Tamil Nadu

Grappling with a slowdown and unmet expectations

While residential areas hope for better infrastructure, industries seek better policies

A constituency that has a blend of both industrial and residential segments, Ambur’s needs too are diverse in nature. On one hand, residents continue to struggle with poor infrastructure including roads, while on the other industries — particularly tanneries — grapple with slowdown in production as the effects of demonetisation and GST are yet to wear off.

A section of residents and industrialists are unhappy with the civic infrastructure in the heart of the Ambur Assembly constituency - Ambur Town. Like many parts of Vellore district, areas in Ambur — especially village panchayats — are staring at a worsening water crisis. The Combined Water Supply Scheme (CWSS) with the River Cauvery as a source mainly covers areas in Ambur Town. Several parts of Ambur constituency are facing water shortage. Manoharan, a resident of Ayyanoor, said there was no regular water supply in villages.

E. Vijayaraj, president, Ambur Consumer Protection Movement, said works for laying water pipelines and sewage network in 36 wards of the Ambur municipality were taken up but the interior roads are now in a shambles. “Several interior roads are filled with potholes. Work to repair and re-lay the roads has been left incomplete,” he added.

Long-pending demands

Many residents are hoping that a long-pending demand for a rail overbridge near Reddithoppu-Bethlehem will take off soon. “Waterlogging during rains is a recurrent problem in this part of Ambur. A rail overbridge has been our demand for almost two decades,” Gnanasekaran, a resident said. Similarly, residents have been waiting for the construction of a flyover from OAR Theatre to Sanangkuppam along the National Highway-48. In the absence of a flyover, there is traffic congestion in the town and frequent fatal accidents on the highway, they said.

A key leather belt in Vellore district, Ambur is home to nearly 80 tanneries but the industry is going through rough times, noted S. Faiyaz Ahmed, honorary secretary of the Ambur Tanners Association. “Demonetisation and GST were like a double-blow for the leather sector. We are yet to recover. Production is affected, and exports have come down by about 45% from the peak experienced five years ago,” he said and added the policy changes recommended by the Council for Leather Exports to the Union Ministry of Commerce should be implemented.

M.V. Swamynatthan, district president of Vellore District Micro and Small Entrepreneurs Association, said units that do not have an annual turnover of ₹40 lakh are exempted from GST but they faced a different hurdle. “Companies that give orders to these enterprises demand GST bills. As a result, these units are losing orders. GST has created an indirect effect on micro and small enterprises,” he said. Residents want a ramp or escalator at the Ambur Railway Station for the elderly and stoppage of the West Coast Express. Addressing the water crisis is the topmost priority for the candidates. DMK’s candidate A.C. Vilwanathan, AIADMK’s J. Jothiramalingaraju and AMMK’s R. Balasubramani, who had switched from AIADMK to T.T.V. Dhinakaran’s camp, have assured to expand the CWSS to more parts of the constituency particularly the village panchayats. “I will take steps to establish primary health centres and transport facilities on hill areas such as Naickaneri,” Mr. Vilwanathan said. Mr. Balasubramani said that he will take steps to develop the hill areas into tourism spots and upgrade a high school in Asanampattu. The AIADMK candidate has promised to improve the government hospital at Ambur and establish a police station at Madhanur. Makkal Needhi Maiam’s candidate Kareem Basha has assured proper roads for Ambur Town.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 6:57:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/grappling-with-a-slowdown-and-unmet-expectations-ambur-assembly-constituency-assembly-bypoll-2019/article26750480.ece

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