Tamil Nadu Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

Voters pitch for merger with Corporation

Despite being part of the cityscape, Pallavaram has been facing such civic issues as sanitary sewer overflow, erratic drinking water supply, traffic congestion caused by encroachments, flooding and, above all, garbage being dumped into waterbodies. Residents believe the only solution is the merger of the area with the Greater Chennai Corporation.

The constituency consists of Chromepet, Hasthinapuram, Pozhichalur, Nemilichery, Tiruneermalai, Pammal, Anakaputhur and Tirusulam. These areas have a high density of residential population.

Infrastructure development has taken place: new flyovers have been built at the Pallavaram and Keelkattalai junctions. But civic issues continue to haunt the residents, who are unwilling to trust the municipality any more, saying it lacks vision and manpower.

Campaign under way

Social activists say several village panchayats and panchayat unions were merged with the Corporation in 2014. They have started a campaign asking the residents to vote only for the party that promises merger with the Corporation. They are also distributing pamphlets.

Social activist V. Santhanam points to the poor construction of the underground drainage network, which was planned to manage the population growth in 20 years. It suffers from serious design and construction flaws, he says.

Sewage regularly overflows from the network at Bhavani Nagar, Natesan Nagar, Jain Nagar Extension and Nemilichery. “It is not proper to blame municipal officials who have been handed a faulty asset. The municipality also suffers from a shortage of manpower and lack of equipment,” Mr. Santhanam says.

Meenakshi Sundaram, a resident of Nemilichery, says the residents are paying a garbage cess almost equal to property tax. He blames the municipality for failure to develop the Hasthinapuram bus terminus for more than 25 years and improper maintenance of several lakes, including Veeraraghava Eri, Thiruneermalai Lake, Nemilichery Lake and Putheri Lake.

The closure of the Venkatamangalam dump yard and the “exorbitant fees” being charged by the Greater Chennai Corporation to use the Perungudi dump yard had forced the municipality to dump the garbage, collected from every house and segregated at the transit station, in the nearby lakes, he says.

The activists also blame the municipality for its failure to remove encroachments mushrooming on GST Road and want the Department of Highways to allow two-way traffic on the newly opened bridge at Pallavaram. Allowing one-way traffic serves no purpose, especially when vendors occupy the service road of GST Road on Fridays, causing severe traffic jams.

Residents of Thiruneermalai, where the residential population is increasing rapidly, say there has been no piped water supply for more than two decades. They also suffer from low voltage and poor roads.

No water supply

S. Krishnamurthy, an office-bearer of the Nagappa Nagar Residents Welfare Association at Thiruneermalai, says the locality has been covered by the Palar piped water scheme but the residents do not get any piped supply. However, panchayat officials collect water tax.

Residents of Saraswathipuram Extension at Thiruneermalai have for long been demanding the construction of a culvert to link the Fourth Street with the Second Street. They want the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to prevent rampant discharge of waste from tannery units in the locality.

However, the residents credit the government with the creation of the flyover at Pallavaram and renovation of Periya Eri and a few lakes on the Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam Radial Road in the past five years.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 7:52:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/pallavaram-voters-pitch-for-merger-with-greater-chennai-corporation/article33992790.ece

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