news Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 05:30
The RK Nagar Assembly constituency seat in Chennai has been in the news lately following the resignation of AIADMK MLA, P Vetrivel. Though no official word has been forthcoming from the AIADMK, the buzz is that party chief J Jayalalithaa will contest from the seat, after assuming charge as Chief Minister. There is also speculation that Jayalalithaa's aide Sasikala may contest from this seat, though as of now there is nothing to back this rumour. Jayalalithaa or Sasikala, no matter who contests from the seat, RK Nagar is set to become a VIP constituency, and that's the kind of relief people in this suburban area are looking for. One of the big issues faced by residents is lack of good water. Are five pots of water enough to eat, drink and wash up for an average family in Chennai’s hot summer? Well, yes, according to the Metro Water department which has been supplying water to the residents of Moopanar Nagar, RK Nagar in North Chennai for almost four months, ever since residents began receiving dark- coloured water in their taps. The water coming in through the pipelines reeked of sewage smell rendering it difficult for human usage. Since they live in an area that does not use its bore water due to its saline taste, the residents were forced to get water from the pipelines. “It’s very dirty for us to use,” Selvabakiyam, a resident of RK Nagar, tells The News Minute. As a substitute, the polluted water has been compensated for by a steady supply of water tankers carrying clean water every alternate day by the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Metro Water) for the last four months. Though every other day, Metro Water Board lorries line up in the five streets of Moopanar Nagar, RK Nagar, the 3,500-strong population in the residential area is allowed a strict quota based on tokens - each family can only collect five kodams (pots) of water from the tanker.    But for the residents the water allowance is not enough.  “The allowance is one kodam (pot) per family. If they are giving water in lorries, they should at least send a big lorry,” says Selvabakiyam. Residents blame their water issues on drainage seeping into the faulty pipeline. According to S Shankari, another resident in the area who is also the person in-charge of allocating water to each family on her street, the government needed to supply more water per house or just directly repair the pipeline instead.  “We don’t water every other day. First tell them to repair the pipeline and solve the problem once and for all,” she says.   “How can five kodam be sufficient for one family? Tell me.” S Shankari asks. It’s not just lack of clean, consumable water that residents suffer from. The dark, muddled water has also resulted in infections and allergies, residents say. Following recent media reports in the last two days, there has been increased activity by the Metro Water Board with repairs being conducted on the damaged metro water pipelines. This is in contrast to the earlier response by officials who brushed off complaints by residents.