TAMIL NADU

Trade centre fame hardly spells civic order zone in

On their way in : Stormwater drains are being created along the Mount-Poonamallee Road in Nandambakkam Town Panchayat. —

On their way in : Stormwater drains are being created along the Mount-Poonamallee Road in Nandambakkam Town Panchayat. —   | Photo Credit: Photo: K.Manikandan

K. Manikandan

Nandambakkam town panchayat is yet to fulfil all the basic requirements of residents

TAMBARAM: The Chennai Trade Centre, with its swanky buildings, ambience and facilities, might have put the city on the national map for hosting world class business events and exhibitions. The opening of this facility might have also pulled Nandambakkam out of obscurity. But, for Nandambakkam Town Panchayat and its residents, the presence of the facility seems to have made little difference.

Constituted as a town panchayat in 1971,br Nbrandambakkam has witnessed hardly any major development over the past three decades. The town panchayat is surrounded by St.Thomas Mount cum Pallavaram Cantonment Board, Chennai Corporation, Manapakkam Village Panchayat and the Adyar river. In the backdrop, there are many high-rise structures under construction, but all of them are either in the city limits or in Manapakkam, where software complexes and special economic zones are coming up.

Nandambakkam has just a couple of industries functioning now, including a public sector undertaking - Bharat Electronics. Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, which once was the pride of Nandambakkam, has been closed.

The population of this town panchayat was only 9,343 in 2001 and estimated to have increased to 15,000 now. With property tax from house-owners and local commercial establishments being the only source of income, of around Rs.40 lakh a year, the town panchayat barely manages to fulfil even the basic requirements of the residents.

The level of development across the town panchayat limits also present a study in contrast. The Defence Officers’ Colony is one of the posh residential localities. With neatly paved wide streets, avenue trees on the sides and beautiful houses, the locality presents a picture of serenity and neatness.

In stark contrast are the pockets in Thulasingapuram and Ganapathypuram. Water is supplied through the Chennai Metrowater. There are only a handful of individual water connections and hence, most of the drinking water requirements are met through public street taps and lorry supply.

Like many cash strapped local bodies in the southern suburbs of Chennai, Nandambakkam too does not have planned markets and its attention to parks and creation of open spaces has always been low.

Garbage is promptly taken to the compost yard, but there are stray complaints of dumping in the open, but not as acute as in the past. Stormwater drains choked with silt and garbage, resulting in water stagnation contaminated with sewage have become a regular feature during the monsoon.

S. Sekar, Chairman of Nandambakkam Town Panchayat, says the revenue generated within the local body was very poor. The presence of the Chennai Trade Centre hardly meant anything to them as it made no difference to its revenue levels. The closure of the IDPL had also affected them, with the public sector undertaking owing a considerable sum to them.

Vast areas of the town panchayat, spread over 6.5 square km, are lying vacant. The boom in the IT sector was visible in a neighbouring village panchayat, but there was no scope for such activity as land within the town panchayat’s jurisdiction was under IDPL over which the local body had no rights. Unless these vast tracts of land were developed, there was no scope to even rejuvenate some life into the local body’s administration, Mr. Sekar said.

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