Chennai

Shenoy Nagar residents walk for change

During one of the walks Photo: Special Arrangement  

Ten years ago, the ties with their green neighbour — Thiru-Vi-Ka Park — snapped when it was closed for Metro Rail work on the Koyambedu-Shenoy Nagar-Nehru Park underground line. Subsequently, Shenoy Nagar residents would issue calls for the speedy reopening of the park, even forming a group to campaign for it.

The promise to return the park to them in a reinvented form remains, but residents are glad about having initiated the campaign because that has brought them closer together as a community, a fact proven by the move to revive a defunct residents’ association, which they have now named Shenoy Nagar Residents Welfare Association.

“Although East Shenoy Nagar Association has been inactive for some years, we have been meeting and exchanging notes informally for the last five-six years. Thiru-Vi-Ka Park revival actually brought us together. For the last few years, we have been working on forming an RWA that was registered in March 2020,” says S Sivakumar, president of Shenoy Nagar Residents Welfare Association.

On August 15, the RWA launched its activities with a greening drive across the colony.

‘Know your Neighbour’ is a weekend initiative which has a group of residents strolling down the streets and stopping every now and then to meet new neighbours.

Through these walks, they also seek to tackle a stubborn problem.

“Garbage clearance is a common complaint and taking it up with the civic officials, as a group is likely to bring results,” says Sivakumar. They plan to invite well-known personalities including IAS officers and politicians residing in and around the colony to be part of these walks. This way, they hope to see cleaner streets.

Team building

At present, residents are focussed on building the team, bringing in a cross-section of people across age groups and professions.

“We currently have 70 members in our WhatsApp group and our plan is to target 250 homes by the end of the year,” says Sivakumar. They hope to achieve this target through the weekend walks. “So far, we have only covered three streets and I am sure there is some curiosity that we have managed to create through these initiatives,” he says.

The new team comprises members who have campaigned for civic issues or who are keen on working on certain areas that they have some expertise in.

TK Srinivas Chari, a resident since 1975 and the one who initiated the afore-mentioned tree planting exercise, says he read a post by Regional Deputy Commissioner (Central) Sharanya Ari inviting RWAs to join hands in greening the city.

“We jumped at the idea and received good support from the Corporation officials who dug the pits for us and brought some saplings,” says Chari. A majority of the saplings were sourced from Nizhal and some residents sponsored tree guards.

“We went around the neighbourhood to identify places that lacked greenery and decided on the spots,” says Chari, adding the greening initiative’s success depends on residents’ involvement in nurturing the saplings near them.

Pulla Avenue, East Park Road, East Club Road, Nathamuni Street and inside the Skating Park are among areas that have been identified for the greening exercise.

Sampath Kumar, another long-time resident of 4th Cross Street, points out that the park brought the residents together.

“Now that we do not have our park, we need to increase the colony’s green cover and bond through walks and address issues relating to the neighbourhood. We plan to have a directory of residents but before that we need to know each other better,” says Sampath Kumar.

Chidambaranathan Ravindran, a civil engineer with expertise in rain water harvesting, plans to inspire the Chennai Metrowater to adopt some of the best practices that he has implemented at his home.

They also plan to construct recharge wells on the street and encourage residents to adopt best practices followed by members. Solar energy, stormwater drains and garbage are among the areas the Association plans to take up one at a time.


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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 10:15:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/shenoy-nagar-residents-walk-for-change/article36540726.ece

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