Except where stated all links relate to the activities of MGM Group:
1996-98:Early interactions by individuals regarding PA systems and earthmoving work
Early,2003:Arumuga Chettiar is framed for protesting encroachments
Feb18 to May,2003:The Indian Oil party on temple lands, a protest,a promise but no relief:
Jul12 and 17,2003:"A Grand party" on temple lands till 2.00 am,with full police bandobust:
Parties galore at the Green Coconut Resort, across the road:
1996-98:Back to Index
Earliest recorded complaints we have of noise begin in 1996. These interactions had been at individual level as the current members of ECCO had not come together or formed their association. While D V Sridharan had gone and met Mr M G Muthu personally, Navaz Currimbhoy was calling in and writing by registered post, copies of which are with us now.
Letters were sent by registered post, dated Jan16,1996, May19,1997, Jun21,1997 and Jun6,1998. These relate to noisy parties and fireworks from the MGM Beach side resort, announcements and amphitheatre music from the DizzieWorld Amusement Park and night-long work by earthmovers along the beach that were shifting sand from the sea, to create a lawn on the temple lands.
Fishermen were alarmed at the alteration of the shore geography because they feared sea erosion in their village because of it. They protested during day time, but MGM began to work after midnight.
On Jan18, 1996 Mr Sanjeev Yash Roy of MGM, replied [to letter of Jan16] briefly saying he would look into the matter. But there was no change in the behavioural pattern.
Early,2003:Arumuga Chettiar is framed for protesting encroachments:Back to Index
Arumuga Chettiar is a respected elder of Karikkattu Kuppam in Muttukkadu village. The village has its own ancient, traditional form of governance. For instance, every New Moon Night, the village gathers to discuss all outstanding issues. The village has its own panchayat and members are unanimously appointed to it.
Alarmed by MGM's encroaching the traditional temple lands, cutting trees on it and preventing villagers from worshipping on it as they had traditionally done, Chettiar presented a petition on Jan5,2003 to the Deputy Commissioner, Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments [HR&CE], Kancheepuram. He also petitioned the Madras Court with a Writ and the Chief Minister's Special Cell. His plea was that the Nagalathamman Temple lands had been leased to MGM for the enjoyment of tree produce only, but that they were altering the landscape, cutting many of the original trees and putting it to impermissible commercial use. He wanted that those who leased it be punished and the village be awarded Rs.5 lakhs as compensation.
As the wheels began to move, MGM struck back. Its manager Mr Subrata Banerjee filed a complaint against Chettiar at the Neelangarai Police Station on Jan22,2003. Banerjee said that Chettiar and a gang of villagers has descended on his Resort in a drunken state harrassed his guests, demanded money and threatened that they would come back again. They were also alleged to have tried to sell arrack to the resort's foriegn guests. Police registered it as complaint No.38/2003 on Jan23,2003, and took five youngmen from the village to the police station and beat them up.
Based on that police complaint against 'Arumugam and anti-social elements of his village entering the resort and threatening the guests', MGM's counsel Mr S T Mathi of Anna Nagar, Chennai has filed a case against Arumuga Chettiar in the Chengalpattu court.
Feb18 to May,2003:The Indian Oil party on temple lands, a protest,a promise but no relief:Back to Index
A party for Indian Oil/Indane dealers began mid afternoon on Nagalthamman Temple lands organised by MGM Quality Inn Beach resorts. Announcements, music etc became unbearable even during day time, with high ambient levels. Neighbours kept calling MGM and finally Mr Subrata Banerjee, an irritated Gen Manager, told Navaz on the phone:"Complain to whoever you want. I can do nothing about it." Navaz was was not then aware but Banerjee was fresh from his success in framing Arumuga Chettiar. The party finished at 1am with noisy fireworks.
Navaz sent a protest letter next day and on Mar22,2003, Yash Roy and Don of MGM paid him a visit at Currimbhoys' shop. They elaborately apologised on behalf of Banerjee and for the inconvenience and promised to stop all late parties within 4 to 6 months, once the current bookings were over.
Parties however continued throughout May and June despite the four month deadline having come and gone. There were parties on May17 [till 12.45am], May18[11.50pm], May28[11pm], Jun10[11.45pm], Jun11[1.45am]. Repeated calls to MGM brough no response though staffers Ram Mahadevan and Antony were very polite with promises, unlike Banerrjee.
Realising that the menace has to be fought jointly citizens of Muttukkadu got together and started the East Coast Citizen's Organisation [ECCO]. A website was begun in March,2003 to co-ordinate the campaign. ECCO began to study all apects of environmental damage, including noise. MGM was sent a set of papers detailing the laws of the land.
Jul12 and 17,2003:"A Grand party" on temple lands till 2.00 am,with full police bandobust :Back to Index
This was the mother of all parties on the temple lands so far. Neelangarai Police Station was requested by MGM, to provide bandobust and they were present in full force. The noise was unbearable. Repeated calls to the Police met with bored responses. Finally a Sub Inspector wanted to know what was our problem as the MGM party was entirely within their campus. When asked if every citizen could blast the neighbourhood with speakers on his own rooftop, he weakly replied that he would 'do something". The noise however went on unabated ti 2am.
Several citizens with a few children visted Inspector Arumugam at Neelangarai. He was polite, pleaded ignorance of law, apologised on behalf of the SI, received and receipted our written complaint and promised that it will not happen again.
Well, it happened again soon enough on Jul,17. By 9pm when it bacame unberably loud, Navaz and Sridharan went over to meet Inspector Arumugam and ask what action he was going to take. He reluctantly sent SI Jayakumar along, who insisted on an elaborately circuitous route to arrive at MGM. When finally the party of three arrived on the temple lands, 10 feet high speakers were being hurriedly dismantled and loaded into a van. The SI dawdled some more, shouting at workers.
A meeting followed at the MGM office where M G M Anand and the Gen Manager, Satya Prakash were present. The meeting lasted over an hour in the presence of the SI. Prakash held up the hotelier association handbook and declared he was aware of the laws and that he was taking all steps to enforce them. "Today's show was only a rehearsal to test noise levels and that it would recur ever again". The SI promised to get a written undertaking from MGM to that effect. After a week of repeated contacts with hime, he decalred that getting such an undertaking was, "beyond him."
Parties galore at the Green Coconut Resort, across the road:Back to Index