Sanitation, drinking water supply and roads top the wish list of residents of newly added areas

: They were so near; yet so far. Their contiguity with Madurai Corporation helped them in a way to identify themselves with the historic city.

Some areas did get basic facilities like drinking water supply, underground drainage and cement roads. Still they were identified as poor cousins of the city.

On Monday, the electorate in the recently appended areas of Madurai Corporation will walk into the polling booths with lot of expectations and hope.

The Madurai Municipality was upgraded as Madurai Corporation, under Madurai City Municipal Corporation Act of 1971, on May 1, 1971.

At that time, 13 panchayat areas were annexed to the Madurai Corporation with 72 wards.

In 2011, the corporation area has been further expanded to cover more municipalities, town panchayats and panchayats, making it 100 wards in all.

The recently included areas fall under Tirupparankundram municipality, Avaniapuram municipality and Anaiyur municipality; Vilangudi town panchayat, Harveypatti town panchayat and Tirunagar town panchayat; Tiruppalai, Kannanendal, Uthangudi, Vandiyur, Melamadai, Naganakulam, Iravathanallur, Chinna Anuppanadi, Chinthamani, Thiagarajar Colony and Pudukulam Bit II panchayats. These civic bodies have been having basic amenities in proportion to their size, income and political clout.

After their merger with Madurai Corporation, residents look for better amenities.

Sanitation, drinking water supply and roads top the wish list of newly added areas. Among all these areas, the erstwhile Tirunagar town panchayat tops in civic performance.

Tirunagar, which once remained a township, remained the envy of many peripheral residential areas of Madurai Corporation.

The township, formed in the 1960s, was the initiative of the Tirunagar Cooperative Housing Society. With a well laid plan (80 feet roads, eight bus stops with a bus route that covers the entire residential colony and green cover), Tirunagar remains a well maintained heart of Tirunagar town panchayat. The corporation, residents feel, should focus more on the extension areas around Tirunagar.

“Basic amenities should be provided for the extension areas like Joseph Nagar, Mahalakshmi Nagar, Srinivasa Nagar, Sundar Nagar, Tirukkumaran Nagar, Mottamalai and Sornam Colony,” says R. Chockalingam, whose family is one of the earliest to settle down in Tirunagar. He feels that the corporation need not start from scratch in this area. At the same time, there is an urgent need to formulate an underground drainage scheme and extend the Vaigai drinking water supply scheme. The pride of Tirunagar is the Anna Park and it should not be spoiled. The open area near the Brindavan Street can be converted into a park and a small park can come near Mahalakshmi Nagar, which has a predominant weaver population, he says.

Backward

At the other end of the city is Vilangudi town panchayat, which is separated from the city by the Fatima College railway over bridge. Here many extension areas have remained backward for long, due to absence of infrastructure facilities. The corporation should immediately take up the underground drainage work, already approved by the town panchayat, says T. G. Anangaveeraraman, vice-chairman, and president of Railar Nagar Residents' Welfare Association. “Appadurai Nagar, Chockkalinga Nagar and Housing Board Colony do not have proper roads and drainage. Ashok Nagar and VIP Nagar face acute drinking water problem. There is water stagnation in Raj Nagar,” he says.

The immediate hope of the residents is that the Koodal Nagar railway station could be developed for stoppage of all trains in order to decongest traffic in the heart of the city.

Proper roads should be laid and lighting provided to make the station serve a greater purpose of providing a detraining and entraining point for passengers and commuters below Madurai Junction.

The concern of all residents in the colonies on the flanks of the Alanganallur Road is the growing number of accidents.

Immediate steps should be taken to curb over speeding of vehicles on this stretch, says R. Padmavathi.

Located in between the two ends is the well developed Gomathipuram-Thendral Nagar, which has been sending the positive messages on civic sense through its Exnora unit in the last two decades and through the Centre for Environmental Services (CENS) in recent years. Drinking water supply and garbage disposal are the major problems here.

The corporation should provide bins to dump garbage in the area.

It should also identify a place to recycle the 50 to 60 tonnes of garbage generated in the area, says S. V. Pathy, a resident of Gomathipuram and founder of CENS. Gomathipuram, like its contiguous Yagappa Nagar, Tahsildar Nagar and Sadasiva Nagar coming under Melamadai panchayat, is one of the earliest panchayat areas in the State to get an underground drainage system under the Namakku Naame Scheme.

About 75 per cent of the residential area has been covered by concrete roads.

Dumping yard

Mr. Pathy regrets that the nearby stormwater carrier, originating from the Vandiyur lake, is being used as a dumping yard.

Garbage is indiscriminately dumped in another water body in Melamadai. The mosquito menace is so high that it has been declared as vulnerable to vector-borne diseases like dengue.

The groundwater table of this area is at the mercy of Vandiyur lake. The corporation should take immediate steps to conserve water in the lake, he says.

Another problem haunting the residents is the increased traffic on the Sivaganga Road from Ring Road Junction to Melamadai.

Mr. Pathy suggests that a flyover could be constructed for use by heavy vehicles. The Sivaganga Road has now become the most preferred road for VIPs to reach the city from the airport.

As an alternative, a road can be developed on the bund of the Vandiyur lake and traffic allowed on it in one direction, he says.

In all the extension areas, the concern of the residents is property tax revision. The unanimous feeling is that tax revision should be reasonable and commensurate with the facilities provided. The Madurai Corporation, for its part, has given an assurance that it would not resort to adhoc revision. A tax revision is not immediate for the annexed areas.

Mr. Arangaveeraraman points out that huge buildings have been constructed in the extension areas taking into consideration their location in a rural civic body and proximity to the city. Hence property tax revision should be reasonable.

A resident of Gomathipuram remarked: “When it has taken more than more than three decades time for some of the areas in Madurai Corporation to get drinking water supply and underground drainage, will it be possible for the annexed areas to get better facilities overnight?”

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