CHENNAI: Formed in 1995, initially as a youth association, the Senthil Nagar Youth and Resident Welfare Association (SNYRWA) at Kolathur has been working for the benefit of the neighbourhood for the last twenty years. It was started by the youth of the area to promote various activities, and the association now has more than 350 members.
Senthil Nagar has a large number of residents who are either working in or have retired from the nearby ICF, Railway offices or TVS companies. SNYRWA president G Aby Varghese moved there in 1974 and was instrumental in reviving a then flagging residential association. “Though part of Chennai Corporation for all these years, our locality was in bad shape, perhaps by virtue of being on the periphery of corporation limits,” he says. Driven by youth, all the civic woes plaguing the locality were set right one by one.
The main problem was water stagnation. Every rainy season, the locality would suffer massive floods and water would be stagnant for months, posing a number of hurdles for residents. “Being a low-lying area, water would stay for about three months from November till January-end. Senthil Nagar was once what SIDCO Nagar in Villivakkam is right now,” he says. It was then that the association started to actively engage civic officials to set right these anomalies. In the early 2000s, the welfare group petitioned the corporation repeatedly — so much so, that over 150 letters were sent to the Mayor’s office in less than 6 months from Senthil Nagar. The then Mayor, M K Stalin came personally and heard their grievances. A canal was constructed along the 100 Feet Road to siphon off the flood water which inundated the area during the rainy season.
The approach taken by SNYRWA when confronted with civic problems is simple. First, they would write letters to all concerned officials from bottom to top level, which would then be followed by filing RTI applications on the status of their complaints, in case their grievances are not resolved.
“We have been acknowledged by the civic body as among the few neighbourhoods to have filed a 100% property tax continuously for years. Thus, we know that we have kept our end of the bargain clean,” Varghese says.
As a residential welfare group, SNYRWA has been trying hard to service welfare interests of residents. “We also extend full support to local officials towards implementation of welfare schemes in our locality,” he adds.
To solve civic issues in the locality, the association starts by writing letters to the concerned officials at each level — from bottom, right to the top. If they don’t hear back or their grievances are still not resolved, they follow it up by filing RTI applications to know the status of their complaints