Tamil Nadu Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

T.N. polls, Contituency Watch | Two ex-Mayors lock horns in Saidapet

The Saidapet Assembly constituency will feature a unique battle this election as two former Mayors AIADMK’s Saidai Duraiswamy and DMK’s Ma. Subramanian are in the fray.

The former Chief Minister and DMK President M. Karunanidhi had contested and won from the Saidapet constituency twice.

While residents appreciate the initiative on tree planting and better maintenance of storm-water drains, concerns regarding water supply and flooding persist. The area was among the worst hit during the Chennai floods of 2015.

“Since storm-water drains seem to be cleared regularly, there is less water stagnation than before. But many streets face acute water shortage during summer and rely on supply through lorries,” said Vishnu Ram of West Saidapet. Stray cattle is another concern for the residents there.

At Arasu Pannai First and Second Street, which houses several families of daily wage and contract labourers, both piped water and drainage facilities remain a dream. Their water supply begins through lorries even before summer and each household gets only four pots of water a day, said Lourdhe Mary, a resident.

“While work began on laying a drainage system recently, it was abruptly stopped. We have just one public toilet here,” said S. Gunaseelan.

Mr. Subramanian, MLA, says among his plans for the constituency, if elected again, are to ensure around 600 families in Thideer Nagar are given houses in the area instead of being relocated, modernisation of the Saidapet market, to bund strengthening along the Adyar river, and skill-based classes like tailoring for women from low-income families.

Vexed problems

Acknowledging the vexed issue of water shortage in the area, Mr. Subramanian said that so far, the residents were being supplied with water in tankers.

“As the DMK manifesto states, we will work on supplying water through taps for all households if elected and focus on conservation and maintenance of water sources,” he said.

Mr. Duraiswamy said there was a need to look beyond providing basic amenities and that focus was needed on four areas — employment, health, food and education.

“Apart from Amma Unavagams, facilities where the poor can parcel and take food home and training programmes for competitive exams for students in the constituency will be looked at. I have always believed in being accessible and will start an MLA helpline where residents can submit their complaints through WhatsApp or calls,” he said.

Also in the fray this year is Sneha Mohandoss, founder of Foodbank India, from Makkal Needhi Maiam. The young candidate said that in an area that houses people from across income groups, the concerns of the poor who reside along the Adyar have been ignored.

“I have met and worked with many of these residents in the past and the lack of infrastructure for them needs immediate attention,” she said.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 12:00:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamil-nadu-assembly/two-ex-mayors-lock-horns-in-saidapet/article34103639.ece

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