East Coast Road runs through the heart of five village panchayats and a town panchayat.

Starting from Kottivakkam, ECR passes through Palavakkam, Neelangarai, Injambakkam and Uthandi Village Panchayats and also through Sholinganallur town panchayat and supports a huge population.

The five village panchayats were part of the St. Thomas Mount panchayat union and were brought within the existing Chennai Corporation, when it was expanded earlier this year.

Interaction with a cross-section of residents in these village panchayats revealed that they were hardly satisfied with their local bodies. Be it water supply, condition of roads or street lights, collection and disposal of garbage, the condition of amenities was far from satisfactory.

Basic infrastructure and the development of ECR had hardly brought about any positive change in the quality of lives of people here. Increasing intrusion of seawater and contamination of local water sources had a disastrous impact on the quality of water supplied to residents, pointed out K.Indra of Injambakkam.

The roads in Injambakkam are among the worst in panchayats along ECR. With the mushrooming of new residential pockets, panchayats have been unable to cope up with the demands of residents.

Residents concede that the taxes they paid to the panchayats were low.

The Buckingham Canal separates Rajiv Gandhi Salai from ECR and in the absence of proper bridges at regular intervals, connectivity between these two stretches is a major problem for people. Disposal of garbage is an acute problem as vast open spaces adjacent to residential pockets have been converted as dumping yards in Palavakkam and Injambakkam.

While officials from the panchayat union have given priority to ensure implementation of solid waste management projects in other villages around Tambaram, they seemed to have ignored village panchayats along ECR and even Rajiv Gandhi Salai, said K. Lokesh, a government employee living in Palavakkam.

Even projects under the Total Sanitation Campaign, successful in villages such as Vengaivaasal and Mudichur among others, were yet to arrive in their localities, he added.

Keywords: civic amenities

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