Tamil Nadu Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

Royapuram residents want better amenities, development

Will Minister and AIADMK leader D. Jayakumar, contesting for the seventh consecutive time from Royapuram, run with an advantage or disadvantage because new candidates have entered the fray? This is the key question in the minds of voters.

D. Jayakumar considers himself a son of the soil. He has been contesting in the constituency since 1991. He won in 1991 and then in 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016. He contested in 1996 too, but lost to the DMK candidate. The DMK has fielded iDream R. Murthy, an entrepreneur who hails from the area and owns a theatre there.

Among the other candidates are S. Gunasekaran of Makkal Needhi Maiam and S. Kamali of Naam Tamilar Katchi.

Improvements to civic amenities and development top the residents’ wish-list. “The indiscriminate dumping of garbage and the mosquito menace need immediate attention in several areas near the seashore. Piped drinking water supply is still elusive for most residents, and we still have to depend on lorry supply,” says Ernest Paul, a septuagenarian resident of the locality and president of the Royapuram Residents Welfare Association.

He stresses on the need to organise job fairs, create employment opportunities and provide skill-based training to youngsters. “Development seems to have been stagnant here for a while now,” he adds.

The constituency is famous not just for its electoral battles. The first train in south India began operating from the Royapuram station in 1856, and over the last few years, residents have called for restoring some of the former glory. Their long-pending demands include establishment of a museum to highlight its historical significance and developing the area as a major train terminal. Highlighting the need for better connectivity, R. Boopalan, a social activist, wants the resumption of bus services from Royapuram to Triplicane and Thiruvanmiyur. “These routes were very helpful for several residents of the area, and we hope the services will be restored at the earliest.”

While traffic congestion and the resulting pollution remain a concern, a long-time resident calls for more efforts at planting saplings and greening. “The constituency has a majority of working class population, and for us, it is enough if candidates carry out what they promise. We do not require anything extra,” he says.

For residents who live in and around Cemetery Road, which is near the Old Washermenpet rail track, a long-pending demand is construction of an underpass or subway. “There are at least 1,000 people who get off at the station here and are forced to navigate their way around piles of garbage to go to other areas. For many residents here, we have been asking for a new drainage line,” says M. Rukmani, a resident.

Mr. Murthy, the DMK candidate, says establishment of an arts and science college in the constituency, construction of at least one small community hall in each Corporation division and renovation of the Raja Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar (RSRM) Hospital are among his areas of focus.

“While the area has parks and playgrounds, they need to be maintained better. Better drainage facilities are needed in areas such as Jeevarathnam Nagar and Indira Nagar,” he says.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 11:36:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamil-nadu-assembly/royapuram-residents-want-focus-on-amenities/article34136182.ece

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