Chennai MPs used 100 per cent MPLADS funds with focus on bus shelter projects

Bus shelters continue to be preferred facility as they constitute 35 of 137 projects implemented at Rs 50 crore cost
Bus stand roof constructed with the funds allocated by Central Chennai MP Dayanidhi Maran at Anna square near Marina, in Chennai
Bus stand roof constructed with the funds allocated by Central Chennai MP Dayanidhi Maran at Anna square near Marina, in Chennai | P Jawahar

CHENNAI : All the three incumbent MPs of Chennai- Kalanidhi Veerasamy (Chennai North), Dayanidhi Maran (Chennai Central) and Thamizhachi Thangapandian (Chennai South) have recorded a near 100% utilisation of funds under the MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). Bus shelters continue to be the domestic favourite, as they constitute 35 of the 137 projects implemented at a cost of Rs 50 crore, between 2019 and 2024.

Construction of ‘upgraded’ bus shelters serves a dual purpose, as apart from gaining public favour, it also gives the MPs visibility as their names feature on the shelters.

Up north, Veerasamy has carried out 61 projects under MPLADS during the period, according to data obtained from Chennai corporation—the nodal agency that coordinates and monitors the implementation of MPLADS.

Of these, 24 are construction of bus shelters. At Stanley Nagar on CB road in Royapuram, two new bus shelters were set up on either side of the road by spending Rs 20 lakh in 2022.

However, only 44c route bus stops here, and there were hardly any takers when TNIE visited the spot. Kumari (name changed), 54, who lives right opposite the bus shelter said, “There are no buses other than 44c and 157 (because of a temporary detour) that stop here. Why do we need a shelter when there aren’t any buses? We don’t even have a direct connection to Central.”

According to residents there, many take a share auto to Mint bus terminus to take their regular buses to work.

At Kasimedu, the MP had constructed three new bus shelters on the Ennore express road. Jayaraj S, an auto driver, said that a bus shelter already existed in the location, and in 2022 it was rebuilt using stainless steel railings. “There was a concrete shelter here and it was already functional. The new shelter is definitely welcome but it wasn’t the need of the hour. The roads have not been relaid in years and are only repaired from time to time,” he said. The other bus shelter constructed near Kamaraj Nagar was unanimously welcomed by residents, as no shelter existed before and commuters had to wait on the roadside.

In Central Chennai, Dayanidhi Maran had taken up 21 works of which seven were initiated in the last four months leading up to the elections. More than half of the projects (12) were taken up in the last 12 months.

Among his largest projects was the construction of a bus shelter on arterial Kamarajar Salai near Anna Square bus stand at a sanctioned cost of Rs 1.2 crore. The Muthamizharignar Kalaignar Centenary Bus Station was constructed as part of the Kalaignar centenary celebrations. Earlier, there was an open bus shelter in its place. Besides this, he also took up the construction of a community centre on Vellalar street for Rs 2.5 crore.

In Chennai South, Thamizhachi Thangapandian was allocated Rs 19 crore, including a carry-over of Rs 7.9 crore under MPLADS. Of this, nearly 30% (`5.5 crore) has been spent on constructing a new community hall on CP Ramasamy Road in Alwarpet. As per corporation sources, a smaller community hall had existed here and was in heavy demand. Residents from nearby Govindasami Nagar and other places preferred booking the hall because of its location and low rent.

Other than this, she also constructed 10 new bus shelters.

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