This week I travelled for a colleagues marriage at Neyveli. Neyveli Township is located at about 200 KM South-West of Chennai, on the road from Chennai to Tanjore at about 24 KMS from Panruti. We started in my car around 6:15 AM and reached Neyveli around 9:15 AM, we had stopped on the way near Maamandur for Breakfast for about 20-30 Minutes. The national highway up to Dindivanam was excellent and we could go do top speeds of 120Kms/Hr with most of the time around 90Kms/Hr.
The township owes its existence to the Coal/Lignite mining work carried out by Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC). The history of NLC can be seen here – with the first site of PEAT around 1828 and forming of NLC and mining around 1956. Almost everyone in the township seems to be working in NLC or supporting industries. This led to me think about what will be the future of these folks post the availability of fossil fuel. I think Government of India needs to plan for the eventuality – though the chance of fuel exhausting may not be in the next few decades. Neyveli is a barren land, not conducive to large-scale agriculture, so one possibility is to encourage knowledge-based and service based industries in Neyveli. We can follow examples of Dubai, which till a decade back was dependent only on Oil for its existence, has today become more and more of a Shopping City. Neyveli can also promote tourism, by charging good monies to take on a trip to old mines which are safe for tourists or make it as a museum city educating people on energy/fossil fuel and likes.
On returning we deviated to Dindivanam-Pondicherry Road for about 20Kms (one-way) for a darshan of Panchavady Panchamuga Anjaneyar Swamy. The idol was really tall. Anyone travelling this side, especially to Dindivanam or Pondicherry should make it a point to visit the shrine.