Chennai

COVID-19: With Corporation’s nod, RWAs take care of ‘green residents’ in their midst

One or two resident-representatives are allowed to tend to Corporation parks that are under the maintenance of neighbourhood associations. They are expected to take utmost precaution and carry out only the most essential work such as watering saplings, and in an extremely short time window

Notwithstanding the shutdown, Giri Ravanan, who is the secretary of Venketachalam Nagar Residents Welfare Association in Thirumullavoyal, sets foot in the newly-established Corporation park along Puzhal lake on Second Main Road, twice a day. He is “joined” by another resident.

For anyone who is not up to speed, this behaviour may amount to a blatant violation of the prevailing rules of the land — staying at home (surfacing only for essential work) and practising social distancing.

The truth is: these residents are authorised by Greater Chennai Corporation to make those visits so that they can water the hundred-plus saplings at the park. This park comes under the direct supervision and maintenance of the resident welfare association, and hence this permission, which however comes with riders such as only one person — and at a maximum, two — who can step in and carry out park-tending work, and if there are two, utmost care should be taken to practise social distancing.

At present, the Greater Chennai Corporation has 669 public parks in its 15 zones. Of these parks, 554 parks are maintained by private contractors on terms and conditions laid down by the civic body; there are 51 children parks that are also maintained in a similar fashion by the civic body; and there are 61 parks that are maintained by private companies, individuals and residents welfare associations, under Corporation’s monitoring eye.

Eight kilometres away, at TVS Colony in Mogappair, V. Rajagopal, a septuagenarian, oversees the maintenance of a similar RWA-controlled Corporation park — here, the residents’ welfare association has employed two staff to carry out the maintenance work.

“Despite the closure of parks, we are allowed to do our routine work inside the park for a short while by the Corporation by having the parks locked inside. We wear personal protective equipment maintain social distance while doing such exercise,” said Giri Ravanan.

Corporation officials state that regular maintenance parks including watering of plants and general cleaning of the facility is being carried out even during the shutdown period with a set of guidelines provided to all civic staff and also representatives of residents welfare associations who may be involved in this work.

Accordingly, a maximum of two persons nominated or employed by the RWA association are allowed to do the routine work for a short duration every day, and the maximum time allowed is two hours which may be the case if the park is sprawling. Besides, people involved in such voluntary work at the park including residents should maintain social distance and wear personal protective equipment.

Even in the case of such parks, maintained by private companies and RWAs, field officers of the civic body would make visits to ensure the norms are being followed.

“Many new parks that were created in 2019, have saplings that were planted just before the onset of monsoon. Such saplings need regular watering at least for a year,” says a Corporation official.

(If your residents welfare association maintains a Corporation park and carries out such work on a daily basis with the help of representatives, write to us at downtownfeedback@thehindu.co.in)

CAPTION: Saplings at the public park in TVS Colony in Mogappair being watered by the residents of the neighbourhood.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 2:26:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/covid-19-with-corporations-nod-rwas-watch-out-for-green-fledglings-in-their-midst/article31254494.ece

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