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October 4th, 2016, 10:31 pm Top
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While with overgrown weeds and broken equipment, many of Madurai's parks cry for attention, the Vandiyur park stands out. The neatly maintained park has pathways for walkers and even equipment for exercise.
A group of walkers had come together 30 years ago to develop the park adjoining the Vandiyur tank. The public works department (PWD), which controls the park, initially allowed the group to set up a walking path and even let them grow flowering plants to beautify the place. However, soon, like any other government initiative, they refused the permission and the park once again became neglected.
That was when the people who used the park regularly, came together to form the Walkers' Club. So eager were the walkers to maintain the park -- which they consider their own -- that they never looked for funds from the PWD and did it themselves. The fact that 340 trees, planted by them in the last four years, are all standing tall proving shade to the walkers is a proof of their dedication. There are two areas named North 99 and South 77 where the trees are flourishing due to the nurturing by the walkers.
Walkers' Club president AAG Rajkumar says that the club has close to 1,000 registered members who pay an annual subscription of 300. "There are over 1,000 non-registered regular walkers also. The paver block paved path helps the young and the old to walk with ease in the 2.25 kilometre stretch around the park. As some of the walkers prefer walking on a sandy path, we are going to set up a separate walkway for them," he told TOI.
The club is also planning to plant another 250 trees at the park, for which they are collecting donations from the walkers. Most of them are willing to pay 1,000 per tree. "When we plant a tree, it becomes a tree, which stands tall, because it is not done for the sake of planting," Rajkumar said. "We will use an earthmover to dig pits for planting trees. The pits are filled with organic manure and river sand before planting the trees, which are at least five feet tall at the time of planting. We maintain the trees for two years, a period during which they have to be taken care of. Hence, it costs so much per tree," he reasoned.
An exercising equipment donated by a private hospital has been installed at the park, which both women and men use regularly. "This is as good as going to a gym. The equipment are really good for weight reduction," said Rani, a walker. There is also a concrete platform, which enables walkers to conduct yoga sessions.
The park also has its share of regular shops, which sell organic products, healthy soups and greens.
While, most of the members are conscious about depositing garbage in waste bins, they also clean the premises one a fortnight to keep it clean. "Uprooting juliflora bushes is also done in a regular basis," Rajkumar said.
The collective has turned into a social club, where the members meet regularly, celebrating festivals and going on trips with their families.
This park incurs a daily expenditure of 1,000, the treasurer of the club, N Sethuraman said. However, he is not complaining. "'We have proven that we can do it. It gives us a lot of pleasure to be able to make a difference in a public place like this, for the benefit of thousands," he added.

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November 26th, 2016, 11:17 pm Top
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Barbeque nation restaurant going to open in Milan'em mall food court. Dominos second outlet coming up near to Hero motors at Bypass road.

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December 3rd, 2016, 3:12 pm Top
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Bell group of hotels is setting up what looks like a restaurant on containers

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