A year after it was elected to power, city residents say they see no improvement in civic issues

It was with great expectations that the city’s residents voted in the present Chennai Corporation council last year.

On the council’s first anniversary though, people from across the city are unanimous in their verdict: there has not been any significant improvement across a host of issues, ranging from garbage, the mosquito menace, bad roads and delays in the completion of the stormwater drain network.

Ernest Paul, president, Royapuram residents’ welfare association said: “Nothing has changed. The civic body installed enclosures to hide the garbage, but that has only led to accumulation of solid waste and a permanent stench in this area. There are problems everywhere, but officials don’t seem to be taking due care to set them right. For instance, inside the Broadway bus terminus, sewage from a public toilet and stagnant rainwater get mixed, exposing commuters and residents to health hazards.” B. Kannan, a resident of Thoraipakkam, an area that was recently brought under the Corporation, said that when his area was merged, residents of the locality had a lot of expectations but none of them have fructified.

“We had hoped that garbage collection and roads would improve, and street lights would be installed. Now, many residents are thinking of selling or renting out their houses and moving to the city so that they can stay where at least basic amenities are available.”

Even within the city’s core, residents are not happy. “The Mayor is a nice person, and when he was an MLA, his constituency benefited. But now, there is no visible improvement anywhere and if the Corporation has not been able to function this past year we don’t expect them to improve in the future,” said S. Vaidhyanathan, of Kodambakkam.

On Thursday, around 200 residents of Vysarpadi organised a protest by blocking traffic in Sanjay Nagar, as their councillor was unable to solve their civic issues, which included the spread of water-borne diseases. Several cases of such diseases were reported in the area because of water stagnation and mixing of sewage with drinking water.

The police had to intervene to prevent the protest from gathering momentum. “More than 2000 families in the locality are suffering because of water stagnation. Even though the problem is caused because of inadequate Metrowater infrastructure, the Corporation is responsible for dealing with public health concerns,” said K. Ramachandran, a resident.

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