Narrow roads, heavy traffic, air and noise pollution, poor quality of water and unsanitary living conditions are issues

The Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency is going to witness an interesting tussle between the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate P.Vetrivel and his erstwhile colleague P. K. Sekar Babu, who is now in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

The constituency has acquired greater prominence in recent times as Mr. Sekar Babu, who was elected twice on the AIADMK ticket from the constituency, switched over to the DMK a few months ago. Mr Vetrivel, who is the treasurer of the north Chennai unit of the AIADMK was a councillor of the Chennai Corporation and is contesting the Assembly election for the second time.

Mr Sekar Babu is contesting for the third time from R. K. Nagar, where no candidate has won more than twice. He is banking on his familiarity of the area, which comprises small traders, fisherfolk, daily wage earners and slum-dwellers, and on his easy accessibility. .

Narrow roads, heavy traffic, air and noise pollution, poor quality of drinking water supply and unsanitary living conditions are issues across the constituency, which is sandwiched between Tiruvottiyur and Royapuram and located adjacent to the Chennai port.

A frequent complaint of many residents of the constituency is the quality of drinking water.

Some say they have been getting sewage-mixed drinking water through pipelines for the past four years.

K. Selvi, a resident of H.L. Nagar, which houses the tsunami-affected families, says that they no longer trust the quality of piped water and instead have started purchasing water cans. The price of cans, Rs.25 each, makes a huge dent in the household budget. “My husband, who is a mason, earns only between Rs.100-150 a day and the expenditure on drinking water is an additional burden,” she says.

Another major complaint of the residents is the air and noise pollution due to the movement of heavy vehicles from and to the Chennai port. It also poses risk to the motorists.

H. Kannan, a resident of Nedunchezhian Nagar, Tondiarpet, says that often all arterial roads — Tiruvottiyur High Road, Suryanarayanan Street and Erukkanchery High Road — are choked with heavy vehicles making it difficult for other road users.

Some residents of H.L. Nagar and VOC Nagar say that while some of them have got the free gas stove and connection, the free colour television sets were yet to be given. R. Vijayakumar, a resident of H.L. Nagar, says the quality of the buildings constructed for the tsunami-affected people was not up to the desired level. As many as 900 families inhabit the place.

People residing on either side of the railway tracks in New Washermenpet, Korukkupet and Tondiarpet, complain about the slow progress of the Korukkupet overbridge project. M. Arumugam, a resident of police quarters in Korukkupet, says “a large part of our time is wasted by waiting at the level-crossing gates of Korukkupet and Tondiarpet.”

Residents are also concerned at the rising prices of vegetables and food items and the poor quality of rice, pulses and provisions supplied by the ration shops.

However, residents are happy about the improvement in electricity supply and healthcare facilities. B. Sayeeda says: “My daughter underwent a surgery for a heart problem, and all expenditure was borne by the government [under the insurance scheme].”

Chennai Corporation has taken steps to lay cement roads, construct/renovate school buildings and stormwater drain, the residents say, adding that hygienic and free public conveniences are lacking.

The Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency comprises nine divisions of the Chennai Corporation. They are: Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar North (Division 3), Cherian Nagar North (4), Jeeva Nagar North (5), Cherian Nagar South (6), Jeeva Nagar South (7), Kumaraswamy Nagar South (8), which is divided into three parts, Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar South (10), Korukkupet (11) and Tondiarpet (14).

The total electorate of the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency as per the final rolls published on January 10, 2011, is 1,85,107 of which 92,155 are men, 92,927 women, and 25 others. The constituency has a total of 218 polling booths.

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