Let citizen power add to Chennai’s makeover – Times of India

Chennai News
As a resident, you may have needed a park for your locality, but the corporation may have built a drain. You may have wanted a hospital, but the corporation may have re-laid a good road again. Do you feel you don’t have a say in public projects in your area?
Hold on. The year 2023 may be different for you. After a decade of framing rules, the Tamil Nadu government has finally set up the area sabhas, an urban version of grama sabhas. As a resident, you are going to get accountability from your councillors as he or she will hold meetings with you.

You also get to convey what you want and what you don’t want for your area in the meetings. Third, you get to be the guardian preventing corruption and malpractice, as you will have access to details of projects, data, finance, and the power to inspect projects as well.
The first of the area sabha meetinigs in Chennai will be held on January 26, the Republic Day. Let’s hope politicians do not flood these sabhas with their men and make it a farce.
Live electric cables dangling over flooded roads was a perfect recipe for a civic disaster, particularly in the monsoon season.
Though it has been 10 years since eight major areas were added to Chennai, none of them has got underground sewage connections nor have the overhead Tangedco lines gone beneath the surface.
With multi-crore projects from Metrowater and Tangedco, several areas like ECR, OMR, Maduravoyal, Ambattur and Tiruvottiyur that have been added may finally get to be as good as T Nagar, Adyar and Anna Nagar.
It would also save you several thousand s of rupees that you pay to private sewage tankers to get rid of the waste in
your sump. And during rains, hopefully, there will be no more snapping of electric cables.
Legacy landfills of Chennai — in Perungudi and Kodungaiyur, spanning across several hundred acres — have been sore spots. It has affected not just people through its stench, it has for long been affecting the ground water and air-quality through burning.
In 2023, there was a green promise of converting these legacy sights into an eco-forest with a lush green cover, walkways, benches to sit and a play area for children.
A novel method of biomining that has been successful in many parts of the country is being followed here. In fact, about 40 % of the Perungudi dumpyard has been ridof legacy waste mountains.
There’s a caveat though. Although legacy waste is being removed scientifically, there’s no permanent solution to handle daily waste. On one side, legacy waste is being removed while on the other, fresh mountains are being created in the same yards.
Lack of adequate drinking water supply and storm water drain infrastructures has been a double whammy for the city.
The coming year gives a ray of hope for the poor, mostly those in north Chennai, that they would not have to rely on water tankers that come every alternate days, but would have piped supply 24×7 if the Metrowater proposals take shape.
While the city braced heavy showers in 2022 better comparedto the previous year, thanks to the storm water drains built in 2022, there’s still a long way to go for the city to compare itself to Singapore or London when it comes to flood resilience. Many suburbs like Porur and Mugalivakkam still get flooded with knee-deep water.
The lessons learned from the year’s rains and flood mitigation should help the authorities plan better projects in the future and erase flood memories from the minds of people.
Asked what would be her core focus, mayor R Priya said ensuring basic facilities to the added areas was her top priority. Despite being annexed to Chennai Corporation 10 years ago, these areas still lack good roads, storm water drains, underground sewage or adequate garbage collection facilities.
Even in 2022, the corporation’s work on roads and drains largely
focused on areas like T Nagar, Santhome, Adyar and Nungambakkam, to name a few. In 2023, it plans to expand into the peripheries where the urban population has moved in large numbers.
In fact, Sholinganallur has the highest number of voters — more than 4 lakh — and the neighbourhood contributes a sizeable sum as property tax. Though resdients there deserve
their rightful returns,
they pay water tax without water in their taps, and sewage tax without sewage lines.

Source: https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMidGh0dHBzOi8vdGltZXNvZmluZGlhLmluZGlhdGltZXMuY29tL2NpdHkvY2hlbm5haS9sZXQtY2l0aXplbi1wb3dlci1hZGQtdG8tY2hlbm5haXMtbWFrZW92ZXIvYXJ0aWNsZXNob3cvOTY1ODc5NDQuY21z0gFvaHR0cHM6Ly9tLnRpbWVzb2ZpbmRpYS5jb20vY2l0eS9jaGVubmFpL2xldC1jaXRpemVuLXBvd2VyLWFkZC10by1jaGVubmFpcy1tYWtlb3Zlci9hbXBfYXJ0aWNsZXNob3cvOTY1ODc5NDQuY21z?oc=5