Category Archives: Chennai Corporation
By G Saravanan
Published in The New Indian Express, Chennai on March 12, 2012:
CHENNAI: The Corporation’s annual budget, to be unveiled on Monday at Ripon Building, will be an acid test for the AIADMK, as the party which romped home in the historic council with a brute majority, has to roll out its vision for the development of the civic body.
According to sources, the 2012-13 budget, which is the first after Corporation’s expansion in October last, is likely to give more thrust to education and infrastructure. Though the civic body is likely to unveil several schemes for the education sector in the budget, there are strong rumours that the new AIADMK administration is mulling to hike property tax for commercial buildings to meet its increasing expenditure.
On Monday, chairman of the Chennai Corporation’s standing committee on taxation and finance K Santhanam will present the budget and Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy will commence the session with inaugural remarks. As per tradition, the Mayor would unveil the schemes proposed for the financial year and he has the privilege to add more schemes (if necessary) at the end of the discussion.
Besides, the budget will focus on additional funds for infrastructure development in expanded areas of the Corporation and strengthening the educational institutions and primary health centres maintained by it.
The civic body is likely to announce its plan to construct new flyovers in the city limits, as several recently added areas lack mechanism to reduce road congestion.
Speaking to Express about the budget, a senior member of the council said the residents of Thiruvotriyur, Manali, Nolambur, Madhavaram and Maduravoyal are looking forward to infrastructure development projects in their neighborhood, which was recently annexed to the city Corporation limit.
“The basic problem faced by the civic body is acute shortage of conservancy staff. Any decision or announcement on adding workforce and deployment of more men and machine in the recently annexed areas will improve the importance of the budget for the residents from suburban areas,” he opined.
Published in The New Indian Express, Chennai, on March 5, 2012:
CHENNAI: Pitching for a change in the mindset of youth for the country’s progress, Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy on Saturday advised students of the Madras Veterinary College (MVC) to desist from watching tele-serials, which, according to him, feeds only bad thoughts into budding minds.
Addressing the students during their Hostel Day celebrations here, Duraisamy said, “Don’t watch tele-serials as they bring in a lot of criminal thoughts and are responsible for leading young minds astray.” Besides, the Mayor also advised the students, especially girls, to use their mobile phones judiciously.
“Conversing on mobile phones for long hours would not only waste your precious time, but is also very harmful to health,” Duraisamy advised the students, who reacted with a thunderous applause.
Moving away from the tradition of addressing only from podium, the Mayor, using a cordless mike, stepped down from the stage amid the students and started interacting with them just as their professors would.
He advised the students to read newspapers regularly in order to improve their general knowledge, which, in turn, would help them face any kind of competitive examination.
Going a step ahead, the Mayor asked Dr R Prabakaran, the Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Veterinary Sciences and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS), to make it compulsory for all veterinary students to read newspapers apart from their subject textbooks.
Asking the veterinary students to think beyond their subject, Duraisamy said, “You should not restrict yourselves to the veterinary profession after completing courses from TANUVAS, as competitive examinations would open new vistas in your careers.” He also rewarded students who came up with correct answers to general knowledge questions posed by him, with a cash prize.
CHENNAI: In a first-of-its-kind move, the Chennai Corporation has planned to open 1000 street-side hygienic eateries in its limits to sell idli, meals, curd and sambhar rice at nominal prices.
On a trial basis, we would open about 200 such outlets in the first phase; depending on the response, more such eateries will be opened, Mayor Saidai Duraisamy told councillors during the Council meet on Wednesday.
“The objective of these fast food centres is to provide quality food for Chennaiites and these food stalls will be named after Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa,” Duraisamy said amidst thundering applause from the ruling AIADMK councillors.
The street-side food outlets will be a boon to school and college students from economically weaker sections, daily wage labourers and auto drivers in the city, the Mayor said.
After a lengthy discussion, which only praised the Mayor for introducing the scheme, the Corporation Council adopted the resolution seeking a nod from the State government to start street-side eateries.
According to the plan, a team led by City Corporation health officer would execute and monitor the scheme in coordination with revenue and Corporation zonal officials.
The team would periodically review the quality and quantity of food items (prepared at the civic body’s common kitchen) served in these stalls that would be entirely operated by the Chennai Corporation.
By G Saravanan
Published in The New Indian Express, Chennai on Feb 23, 2012:
CHENNAI: The expansion of Chennai Corporation’s boundary from 174 sq km to 426 sq km might have brought cheer to lakhs of residents living in suburban areas, but not to the Veterinary Department of the Chennai Corporation, which now has a huge task at hand.
After the merger of 42 adjacent local bodies with the Chennai Corporation, the department now has almost double the number of stray dogs to be covered under the civic body’s Animal Birth Control-Anti-Rabies (ABC-AR) vaccination programme.
“We used to immunise about 1,000 stray dogs on an average every month for the past five to six years, but it has nearly doubled after the expansion of Chennai Corporation limits last October,” Dayalan, Veterinary Officer in Chennai Corporation, told City Express.
“While the figure was about 1,600 in December last, in January, it rose to 1,950 stray dogs, as the area that was added to the existing Chennai Corporation limits is vast,” he added.
Under the immunisation programme, stray dogs in Chennai city (including from the recently annexed areas) are being caught and immunised under the Animal Birth Control programme with the assistance of non-governmental organisations like the SPCA, Blue Cross of India and People for Animals. The entire programme is being adhered to as per the Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules 2001, Dayalan said.
The consistent immunisation programme in effect for over a decade has helped the Chennai Corporation keep the killer rabies at bay.
“There has been no case of rabies in the city in the last few years and complaints of the stray dog menace have also come down drastically over the years,” Dr P Kuganantham, Corporation Health Officer told City Express.
“However, we have to strictly enforce our Animal Birth Control-Anti-Rabies (ABC-AR) vaccination programme in those suburban areas that were annexed with the Corporation last October, as a few cases of rabies were reported from those areas last year,” Kuganantham added.
There were 120 deaths due to rabies reported in 1996. The number came down to five by mid-2000 and in the last few years, there have been no reports of rabies from the city areas, a Corporation official said.
Published in The New Indian Express, Chennai on February 16, 2012:
CHENNAI: Despite the Chennai Corporation’s ‘routine’ fogging and other such operations, mosquito menace continues unabated across the city. Barring a few posh localities, where the civic body gives more emphasis and regular fogging, considering the influence of high-profile residents, most parts of the Chennai Corporation, from Edayanchavadi in the north to Uthandi in the south, are reeling under the constant attack of these winged monsters throughout the day.
According to sources in Ripon Building, out of the total complaints registered at the Corporation’s public helpline number (1913), about 70 per cent were mosquito related. Though most of the mosquito-menace reports (from January to April) used to emerge from areas of north Chennai in the previous years due to presence of water hyacinths on Captain Cotton Canal and Buckingham Canal, this time it has been a different story, as substantial number of complaints came from the central and south Chennai areas.
Admitting that there has been a spurt in mosquitoes in the Corporation areas, City Health Officer P Kugananthan told City Express that the civic body is taking all possible steps to contain the menace. “We have asked our field officers to monitor and intensify the fogging and fumigation operations in the severly affected areas. We have also instructed them to increase it on a need basis,” he said.
Though complaints are pouring in from all parts of the city about the menace, the areas on the banks of water channels are the highly affected.
“If the situation goes unchecked, it will lead to a health disaster in the Corporation areas,” A Rajan of Thiruvotriyur told City Express.
According to sources, repeated complaints of mosquito menace were reported from Thiruvotriyur, Washermenpet, Kodungaiyur, Vyasarpadi, Pulianthope, Kolathur, Madhavaram, Mathur, Manali, Perambur, Anna Nagar, Mogappair, Ambattur, Maduravoyal, Virugambakam, Ramapuram, Madipakkam, Adambakkam, Alandur, Nanganallur, Velachery, Mylapore, Ashok Nagar, Adyar and Thiruvanmiyur.
As the menace goes unchecked, several residents welfare association both in north and south Chennai areas have appealed to the Corporation Commissioner to conduct massive fogging along the water canals crisscrossing the city to stop mosquito breeding.
By G Saravanan
Published in The New Indian Express, Chennai on Feb 8, 2012:
CHENNAI: With a view to streamline its property tax assessment and collection system, the Chennai Corporation will soon launch a comprehensive field survey of properties in the Adyar Zone using GIS-based property tax information system.
According to sources, the civic body will soon call for tenders to conduct the comprehensive field survey of properties in the Adyar Zone, comprising 13 wards (from 170 to 182) to implement the technology-enabled system.
The work covering about one lakh property tax assessees in the zone would be completed in three months, sources said. Adyar Zone has been identified for the pilot project as it has the largest number of property tax assessees among the civic body’s 15 zones. After completion of the survey work in this residential zone, the civic body will implement the system in all 15 zones, in a phased manner.
As part of the project, officials of the civic body studied similar GIS-based systems adopted in 15 different corporations in the country to identify the different types of technical problems faced by such civic bodies during implementation.
The data collected by digital mapping from the National Remote Sensing Centre, an important segment of ISRO, would be used for the implementation of the system. Data pertaining to property tax number, patta, power and water supply about the assesse would also be included in the system.
Once the system is implemented in the entire Corporation limits, all new applications seeking building approvals would be registered with the system and cases under assessment of property would be detected easily, sources said.
Published in The New Indian Express, Chennai on Jan 28, 2012:
CHENNAI: Taking strong exception to the repeated brawls breaking out inside the Corporation during council meetings between DMK and AIADMK members, Mayor S Duraisamy ordered the ruling party members to adhere to the decorum of the House or face eviction.
Reprimanding a group of AIADMK members, who began a verbal duel with the opposition DMK members, Duraisamy said, “When a Mayor calls for normalcy inside the House, all the members, even if they are from the ruling party, have to obey it. If you (AIADMK members) denounce the order, I will not hesitate to order eviction to bring order to the Council.”
The issue was triggered by the Open Space Reservation (OSR) violations by the DMK head office, Anna Arivalayam.
Irked with the attitude shown by a group of AIADMK councillors, Duraisamy further added, “Actions such as entering into a brawl or using unparliamentary words against the opposition DMK councillors would only defame the reputation of Amma (Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa) and I don’t want any such embarrassment to the Puratchi Thalaivi, especially from the Chennai Corporation Council proceedings.”
He went on to chide the councillors, many of whom were women, “If you want to prove your muscle power, go outside (The Ripon Buildings)and prove wherever you want. This historic Council Hall is a place for healthy discussions and this tradition should be honoured at any cost,” he said firmly.
It may be noted that the Mayor had, in last month’s council meet, also taken umbrage to the fact that AIADMK councillors were provoking DMK councillors to stage walkouts for no valid reason. “The House has a decorum which elected members should give due reverence to. We should only witness heated debates – fist-fights are not good for a healthy democracy,” Duraisamy advised the members, in closing.
Published in The New Indian Express on Jan 28, 2012:
CHENNAI: The AIADMK-led Chennai Corporation council on Friday sought the nod of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to initiate legal action against former Mayor M Subramanian for allegedly misusing his post.
Announcing the decision to the House during the monthly Council meet, Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy, who was responding to a query raised by a AIADMK councillor G Kandhan (Ward-172), said, “Former Mayor Subramanian, with vested interests, widened the Riverview Road that runs along the Adyar River in Kotturpuram, to promote a real estate firm owned by a relative of a former DMK transport minister K N Nehru.”
As promised in last month’s Council meet, Duraisamy submitted a report on the irregularities committed by the then mayor Subramanian to benefit the former chief minister M Karunanidhi and former minister Nehru.
While submitting the report in the House, Duraisamy said, “Preliminary reports have confirmed that the then mayor had violated Corporation rules and misused his authority to benefit a few frontline DMK leaders.”
The road, which was hardly 15 feet wide, was widened to about 60 feet without the required permission from the PWD, which possesses the land for the purpose of mitigating flood water from the Adyar River during monsoon seasons, he said.
“During the probe for real facts behind the road widening issue, it has clearly emerged that the then Mayor Subramanian clandestinely misused his official position and bent the civic body’s rules to suit the realtor close to former minister Nehru,” Duraisamy charged.
CHENNAI: Highlighting the problem faced by residents of north Chennai because of garbage dumping at Kodungaiyur yard, Perambur MLA A Soundararajan on Friday appealed to Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy to redress the issue immediately.
Addressing councillors during the monthly Council meet here at Ripon Building, Soundararajan said, “People living in and around Kodungaiyur are suffocating due to the stench emanating from the yard where there is indiscriminate dumping of garbage. An immediate solution would help them.”
While promising a permanent solution to the issue within a year, Duraisamy said that the dumping activities at Kodungaiyur were on even before the arrival of residential areas near it.
However, Soundararajan immediately intervened and asserted that facts have to be recorded correctly in the House and the fact is that the dumping activities (at Kodungaiyur) had began in 1982 only while residential colonies in the area were in existence since 1972.
Reacting to the MLA’s rebuttal, Duraisamy assured Soundararajan that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has more concerns for the Kodungaiyur people than him and the issue would be redressed accordingly. He also invited the MLA to attend the next Council meeting, where garbage-related issues would be debated thoroughly. The MLA also raised the issue of frequent burning of garbage inside the yard and the Mayor quickly promised to look into it.
CHENNAI: Terming the Chennai Corporation’s latest move as a ‘final act’ to retrieve open space reservation (OSR) land from the DMK headquarters — Anna Arivalayam — Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy on Friday urged the State to pass a notification to reclaim the land that was illegally encroached by the DMK for decades.
While replying to a question by AIADMK’s 117th Ward Councillor P Arumugam, Duraisamy informed the Council that the DMK Trust, which maintains the land, has not issued any gift deed for the 1,893 sqm OSR land to CMDA yet.
Irked over the AIADMK councillors raking up the issue again, DMK’s floor leader Subash Chandra Bose objected to the discussion and asked the Mayor to focus on public welfare issues that required the Council’s immediate attention. After Bose’s observation, a heated exchange ensued between AIADMK and DMK members. Condemning the unfriendly gesture of the AIADMK members inside the Hall and for giving undue importance to the land issue in every Council meet, DMK members staged a walkout.
Later, the Mayor said the Council is waging its final battle to retrieve the land from Anna Arivalayam.
Recalling the history of the dispute, he said, “The DMK Trust, which got a conditional exemption for maintaining the OSR land after promising to develop an orphanage inside its plot, hasn’t constructed any orphanage.”