Residents disappointed over slow development of extended areas in the western suburbs.

An impressive number of resident welfare associations in the western suburbs welcomed the decision to reconstruct the 52 wards of the Ambattur Municipality as 15 wards of the Chennai Corporation under Zone 7. They hoped that the change in status would lead to an increase in infrastructure facilities. They could not have been more mistaken.

After two years, these residents are finding it difficult to hide their disappointment over how things have panned out.

Each of the areas under Zone 7 – which include Ambattur, Padi, Korattur, Mogappair, Anna Nagar West Extension, Athipet, Mangalapuram, Pattravakkam, Karukku, Menambedu, Kallikuppam and Pudur – is plagued by a different set of problems. Delays in execution of under ground drainage project and water supply improvement are among issues that have daunted administrators.

“Solid waste management has not seen any major improvement,” says V. Rajagopal of Anna Nagar West Extension. While welcoming road improvement works and street lighting, he said a sports facility in Officers Colony is another unfinished work. “Desilting of storm water drains was not carried out to prevent water overflowing on roads, which would cause damage to the new road surface,” he said.

Almost every household in Ambattur depends on borewells and water cans for drinking water. Metrowater released a statement claiming that it had finished laying pipelines in Ambattur and Maduravoyal at a cost of Rs. 290.38 crore. “New pipelines have been laid for water supply and drainage, but they have not been connected to homes and apartments as yet or to the main lines running through Ambattur," says S. Kesavan of Padikuppam.

K. Seshadrinathan, president of Krishnapuram Residents Association in Ambattur, said being united with the Chennai Corporation has not helped speed up the underground drainage project, which started in 1999. Condition of interior roads still remain the same, he pointed out.

North Park Street, South Park Street in Ambattur OT, Paari Salai, Valayapathi Salai, Church Road, Thiruvalluvar Road in Mogappair West, Park Road and Officers Colony Main Road have been relaid after completion of pipe-laying work. But, still more roads need repairs.

V. Shanthilal of Pudur Main Road complains that sewage lorry operators demand Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1500 per trip for clearing sewage from septic tanks. “In certain localities, residents dig trenches to let out waste water,” he said.

According to Chennai Corporation sources, the water supply works and drainage work would be completed before this year end. The roads are being readied on a priority basis after completion of pipe-laying works, they said.

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