs. 36,500 and Rs. 34,900 respectively. In 1903-4 they were Rs. 58,700 and Rs. 59,700. The chief sources of income are the house and land taxes, and tolls. Its limits extend to the bank of the river, but the main town is more than a mile and a half dis- tant and the water-supply is inadequate. A scheme for furnishing both Tinnevelly and Palamcottah with drinking-water from the Tambraparni has long been under consideration, but financial and other difficulties have prevented it from being matured. The drain- age of the town is also faulty. A proposal has recently been made to combine the two municipalities, in order to facilitate the under- taking of large public works for their common benefit. There are two second-grade colleges for boys in the town, one of which, the Hindu College, is managed by a local committee, while the other is maintained by the Church Missionary Society. An industrial school is kept up by the District board. Near the Tinnevelly rail- way station are the jaggery (coarse sugar) warehouses of a European firm, from which jaggery is sent by rail to their distillery and sugar factory at Nellikuppam ; and two sugar factories under native manage- ment. The latter, however, owing to financial embarrassments, are not at present working. There is also some timber trade in the town, the wood being brought down from Shencottah in Travancore.

Waste segregation/ 2017

Dipak Dash, Tirunelveli first to have 100% waste segregation , March 6, 2017: The Times of India

It took barely a few months for Tirunelveli municipality in Tamil Nadu to achieve the feat of achieving 100% segregation of waste at source across households and establishments. It involved securing undertakings from each household to segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, campaigns though TV and local radio channels targeting housewives and roping in religious leaders and NGOs.

The city, with a population of 4.8 lakh, achieved this at a time when other cities are either weighing the risk of failure before starting any ini tiative or considering imposition of penalties on erring residents. The Tirunelveli model can be easily adopted by other cities.

Tirunelveli, which has around 1.6 lakh households, took up this challenge in April 2016. However, an intensive campaign started only on October 2, taking cue from the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, which make it mandatory for all waste generators to segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste before disposal, and hand over the segregated waste to authorised waste pickerswaste collectors. Delighted at Tirunelveli's achieve ment of becoming the first Indi an city to achieve 100% segregation of waste at source, municipal commissioner S Sivasubramanian told TOI, “Our sanitation workers went to each house, collected an undertaking from each of them saying that they will segregate waste at home. We distributed two waste bins to every household.I wrote personal letters to each house to make this a success and we made public announcements using loudspeakers across the city for two months.“

He said they were surprised to see that only eight households did not segregate the waste after they kicked off the initiative. “We collected Rs 10 per household as service charge for this. Now, everyone is complying with the change. What we realised is that people will do their bit if we in the administration take required steps,“ the commissioner said.

While biodegradable waste is collected every day , non-biodegradable waste such as plastic is collected every Wednesday . Sivasubramanian said all municipal staff were deployed only for “outdoor duty“ on Wednesdays, which meant no one was in office on that day .“Everyone reports to duty at 6am and all senior officials lead this initiative,“ he added.

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