For residents of the Royapuram Assembly constituency, the upcoming election will have many familiar features.
D. Jayakumar, the candidate of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), has been elected four times from the constituency, which include victories in the last three elections — in 2001, 2006 and 2011.
In the 2011 Assembly elections, he defeated R. Manohar of the Congress and the two are once again in the fray this year.
The constituency, which has a sizeable working class population, has been plagued by traffic congestion, pollution and inadequate infrastructure development.
‘Port causing pollution’
“The proximity of the port has been a cause of pollution. The increased traffic congestion has now added to it,” said K. Divakar, a resident of Royapuram.
Residents of Moolakothalam pointed out that at peak hours, it was impossible to navigate the stretch after Basin Bridge.
One of the iconic structures in the constituency that lends the area its identity is the Royapuram railway station.
This is also one of the oldest stations in the country. Residents and a number of railway employees’ unions have been demanding for a long time that it be made a major terminal in addition to Chennai Central, Egmore and the Tambaram railway stations.
For people like K. Bhaskar, who live in Moolakothalam in hutments, the wait for houses has stretched on for two decades.
“We have ration cards and are being provided water through tanker lorries regularly. While the government has ensured that we get all facilities, why not allot us houses as well?” Mr. Bhaskar asked.
Around 200 families like his have made the area, which has small shops and businesses, their home.
In Old Washermenpet, one of the main residential areas of the ward, the residents rue that the old drainage connection there has led to sewage overflows.
“The roads here need to be re-laid and not over-laid. Over-laying of roads has led to the level of the roads increasing alarmingly with regard to houses on the ground floor. While small buses started operating in a few areas of the constituency recently to improve connectivity, residents still remain largely dependent on share auto.
More buses have to be added to improve connectivity to Mount Road,” said K. Sathyanarayanan of the Pandalai Road Residents Welfare Association.
Old drainage connection at Old Washermenpet leads to sewage overflows