Chennai city grows, amenities shrink
Chennai: It was during the previous DMK regime that the state government kickstarted the expansion of Chennai from 174 to 426 sq km, but almost four years have passed and the transition of the city to an expanded civic infrastructure is still in limbo. This is affecting civic works, like waste management, road repairs and property tax payments. The corporation is yet to recruit full time staff to meet the demands of citizens living in the extended areas.
“Individual houses have become flats and the population has grown several fold, but the corporation has failed to recruit full-time employees. The civic works in the city are currently handled by outsourced employees and there is no accountability,” alleged S. Purushothaman, secretary, Chennai Managaratchi Anaithu Uzhiyar Sangham.
A corporation official said that the city had expanded 300 per cent. New streetlights had been installed in extended areas and more than Rs 800 crores had been spent on developing the infrastructure, roads and drains in the extended areas. Solid waste management had been streamlined, the Revenue Department was in the process of getting streamlined and improvements had taken place. It was unfair to say that expansion had not happened, the official added.
Another corporation official in the revenue department said that the civic body was still waiting for the government’s approval to revise the tax rates and compile the database of old and extended parts of the city. “Once the government permits rationalising of taxes, the procedures will be completed,” said the official.
“Staff shortage is the major problem post expansion and there is no junior engineer for my ward; despite reminders there is no action from Corporation officials,” said DMK councillor Neelankandan of Ambattur.