Kamaraj Nagar residents want permanent solution to flooding

Former Minister M.O.H.F. Shahjahan is taking on sitting legislator A. John Kumar

Published - April 03, 2021 01:15 am IST - PUDUCHERRY

Former Minister M.O.H.F. Shahjahan is taking on sitting legislator A. John Kumar, who switched from the Congress to the BJP in Kamaraj Nagar, in one of the keenly watched battles of the April 6 election.

The relatively new constituency of Kamaraj Nagar, largely comprising middle-class voters, is beset by civic issues, specifically flooding during rain, that has not been addressed by successive governments.

When people, especially those residing in places such as Chellan Nagar, Krishna Nagar, Venketa Nagar, Rainbow Nagar, Ezhil Nagar and Raja Rajeswari Nagar, go to the polling booths on April 6, one of the foremost things in their mind would be flooding.

Rainbow Nagar, First Cross resident R. Balamurugan said till around 15 years ago, the area did not face flooding as it was witnessing during rain now. “I was born and brought up in this constituency. Now, every year the gravity of the situation is worsening mainly due to non-maintenance of stormwater drains. A proper study should be conducted to address the issue,” he said.

Much of the problem could be solved if main canals and drains passing through the area are regularly de-silted and maintained properly. “We would like our next MLA to address the issue. Whoever is winning should make it a point to raise the issue in the Assembly, so that a permanent solution can be found. The quality of water has also deteriorated, and we would like the next government to construct a water treatment plant in our constituency,” said A. Jeevan, a resident of Chellan Nagar.

Mr. Balamurugan also highlighted the bad condition of interior roads in the area. In certain places in the constituency, open defecation is still an issue to be solved completely, added Mr. Jeevan.

The decision of sitting legislator A. John Kumar to shift from Congress to BJP just before the election would be tested before the electorate. Mr. Kumar, a businessman-turned-politician, won the byelection necessitated by V. Vaithilingam quitting his MLA’s post to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha poll.

Mr. Kumar defeated AINRC’s Bouvanesvarane in the 2019 poll by 7,170 votes. In fact, his margin of victory was higher when compared to the victory of Mr. Vaithilingam in the 2016 Assembly poll, who won the seat contesting against P. Ganesan of the AIADMK by a margin of 5,106 votes.

As far as Mr. Shahjahan is concerned, he had to shift from his traditional constituency of Kalapet after the seat went into the kitty of the DMK during the seat-sharing talks. The Congress has taken the battle as a matter of prestige as they consider Mr. Kumar one of the architects of the downfall of its government in February.

The campaign managers of Mr. Shahjahan are constantly raising the issue during street corner meetings and house-to-house visits.

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