With many posh residential areas and slums within its boundaries, Thousand Lights Assembly constituency is a study in contrast. Thanks to this diversity, the constituency offers a wide range of challenges to administrators.
In situ development of slums, concerns relating to grabbing of prime real estate, major traffic infrastructure projects, drainage and drinking water supply have emerged as key issues in the election campaign.
With an electorate of 2,43,386, the constituency covers portions of Anna Salai, Greams Road, College Road, Haddows Road, Avvai Shanmugam Salai, Cathedral Road, Arcot Road, Harrington Road and Valluvar Kottam High Road.
The constituency includes Greater Chennai Corporation wards of 112, 109, 110, 117, 113, 118 and 111.
During the previous Assembly elections in 2011, a total of 1,039 cases relating to model code violations were reported from around the Chennai district. Many of the 289 convictions were made in the areas covered by the constituency.
Impact of floods
The constituency has been home to 1.1 lakh electors from slum areas such as Mackay’s Garden on Greams Road, Trustpuram, Kamarajapuram and Kamatchi Nagar.
On the other hand, a major section of this electorate resides in posh residential areas including Poes Garden, Lake Area, Haddows Road, Harrigton Road and Wallace Garden.
The Chennai floods of 2015 had a major impact on most of the areas of this constituency.
“The manifesto by Amma has strengthened our campaign in the constituency. Poor residents want our welfare schemes to continue. The residents in prime residential areas of the constituency are concerned about land grabbing by other parties. This is working in our favour,” said social welfare minister B. Valarmathi (AIADMK).
“We have already connected localities such as Kodambakkam, DMS and Guindy by seven minibus services. Residents have welcomed the services. The detailed project report on an elevated corridor between Poonamallee High Road and Thirumalai Pillai Road has increased the expectations among residents. We need huge funds for the project. The project will be implemented only if we return to power,” said Ms. Valarmathi.
DMK candidate Ku.Ka. Selvam supports in situ development of slums along the Cooum.
“Most tenements along the Cooum had been affected by the floods in 2015. We have planned new tenements for the residents,” said Mr. Selvam.
He has also been pointing to deficiencies in drainage and water supply in many neighbourhoods during the campaign. “Some residents in Poes Garden area do not have adequate water supply. Residents want that to change,” he said.
C. Ambikapathy of the MDMK has also supported in situ development of slums in the constituency during the campaign.
“I know the actual civic problems of the residents. I was a councillor of the locality in 2001,” he said.
M. Shivalingam of the BJP has assured residents of redevelopment of civic infrastructure in school zones such as G.N. Chetty Road.
“The floods have given an opportunity to know more about the deficiencies of civic infrastructure in the city. We have plans to solve the problem,” said Mr. Shivalingam.
Credits The Hindu