Downtown

Women run an apartment complex

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They won the confidence of the other residents by the efficiency with which they tackled crises arising from last year’s floods. LIFFY THOMAS on their roles and responsibilities

They attend to complaints from residents, liaise with government agencies to address civic issues, and closely monitor the effectiveness of safety systems at the apartment complex. They are members of Anand Illam Owners Association. Now, if you are thinking, that’s what members of any Association would do, and what’s special about them, here’s the twist in the tale.

This Association, which governs Anand Flats, an apartment complex on Dr. Ranga Road in Mylapore, consists entirely of women.

It is an eight-member team comprises five committee members, a president, a secretary and a treasurer.

“In the 32-year-old history of the apartment, we never had an all-women’s team leading the Association,” says Sivanarut Selvi P., who has been residing at Anand Flats for the last 18 years and is a member of the committee.

The women here have always helped their spouses manage the activities of the Association.

“I used to help my husband when he was the treasurer of the Association,” says K.V. Rajeshwari, who is now treasurer. She works with LIC.

The initiative and resourcefulness the women displayed while dealing with the crisis that arose from the floods in December last year, were what led the residents to go in for an all-women committee.

The apartment was filled with knee-deep water and residents formed a human chain and drained out water on to the main road.

“The motor was not working. We all came out of our houses to clear the drains and pump out the water. We showed great unity while tackling the situation,” says Subha R., a committee member.

Since then, women have been leading many initiatives in the apartment. One of them, ‘Swatch Anand’ is about cleaning the terrace once a month. The boundary walls of the apartment were painted with artwork by children.

When the boundary walls of the neighbouring Vinayagam Street in Mandaveli was being spruced up, a large number of children from apartment complex took part in the exercise.

Members were unanimously elected at the Annual General Body meeting held last month. The 53-flat apartment complex has only 19 owners now, so the Association even relaxed its rules to allow tenants to be part of the committee.

Apart from the posts the eight women hold, each of them holds additional responsibilities.

Shanthi Chandrasekaran, who is president, is also in charge of the ‘Fun Committee’.

“Apart from celebrating various festivals, we have sports and annual day which are organised in a grand way. I manage the funds,” says Shanthi.

“In every event, we have had enthusiastic participation of women and children. This time, at our annual day celebration, we got the men at the complex to dance on stage, which is a big achievement,” laughs Uma Shankar, who is in her mid-30s and one of the youngest members in the committee.

Jayanthi Eswarakrishnan, who is serving her second term as secretary, is also excited about having more responsibilities.

One of the biggest challenges for the Association is attending to drainage-related complaints from residents as the apartment is at a lower level than the road.

“As the apartment is old, there is a frequent need for maintenance work . This year, we are planning to install CCTV cameras and whitewash the seven blocks, which is a big task as a majority of the owners don’t stay here and we have to persuade them to be part of the initiative,” says Jayanthi who moved to Anand Flats three years ago.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 4:36:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/Women-run-an-apartment-complex/article14630805.ece

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