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Jaya-nurtured RK Nagar struggles as announcements only on paper
State-of-the-art housing facilities for slum dwellers, road over bridges for motorists, multi-crore fish sales complex for fishermen, and mobile and modern hospitals for women were promised to the residents of congested R K Nagar in north Chennai.
However, the high-profile constituency represented by former chief minister J Jayalalithaa and AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran is now one of the neglected constituency, according to civic activists and local residents.
A stench would hit you when you walk into Singara Velar Nagar, Pudhu Manai Kuppam, Kasima Nagar and Korrukupet, exposing the sanitation issues. Open defecation is still an issue near Korrukupet railway station. The labour-dominated constituency had always elected heavyweights from the ruling AIADMK, however, nothing much has changed.
“Jayalalithaa promised so many welfare schemes and only a couple of them materialised. But by and large, the major projects are still pending,” said K Bharathi, president, South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association. “Jaya promised new houses slum-dwellers and modern fish sales complex for Kasimedu fishing harbour. But, both the projects are yet to take off. Dhinakaran had also promised new mobile hospitals and job opportunities, but nothing materialised.”
On Monday, Dhinakaran told reporters at the airport that RK Nagar was being neglected by the State. “The residents were being punished for electing me. I am finding it difficult to attend to their issues due to the lack of government support,” he had told DTNext during a recent interaction. Admitting that he was not able to do much, he said that he was attending the basic needs of the residents through party workers.
“The silver lining is that the drinking water supply, metro rail project and new community college came up when ‘Amma’ was alive, but now there is no cooperation from government officials,” former RK Nagar MLA P Vettrivel told DT Next. The residents submitted hundreds of forms seeking better housing projects and Swaach Bharat toilets, but this again was turned down by authorities, he added.
However, senior officials of the Chennai Corporation and Municipal Administration contradicted the claims that RK Nagar was being neglected. In the past three years, new tahsildar and corporation offices were constructed. A community college too was inaugurated. More than 80 per cent of the street lights there are LED and the metro rail project too is progressing. A dozen Amma canteens, Swachh Bharat group toilets and new parks have also come up. Also, drinking water supply has been augmented, official sources said.