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Marshland shrinks

Good morning, Chennai!

☁️ Today’s weather: Generally cloudy for the day.

🧐 Did you know? The East Coast Road (ECR) was previously known as Vadagaperuvazhi. It was the route used during the Chola period to connect the kingdom to places in Thanjavur and Andhra Pradesh.

🌊 Shrunken marshland

(Image credit: Vinoth Selvaraj, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

A new report has highlighted the shrinkage of the Pallikaranai-Velachery marshland.

What’s it about? A report by the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) of India has shown how the growth of slums and other encroachments has shrunk the Pallikaranai-Velachery marshland and polluted the waterbody.

  • The report used spatial data from 2005 and 2021 that showed an indiscriminate growth of slums and houses. The marshland which is a Ramsar Site has shrunk thanks to a 191-acre dumpyard where 2,000 tonnes of waste are dumped daily.
  • It has shrunk from 5,500 hectares in 1956 to about 550 hectares in 2023. Compared to the 2005 map, the water-holding area of the marshland in 2021 is full of houses.

Report’s broader information: The CAG report stated Chennai saw a 92% increase in untenable slums between 2014 and 2018. It also said the number of untenable households in these slums increased by 74% to over 1 lakh houses.

🌊 Glow in the dark

(Image credit: Dr TRB Rajaa’s X post)

Visitors to beaches along ECR witnessed a magical blue glow in the water.

What’s it about? People visiting beaches along the East Coast Road (ECR) witnessed a blue glow on the water’s surface. Some residents saw these in the evenings when the waves glowed.

  • Observers said it was happening for a few days at the Thiruvanmiyur and Palavakkam beaches at around 8 p.m.
  • Many residents have seen the ocean sparkle a little, but in the most recent sighting, the glow was more prominent.

What’s the science? While there could be several reasons, the most likely is due to upwelling. It’s an oceanographic condition where nutrient-rich waters from the seabed come to the surface. It could also be due to bioluminescent organisms that come up to the surface.

⚖️ Judiciary’s digital transformation

(Image credit: Subhashish Panigrahi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

IIT Madras and the Supreme Court have signed an MoU to facilitate the digital transformation of the judiciary.

What’s it about? The Supreme Court and IIT Madras have signed an MoU to facilitate access to justice and an efficient technologically advanced legal system.

  • The apex court and IIT Madras will collaborate on technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and transcription tools to summarise page transcripts, translation tools, and possible streaming of court trials.
  • The agreement will also broadly focus on capacity building and training, creating e-learning platforms and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills development courses.

For the future: Under the leadership of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, the court is looking to enhance the use of technology to make justice more accessible and citizen-centric.

👩🏻‍💻 embedUR’s expansion

The software systems maker embedUR will invest in the state, with Chennai as an important location.

What’s it about? The US and Chennai-based embedUR has committed to invest ₹500 crore in the state over the next five years. The company wants to expand its India operations and sees Chennai as a strategic location.

  • The company will spend ₹100 crore next year to strengthen its expertise in AI and cybersecurity. It is looking at more market outreach and hiring more people in Chennai.
  • It currently has 350 people in the city, with plans to increase that to 400 by the end of 2024. According to its founder and CEO, Rajesh C Subramaniam, Chennai has the potential to become a Global Embedded Systems hub.

About the company: embedUR was founded in 2004 and makes software products for embedded systems like healthcare devices, smart meters, and smart automobiles. The company has over 100 clients, with Fortune 500 companies among them.

✨ Things to do…

Here are some fun and interesting things to do in the city over the weekend!

🛋️ Local Lounge

Yesterday’s Poll Results:

  • I would prefer to live in a high-rise apartment: 50.0% 🏆
  • I wouldn’t prefer to live in a high-rise apartment: 50.0% 🏆

Answers to Yesterday’s Question:

Which is your favourite board game?

Suchi: “Monopoly”

Chitra: “Scrabble”

Kavi: “Chess”

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend!

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