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Snakes prompt voters to boycott polls

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Snake park!: Residents of Anna Nagar in Palayamkottai standing near a playground in their locality.
Snake park!: Residents of Anna Nagar in Palayamkottai standing near a playground in their locality.

P. Sudhakar

The issue can be resolved only after polls: Corporation Commissioner

TIRUNELVELI: When voters of entire Tirunelveli Parliamentary constituency will cast their votes on May 13 to elect their new representative, eligible electors of around 35 families in Anna Nagar at Palayamkottai may remain mute spectators as they have decided to boycott the ensuing polls.

They have taken this decision in protest against the Corporation’s failure to clear the thorny bushes and boulders heaped on a playground amidst their colony for the past several years. The ground now has become an ideal habitat for poisonous snakes including cobra and viper.

A sprawling space at this colony of ward 21, mostly having middle and lower-middle class families, was earmarked for a park by the Corporation when the local body gave its assent to this residential layout. Instead of being a most-sought after spot for the children, this rectangular plot now has thorny bushes, stinks with garbage and threatens the neighbouring residents as it is home to a good number of poisonous snakes.

Though this colony in the heart of Palayamkottai has got three fenced playgrounds, only two of them are in good shape. While one has been provided with play equipment, the second one is being used by the boys of this area as their playground, which is now gradually becoming a yard to dump the debris. The third playground is overflowing with garbage and rubble and thorny shrubs have grown abundantly to provide a fitting haven for snakes. Huge boulders, which was heaped here long back provides shelter to the reptiles during the day and hence the residents never come out of their houses during night unless it is so necessary.

However, these ‘unwanted guests’ frequently visit the residents living around their ‘campus’, particularly during night that has triggered fear in their minds.

“The lack of maintenance of this plot has curtailed our movements during night as we can see movement of venomous reptiles after dusk. Something should be done at the earliest and we are ready to render all sorts of help,” the residents say. Residents around this public utility space are prepared to plant tree saplings and water them regularly to convert it into a park.

Corporation Commissioner T. Mohan said this issue had been brought to his notice only now and the playground could be renovated only after the polls since election code of conduct was in force.

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