When it comes to civic issues in his neighbourhood, V.S. Jayaraman takes up the fight for residents’ rights. K. Sarumathi reports

He is trouble maker for local authorities and a crusader for residents of his locality. When it comes to civic anomalies, V.S. Jayaraman does not believe silence is golden and vehemently fights for his and others’ rights. A resident of Motilal Street, T. Nagar, Jayaraman says not a day passes without problem, because the locality is right in the centre of the shopping mecca. As the secretary of Motilal Street Residents’ Welfare Association, all complains land on his doorstep and Jayaraman wastes no time in addressing them.

“I meet the local representatives every week with a new issue. I make sure the channel of communication is kept open between residents and the authorities,” he says.

The area regular suffers from overflowing sewerage and Jayaraman blames the shops nearby for the problem. “Tempos come and unload goods at midnight. All textile wastes such as empty boxes, papers carry bags are dumped on our street. The wastes choke the sewer causing it to overflow every second week. I have represented the matter to the officials but every time only a temporary solution is provided to us.”

Jayaraman also regularly exercises his right to information. He has filed RTI pleas on fire safety norms in the shops in T. Nagar. “Every shop here has defied rules. None of them have adequate fire safety equipment. When I took the information collected from the RTI plea to the Fire Safety Department they only issued show-cause notices to the shops and refrained from taking any further action. They say that CMDA and Chennai Corporation must initiate action. When I submitted the report to the Mayor and the CMDA, I got no reply,” he adds.

He believes residents are major stakeholders in all developmental projects and their opinion must be sought before any proposals are mooted. As a founder member of the T. Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association, an umbrella organisation, he along with other members has been fighting to make the streets of Usman Road hawker free. They want the road side vendors to comply by the high court order and move into the complex built by the Corporation. A writ petition will be filed by the association on the issue.

He is also unhappy that residents were not taken into confidence before a proposal to extend the Usman Road flyover was announced. “The residents have been given no say in the matter. The meeting on the project was held on a weekday and no prior information was given to us. We feel side-lined by the authorities,” Jayaraman says, who is convening a meeting today to discuss the issue with residents.

On whether he faces backlash for his activities, Jayraman says “it is part and parcel of my work. Someone must take responsibility without bothering about the consequences. People must stand up for their rights.”

More In: Downtown | Chennai