Mounds of garbage, dimly-lit streets are enough to worry residents of KK Nagar, Managiri

Ward 44, comprising mainly KK Nagar and Managiri, is Madurai’s crucible that holds the rich and famous, alongside the poor and working class. The prefix, ‘KK,’ for the Nagar refers to two famous personalities of the State. When it was formed, after people dared to move northwards beyond Sathamangalam, it was christened Kalaignar Karunanidhi Nagar. Later, it was changed to Kalaivanar Krishnan Nagar. But KK Nagar has transformed into a bustling residential area from a sleepy developing locality, catered by only a few city buses till the 1980s.

“The ‘elite’ tag for the area does not reflect in the maintenance works carried out though,” says P. Amutha, a resident near the Mahatma School.

She is for a better system in place for garbage collection as the streets are filled with heaps of garbage on the flanks on most of the days.

Residents of independent houses point to the stray dog menace on the dimly lit roads as adding to safety concerns.

“There is not much of vehicle movement in the area after 8 p.m. and the streetlights don’t work on most days which makes it extremely unsafe,” states L. Shanthi.

While the ward boasts of a sprawling Vandiyur tank, water woes continue to stalk the residents.

The Malligai residential complex, which has 166 apartments, is forced to buy as many as five tankers of 12,000 litres each daily.

“While the corporation supplies water only once in four days, we have been forced to buy water from outside to meet our daily needs and are paying triple the maintenance charge as a result,” a resident from the complex says.

Oorani cries for restoration

The situation is not any different on the other side of the ward as residents battle infrastructure problems. Water problem continues to plague the residents of Managiri with groundwater level having gone below 800 feet in many houses.

K. Jeyaraj says that the Managiri ‘oorani’ could be desilted and converted into an effective rainwater harvesting structure to help overcome water scarcity.

“The oorani has become a garbage dump and poses a health hazard since it attracts mosquitoes. When it rained a few weeks back, water stagnated there adding to our woes,” he says.

Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), a stormwater channel has been constructed from the ‘Aavin’ junction to the Apollo junction in the ward to help recharge groundwater.

The channel, however, lies choked with sewage and plastic and the residents have urged the corporation to carry out cleaning work before the monsoon sets in.

Students of the Madurai Corporation Primary School in Managiri sit under asbestos sheet in a single room. The residents say that the school, which has classes one to five, has a poor strength of 35 students.

“The asbestos sheet has made the room very hot and many parents are hesitant to send their children here since they fear that it can cause health problems. We have sent numerous representations but no renovation work has been carried out,” a staff member says.

The school, which is functioning since 1969, also has a crèche which under the Integrated Child Development Scheme on its premises with over 25 children from Managiri and surrounding areas. The crèche, which functions in a single room, also has an asbestos roof.

Area still favoured

Despite the concerns, real estate agents explain that people seldom choose to move out of the area as there is good connectivity to the Mattuthavani bus stand and other city hotspots.

“There have been very few people who have chosen to move out of the area in the last decade or so. We are, however, finding it tough to sell plots here since it costs around Rs 3,000 per square foot,” says C. Machakalai, member of the K.K. Nagar Real Estate Sangam.

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