VILLUPURAM: It’s been a lifelong dream for 31-year-old P Chandrasekaran to see good roads in his small village. But after waiting in vain for 25 years, the Chennai techie, who had spent all his growing-up years in the village, fulfilled his dream by laying a 280-metre-long concrete road with Rs 10.5 lakh he had saved for his wedding. Nallavur is a village of 350 families about 18km from Vanur in the Villupuram district. It has seven streets and nearly 50 families, including Chandrasekaran’s kin, live on Eswaran Koil Street.
Speaking to TNIE, P Chandrasekaran said, “I was a primary class student when roads were last laid in our village. I have completed my studies and working as a software engineer now but the old roads remain just the same with no improvement.”
The BE graduate, whose father is a small trader and mother a housewife, got a work-from-home option during the pandemic. Whenever he got break from his work, he started visiting panchayat and block development offices with his request for new roads as every day at least one person slipped or fell on the muddy roads in his village and got hurt. Finally, officials said unless they get the funds, they cannot re-lay the roads.
“I tried to get clearance under Namaku Naame scheme. When I approached officials, they asked me to pay half the estimated cost for laying the road for my street,” said Chandrasekaran. He found that after some tax deductions, the final fund allocated by the government may not be enough for the road work. So, he decided to spend the whole amount from his own savings.
“Initially, he didn’t get approval to spend full money for the work. Some local politicians asked us to stop our son and even threatened us indirectly. But he stood strong and completed the road work within a few weeks last month.” said Chandrasekaran’s parents S Perumal and P Lakshmi.
‘Faced resistance from political outfits’
Some officials in Villupuram District Rural Development Agency helped him get special permission from Villupuram district collector to lay the road with his own fund. “Under Namku Naame scheme, people can bear onethird of the cost of public welfare projects and in villages with predominantly SC and ST population, one-fifth of the estimated project cost can be pooled in by people to implement projects under the scheme.
This could be the first time in Villupuram district where one individual has spent the entire money for a public project,” said a senior official of Villupuram DRDA. “Even after getting the approval, I faced some resistance from political outfits. But with the support of residents, I was able to lay the 280-metre-long, 14-ft-wide, 15-cm-deep cement concrete road,” Chandrasekaran said.
A Ezhumalai, a neighbour, said with palpable pride, “Now people of other streets view our road with envy and say they want a person like Chandrasekaran.” Villagers now want the government to felicitate Chandrasekaran.