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20 May 2019, Edition - 1406, Monday

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Coimbatore

Sesquicentennial of the Nilgiris celebrated

D.Radhakrishnan

Udhagamandalam: On the anvil for the last few weeks the sesquicentennial celebrations of the Nilgiris were set in motion by the Tamil Nadu minister for Local Administration and Minister in-charge of the district S.P.Velumani here on Monday.

The celebrations began at the 144 year old Breeks Memorial School with a tree planting ceremony as the institution had come into being in memory of James Wilkinson Breeks the first Commissioner of the newly formed district in 1868.Following his death in 1872 steps were taken to gather subscriptions to raise a memorial to him,in the shape of a school.It started functioning in 1874.

The unveiling of a plaque by Mr.Velumani to mark the commencement of a programme to renovate the school also marked the occasion.

Later at a function organised at the Research Centre for Tribal Culture (RCTC) the Minister unveiled a ‘Nilgiris 150’ logo.

Addressing the gathering,he highlighted the uniqueness of the hill district and announced that henceforth it will be known as an ‘Organic farming’ district.Adverting to a plea made by an earlier speaker,he said that the state government would reiterate to the central government its demand for inclusion of the Badaga community of the Nilgiris in the list of Scheduled Tribes.

The Nilgiris Collector Mrs.J.Innocent Divya who presided sought the assistance of the government to preserve heritage buildings in the hill station. Referring to a proposal costing rupees five crores submitted to the government for beautifying the Ooty lake,she hoped that it would be cleared early.Pointing out that the district was medically backward,she urged the government to establish a medical college here. Mrs.Divya added that the bus stands in Coonoor and Ooty were in need of urgent attention.

Earlier Reverend Philip K.Mulley,a historian explained how the Nilgiris was formed.He acknowledged in particular the contribution of Mr.John Sullivan,the then Collector of Coimbatore who in 1819 had helped draw attention to the Nilgiris which was then a part of Coimbatore.

As part of the launch International day of indigenous people was also celebrated.

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