CHENNAI: K S Raghavan, general secretary, United Forum of Nanganallur Welfare Associations (UFNWA), doesn’t hesitate before stating the development of this neighbourhood, a locality in southern Chennai with a mix of government pensioners and highly educated youth, owes much to the association. “Right from the provision of water, electricity, storm water drains to laying of roads, the forum has been very instrumental in addressing civic issues of residents,” he explains.
Formerly under the Alandur municipality, Nanganallur was integrated into the extended limits of Chennai Corporation in 2011. Although he cannot recall the exact date of UFNWA’s formation, Raghavan says the forum, which is an umbrella organisation of 34 resident associations, was founded about 20 years back. The forum takes care of the welfare of more than one lakh residents of Nanganallur. A foremost issue concerning residents is the power cuts, which happen at irregular hours during summer.
“A long pending demand (of more than 6 years) has been the installation of a 110 KV substation that can address the issue. Secondly, Metro Water is being provided on alternate days. But we expect that situation to change once we start receiving desalinated water (treated from sea),” says Raghavan, who moved into Nanganallur in 1972. Another demand for which the forum will petition the authorities is the need for small buses for places like Alandur Metro Rail station and Velachery. The association, which acts as a bridge between elected officials and residents, considers ‘middlemen’ as unwanted and unwarranted. According to Raghavan, “These middlemen who claim to have direct contacts with decision makers are nothing more than spoilers. They spoil our initiatives, besides wrecking hopes of its realisation.”
Instead, the association prefers to take up the civic issue directly with their local representatives. “It is we, as residents, who elected them to public offices. If they are not hearing our grievances and taking steps to solve them, we need to move our coins at appropriate corners,” Raghavan says.