Former President of the United States of America Bill Clinton was here yesterday… well not here really– in Nagapattinam actually, one of the worst hit Tsunami regions. Here’s what I heard from a member of the press unofficially…. “The local population of Nagapattinam couldn’t care less who or why he was coming….two hundred plus journalists from every corner of the country landed there a full day earlier to witness a half a half hour visit and no exclusives by Bill…. we all cracked clinton jokes for the next night and caught up with the news…. you know gossip about wives, beds, money and so on….”
In the meantime, the local municipal authorities had repaired a bridge between the fishing hamlet of Amudaipettai and Nagapattinam a week in advance of Clinton’s arrival. They also managed to spray, fumigate, burn rubbish and step up on Tsunami operations in the region. The bridge in question has an interesting story. It connects the trade nerve centres i.e. the marketplaces of these two hamplets via a half km long rickety rotting wood structure. A local civic action group filed a PIL at the local court two years ago after successive monsoons and accidents caused eleven people to fall into the dirty sewer like arm of the sea below and die.
The case has been on hold ever since. Bill Clinton’s arrival changed the scenario- the brige now has iron and concrete reinforcemenents and looks oddly out of place in the hamplet. Some good things come of Clinton’s visits. Maybe we should keep him ….Apparently it is only the promise of boot-licking that can prompt governmental action here!