M.G.R. Nagar residents breathe easy with provision of electricity

It is a matter of shock and surprise that M.G.R. Nagar located near the Alpet check-post in the heart of Cuddalore town has got electricity after 33 years. All these years over 100 tenements in the area went without power at great hardships.

The forbearance of the residents is quite laudable because despite facing several miseries such as frequent snake bites and threat from poisonous creatures that used to slither from the sprawling farms of the sugar cane research station of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in the vicinity they put up with the inconvenience with great fortitude.

As their wards used to study with the help of kerosene lamps at least on two occasions the huts had caught on fire killing two students. Other than the dim glow from the street lights the households constituted by daily wage workers could not boast of any other illumination.

The unusual fallout of such a sorry state of affairs is that the residents have faced the stigma of living in the dark patch of the town. It has acted as a deterrent for other families to enter into marriage alliance with the M.G.R. Nagar residents.

Thanks to the initiative taken by Environment Minister M.C. Sampath the area has now got electricity.

It may be noted that all these residents were earlier displaced from the Uppalavadi area when the road widening work was taken up. Even though the then government had assigned them the alternative site (now christened as M.G.R. Nagar), the heirs of the land (earlier owned by a private party) moved the court to evict them.

Subsequently, the court stayed the erstwhile Tamil Nadu Electricity Board from giving any electricity connection to the area. On the intervention of Mr. Sampath a compromise was reached with the legal heirs who reportedly vacated the stay.

K. Veerappan, a resident, told The Hindu that almost two generations had lived in the area without electricity. Getting the power was as good as getting back the lost vision. He further said that cyclone Thane too had wrought havoc in the area by destroying some of the dwelling units. They could virtually see the light of the day (or is it night) only now.

Another resident Mahesh said that now the people were taking out and dusting the long-forgotten electrical gadgets and started using them. Though almost all the households had got the free television sets issued by the erstwhile Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government these were never taken out of the cartons. Now, all the TV sets had been unpacked and the residents had started viewing the programmes.

M. Maruthavanan of the Federation of the Cuddalore Residents’ Welfare Associations said that several representations had been made to the authorities at all levels and various kinds of protests and demonstrations were held seeking immediately electricity supply to the area.

Mr. Maruthavanan said that electricity supply now had brought cheer to the residents who could now lead a normal life. He said that besides improving the living condition of the residents it would also help the students in the area to perform well in their studies.

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