CHENNAI: The first thing that the Federation of Velachery Welfare Associations (FVWA) vice president, S Kumar Raja, says is, “You can’t wage a war with civic authorities.” Based on the success of the FVWA, an umbrella organisation of 20 resident welfare bodies, he says that sharing a good rapport with the authorities is essential to getting work done.
“The importance of maintaining friendships with officials — be it the local MLA or a ward Councillor — can’t be underestimated,” Kumar elaborates. The federation was formed in early 1980’s, when Velachery was yet to evolve into an expanded residential hotspot, let alone become the commercial hub it is now.
The federation has 20 individual associations including Ram Nagar, Tansi Nagar and Annai Indira Nagar. It covers ward number 179 and a part of ward 178. In its initial years, there were just 7 residents’ associations. The umbrella body was formed to collectively take up and solve individual grievances.
Kumar says resident welfare associations should have possible solutions ready while meeting officials about grievances. Citing examples, he says, “Flooding is a perennial problem in Velachery. We suggested that a provision be set up near VGP Golden Beach to drain flood water into the sea. It is now carried along the Buckingham Canal and is drained near Muthukadu. Another suggestion that we gave is putting an end to land-filling at Pallikarnai so that the marsh is rejuvenated.”
Among the successes of the federation was the introduction of bus services. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, just three bus routes passed through Velachery — 45A (to Anna Square), 51E (Saidapet) and another route to Tambaram. “After many meetings with MTC officials, we are now connected to different parts of the city. We also asked for and got five minibus services,” says Raja.
Other issues like poor roads and irregular drinking water supply were addressed through talks undertaken by the individual associations and the federation. Today, the federation claims that 95% of the houses receive piped water supply and work on the storm water drains, which began in 2011, is nearing completion.
The Federation of Velachery Welfare Associations (FVWA) has 20 resident welfare bodies under it and has helped meet several needs of the community over the years, such as improving the bus services in the locality, getting regular supply of drinking water, and bettering the condition of roads