Residents of Sembakkam town panchayat near Tambaram are upbeat over their elevation as a municipality.

On Tuesday, minister K.P. Munusamy made an announcement in the regard in the Assembly. Sembakkam is only the fifth municipality in the city’s southern suburbs and the eighth in Kancheepuram district.

Staff and elected representatives at the town panchayat’s office in Kamarajapuram were overjoyed. “This is recognition of our efforts to provide the best services to our residents,” said G.M.R. Santhakumar, the local body chairman.

“It is an extremely proud moment for the administrative machinery and it would not have been possible without the excellent co-operation extended by our residents. This will only make us more committed and inspire us to work harder towards implementing some of the long-awaited projects like the underground drainage and water supply improvement schemes,” Mr. Santhakumar said.

Proactive administration

Officials at the directorate of town panchayats said the selection of Sembakkam among 18 other town panchayats in Kancheepuram district was made after taking into consideration the norms of the department of municipal administration and water supply.

Tambaram, Pallavaram, Pammal and Anakaputhur are the other municipalities in the city’s southern suburbs. (Alandur was merged with the Chennai Corporation in 2011.) The other municipalities in Kancheepuram district are Maraimalai Nagar, Chengalpattu and Madurantakam.

There were 24 town panchayats earlier, and five among them, Perungudi, Sholinganallur, Pallikaranai, Meenambakkam and Nandambakkam, were merged with the Corporation in 2011.

Factors such as ‘proactive’ administration that included novel initiatives such as mass cleaning, better maintenance of amenities and creating new access to remote areas were also taken into consideration, an official said.

Along with the hamlets of Rajakilpakkam and Gowrivakkam, Sembakkam was a village panchayat till its elevation as a town panchayat in 1984. Spread over 6.27 square kilometres, the town panchayat’s population was 21,492 as per figures of the 2001 census.

It more than doubled to 47,700 as per the census of 2011. The annual revenue of the town panchayat touched Rs. 5 crore, an important factor that aided its status elevation, the official said.

Problems remain

Sembakkam, like other urban and rural local bodies, has its share of problems. Residents, while welcoming the elevation of the local body’s status, said hygiene has taken a severe beating not only in the newly-developed and expanding areas, but also in traditional hamlets.

Many parks were left neglected and connectivity between some of the pockets and Tambaram and Velachery was not satisfactory. Street illumination too had to be improved, the residents said.

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