The Woodlands Drive-in Restaurant has a special place in every Madarasi’s heart especially those born up until the 1980s even though it is long since gone. In its place now we have ‘Semmozhi Poonga’ – the public park. The hotel was taken back by Tamil Nadu government after lease expiry of 99 years. It sat at the very heart of the metro. Chennai’s rosy ’60s, ’70s and ’80s centered around Woodlands Drive-in, a favourite hangout for lovers, college students and celebrities alike.
How many pictures were filmed in the Woodlands. My parents’ wedding reception was held in the lawns of the very same hotel in the year 1966. Nostalgia. I have been to the restaurant a couple of times no more, after it lost its glory. Probably the owners or lessees lost interest in the business as the date of handover drew closer.
Very recently, the Anna Nagar Tower Club was also taken over by Chennai Corporation after the lease period was found to have expired. The case was dragging for years as the club membership is very impressive.
Wow wow, what an honest coverage here by TOI and the Hindu. Wonder how then they are keeping quiet about the churches in India, especially Tamil Nadu. Selective amnesia. The leases expired for most or all the cathedrals, churches in Tamil Nadu (and even mostly in entire India) that are over 100 years old because, the British always entered into lease agreements for 99 years, never opting for title deeds on ownership. Then why when Woodlands drive-in restaurant could be taken over by our government, the cathedral opposite the same restaurant with expired lease (most definitely) is not making headlines. Why no media is covering them.
Well, someone is sharing my opinion.
If the churches cannot vacate. let them buy out the real estate properties – mostly prime properties of acres and acres worth thousands of crores by today’s standards – who is stopping them. Or let them pay the market rate as rentals and extend the lease by every 11 months as is normally done in India for any commercial lease. As of date. most of them are illegal occupants or squatters who can be vacated without a notice.
How was Hong Kong taken over by China. The British handed over Hong Kong in silver platter to China after the expiry of the lease period of 100 years. Now will BBC do a cover story on illegal occupation/squatting of churches and cathedrals for free in Indian metros and through out India.
Let every single Indian share the information and let us make this a sensational movement. Let them pay for the lease at least, clearing the balance overdue. It is high time the churches and madarasahs in India are audited. Why Stalin, Vaiko, Seeman, Thirumurugan Gandhi, Actor Vijay are not asking for handover of church lease to government or renewal upto date. Every Hindu should make this a mission to publicize the news. Why is none moving the court. Should only Subramanyam Swami do it every time?