Chennai

Residents plan to keep track of development

When Harrington Road received a makeover five years ago, residents’ involvement in the exercise was evident. The resident association had divided itself into groups to coordinate different aspects of the work. Later, when the work was completed, the association deployed marshals who would make sure vehicles were not parked on the widened and tiled footpath. These marshals, whose salaries were paid by residents, also had to regulate traffic and pull down unauthorised posters.

Those familiar with the afore-mentioned residents’ initiative might experience a deja vu of sorts if they studied the efforts being taken by residents of Kalvi Varu Street.

For instance, a WhatsApp group — Kalvi Varu Street Welfare Group – comprising representatives from Kalvi Varu Street, Mundakanni Amman Koil and Thiru Vi Ka Lanes has been formed to discuss how to engage with different stakeholders when the Kalvi Varu Street makeover project is completed.

At present, the group formed last year, has around 20 members.

“We are trying to rope in more people, including residents of adjoining streets so that all of us can work collectively and ensure the upkeep of this place,” says Sekar Viswanathan, a resident of Mundakanni Amman Koil Street and one of the members in the group.

Already, members are sharpening the focus on the areas they have to focus on when the street is fully ready.

“There are obstructions on the platform, but I regularly walk on it as this is the space for pedestrians and we need to use it, question it when it is usurped,” says Viswanathan.

“We have to involve those staying on the other side of Kalvi Varu Street, so that they also develop a sense of ownership about the street,” he adds.

With one entrance of Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School on the stretch, the school management will also have an active role to play in this exercise.

“To ensure that the development work being taken up on the stretch is satisfactorily maintained, residents of Kalvi Varu Street, Vidya Mandir School, Parent Teacher Association and Vidya Mandir Alumni Association may come together to support the initiative and also maintain the street,” says a member of Vidya Mandir Alumni Association.

K. Viswanathan, secretary of Mylapore Residents Welfare Association (MRWA), says the Kalvi Varu Street makeover project is unique in many respects and the local residents’ active participation is of utmost importance in sustaining the work.

He cites the example of Seethamma Extension Welfare Association (SEWA) in Teynampet. After the Association got unauthorised college vans parked on the stretch removed, residents came together to ensure various safety measures including CCTV cameras and speed breakers, were introduced.

The MRWA secretary adds, “SEWA is an example of how residents have succeeded in restoring and sustaining the maintenance of public spaces.”


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 11:59:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/residents-plan-to-keep-track-of-development/article33767463.ece

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