K. Lakshmi

Incumbent president contesting for third consecutive time

CHENNAI: Good quality drinking water and proper drainage top the list of residents' demands at Manali municipality. Not surprisingly, the election manifestos of the candidates also centre on these demands in the coming civic polls.

The Manali local body, which was recently upgraded to a third grade municipality, has 147 candidates contesting in 18 wards. The local body witnessed an increase in contestants for these civic polls compared to previous elections. Similarly, independent candidates make up a high percentage of those in the fray, which appears to be typical of several suburbs in these polls. About 22,000 people would be casting their votes in 26 booths on Sunday.

The incumbent chairman, Mullai Gnanasekaran, is contesting for the third consecutive time under the `two leaves' symbol. The All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate promises to solve the demand of quality drinking water in his ward covering Amulaivoyal village. He also plans to solve the problems confronted by several villagers, including loss of livelihood due to land acquisition for the expansion of Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited.

Seeniammal, a 48-year-old construction worker contesting on behalf of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, is one of the candidates evoking interest in the municipality.

Residents demanded drinking water supply through house connections. M.K. Ilamvazhuthi, treasurer of Manali Consumer Awareness Welfare Association, said that groundwater in the area was completely polluted due to mixing of industrial effluent.

There are about 50 small and middle scale industries and 25 large industries around Manali and the quality of ground water has worsened day by day. At present, the residents were supplied with water from local borewells on an irregular basis. An overhead tank constructed at Vimalapuram five years ago remains unused.

The area also lacks a proper drainage system. Though an industrial area, transportation is also a major issue in Manali. There are not sufficient buses to other parts of the city except for Parrys corner and Koyambedu. But even here, the frequency needs to be improved, residents added.