K. Lakshmi and K. Manikandan
CHENNAI: The pace of developmental projects in Chennai’s suburbs is once again picking up after a lull. Representatives of various municipalities note that most of these projects that were announced in the 2009-2010 budget would be delayed by a few months.
Officials of local bodies in the western fringes of the city are busy preparing estimates for various civic works to seek approval from the councils in the forthcoming meetings. Works for which tenders have not been invited or work orders not issued were kept pending. The local bodies are taking stock of the immediate requirements in their area to expedite work.
Residents complained that even routine works, including garbage clearance, were neglected on grounds of election duty. Representatives of Ambattur Municipality said that projects worth nearly Rs. 1 crore, including roads, provision of streetlights and renovation of 19 municipal schools and ICDS centres, would be taken up soon.
Some of the arterial roads such as East Avenue, Korattur and Padi Kuppam Road, were awaiting repair. The local body also plans to purchase equipment to modernise garbage disposal in Ambattur.
In Avadi, bids received for various projects, including the ambitious water supply and underground drainage projects, could not be opened as model code of conduct was in force since early April. Similarly, infrastructure development in 18 slums under the Basic Services for Urban Poor Scheme, worth Rs. 52 lakh, also had to be postponed.
Representatives of local bodies at Valasaravakkam and Madhavaram said that since no fresh tenders were called for, many works listed in the budget would begin a few months after schedule. The local bodies also face the pressure of completing the works before the onset of the North East Monsoon.
Some of the massive infrastructure projects in this part of Chennai had commenced earlier and were in progress when the election process began. However it was the ward specific works that took a backseat after the code of conduct came into force.
The earlier routine monthly meetings of municipalities and town panchayats served as a forum for administrators to get a feedback through the elected representatives about the ward and requirements of people. Officials in local bodies around Tambaram said that they were unable to proceed with creation of parks and gymnasiums among other works since the enforcement of election code of conduct.
They said that works such as providing bitumen-topped roads, storm water drains, and additional public buildings – be it for schools or other government departments – were delayed due to the election process.