Apr 24: On a hot evening in the dusty lanes at Korukupet in North Chennai, a loudpeaker fitted autorickshaw criss-crosses the neighbourhood, blaring out welfare schemes of AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, seeking re-election from her Dr Radha Krishnan Nagar constituency.
"See the slum clearance board tenements at Power Kuppam and Ranganathapuram, Meenambal Nagar overbridge, the concrete roads, tar topped roads, Amma Kudineer (drinking water) Centre..." loudspeakers fill the air with AIADMK propaganda in this heavily congested, largely downscale area.
The "achievements" of Jayalalithaa for the rest of Tamil Nadu also finds mention without fail. Moving into interior neighbourhoods like VOC Nagar in Tondiarpet, New Washermenpet and Royapuram, one finds several mini-buses, an initiative of the AIADMK regime, negotiating busy markets and residential areas on clean cement and tar topped roads.
Though the ruling party has boasted of various welfare schemes, residents aired a slew of grievances when this correspondent visited the constituency.
"Our area fills with columns of smoke the moment garbage is burnt at nearby Kodungayur dumpyard," says N Sathyaraj, a long time resident of Netaji Nagar. He also alleged that several residents had respiratory problems due to it.
Authorities, however, denied the charge saying that, "If at all burning happened" in the dumpyard it was the handiwork of miscreants, for which action had already been taken.
Sathyaraj rued that many schemes intended especially for the weaker sections had not reached them. "This is mainly a lower and middle class area. Strangely, we do not know why schemes like Amma Pharmacy and farm fresh outlets have not been opened up here."
He said trucks selling farm fresh vegetables also do not visit their areas. A fish vendor, Desapattu in VOC Nagar fish market shows overflowing sewage in the market. "This is the constituency of our Chief Minister... you take a look for yourself.
I do not want to comment anything." The market does not have proper facilities for both vendors and public, he claimed. According to another resident R Loganathan, civic infrastructure has not improved even after Jayalalithaa won from here.