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In North Chennai, a palpable sense of neglect

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BACK-BREAKING: Even railway overbridge and subway projects take a long time for completion in north Chennai and the residents are just losing their patience. File Photo: V. Ganesan
BACK-BREAKING: Even railway overbridge and subway projects take a long time for completion in north Chennai and the residents are just losing their patience. File Photo: V. Ganesan

Karthik Subramanian

From basic hygiene to road maintenance, it's a mess; real estate not booming either, say residents

  • 9.36 lakh voters, 400 candidates, 49 wards across three zones
  • Political parties keep the focus on the chikungunya factor

    CHENNAI: With just three days to the Chennai Corporation ward elections, a section of voters in North Chennai are still wondering about the gains of the region in the past 10 years of an elected Chennai Corporation council.

    Y. Antony Rajarajan, convenor of North Chennai Citizen's Forum, said most parts of North Chennai, including Vyasarpadi, Mahakavi Bharati Nagar, Kodungaiyur, Erukkenchery and Perambur, have been long neglected. "It is still a curse to live in North Chennai if one compares it to the central and southern parts of the city. From basic hygiene to maintenance of roads, North Chennai is not really shining like the rest of the city. Even the real estate is not quite booming," he says.

    Residents blame the sorry state of affairs on the lack of planning and implementation of projects in the area. Several of them are stuck in different stages of development -- the rail overbridge at Vyasarpadi-Erukkenchery junction, the Perambur flyover, modernisation of Perambur Abattoir, subways at Meenambal Nagar-Cochrane Basin Road railway level crossing and Korrukupet junction.

    Ever Vigilent [sic] Citizens Welfare Association, a group of residents welfare activists from colonies near the Kodungaiyur dump, have been lobbying to shift the facility out, blaming it for the lack of infrastructure development in the locality. Though Chennai Corporation has taken up improvements to the facility over the last couple of years and have also planned to make it a scientific landfill, the Association president N.S. Ramachandra Rao has said the only agreeable change would be to relocate it outside the city.

    Inundation during rains is another major issue facing North Chennai residents. In Last year's record rains, Pulianthope area remained water for a week. Some areas went without power for three days.

    Blame game

    Both the DMK and the AIADMK-led alliances have been blaming each other over the flyover and subway projects. The DMK maintains that the previous AIADMK government was indifferent to flyover projects all over the city; the party candidates point out that the Perambur flyover was left languishing for five years.

    The AIADMK candidates, on the other hand, blame the DMK for being a stumbling block in proceeding with the subway and rail overbridge projects, accusing them of blocking the files at the Railways Board.

    The AIADMK lists out among other achievements, the concretisation of the main road in Sathyamoorthy Nagar, new park at Pulianthope, construction of 80 new classrooms and gyms. They also say the New Veeranam Scheme had earned them the goodwill in most parts of the city for being a major factor in solving the drinking water crisis.

    The DMK is banking of its Assembly election promises and has urged the residents to vote for a "smooth implementation" of schemes.

    Vijayakant's DMDK party has steered clear of the debate and is focussing much of its campaign in North Chennai on the mosquito menace. P.S.S.Dhanushkodi, who was elected councillor from New Washermanpet on a BJP ticket last time, is now DMDK's candidate.

    "Our main assurance has been setting up a laboratory in Chennai to test Chikungunya and a complete eradication of mosquito-related diseases."

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