They patrolled the area when night patrolling was at a nascent stage and no policemen were deployed for the neighbourhood. They cleaned streets when the contract period of the conservancy workers came to an end. There have been many other instances where Annai Indira Nagar Residents Welfare Association taking the lead. And today, thanks to this , Annai Indira Nagar is a better place to live.
Off Velachery Main Road, this colony has a good mix of semi-independent houses and apartments. What is striking is that a majority of the streets are named after stalwarts such as Kamaraj, Netaji, Avvai, Bharati and Vanchinathan. Twenty-one such streets come under the jurisdiction of the Association.
“It was our founder Ramaswamy Iyer’s initiative to give a different name to every street. Corporation had objected to the move to have different names but we resisted it,” says S. Sampath.
The Association office is where members meet once a month to talk about old days and new problems.
“We had to walk a few kilometres to buy milk as the closest milk booth was on Velachery High Road. That is when we decided to form an association,” recalls S. Kumararaja, vice-president of the Association.
Later they fought for water, drainage and storm water drains. By the mid-1990s, the locality got drainage network.
“In 2000, when Metro Water was working on giving Velachery water connection, we made things easy for the department by coordinating with every resident (there were 400 families then),” says Lenamohan.
Although they were regular in representing issues concerning Velachery, members say many of their grievances were met as they were good at following up. “We regularly attend grievance redressal meetings as senior officials were part of such sessions,” says Kumararaja, who is also secretary of Federation of Velachery Residents Welfare Association (East). Their biggest victory was identifying the OSR lands in the colony, for which they went to court. On one such land, now stands a temple maintained by the Association. Their other achievements are pooling in money to provide a link road from the colony to Perungudi MRTS station and conducting glaucoma camp for which they have tied up with Shankar Nethralaya.
Ration shop for the colony and small bus plying via Annai Indira Nagar connecting Velachery to Taramani are some of their demands.