Councillor Talk: A Murugesan dreams of green roads in Ward 200 – Semmanchery

Ward 200 Councillor A Murugesan aims to bring a commercial complex, state-of-the-art playground, and other physical infrastructure to the ward.

Councillor Murugesan was born and brought up in Semmanchery. His political journey began in 1996. He started off as a Youth Wing Leader with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). Then he climbed up the political ladder and became a Panchayat Councillor of Semmanchery in 2006 when the area was not part of GCC. This is his second stint as a councillor, representing Ward 200 of GCC.

“Yes, very glad to hear that,” says A Murugesan, the Ward 200 Councillor of Greater Chennai Corporation. He was on a call when I entered his office.

“We won the court case and now we can build another playground in Ward 200,” he responded to me, explaining the context. “Some people went to court to get a stay order on us constructing a playground for children. But, we won and we will complete the work soon.”

Ward No 200

  • Name of Councillor: A Murugesan
  • Party: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)
  • Age: 51
  • Educational Qualification: BBA
  • Contact: 9445467200 / 9444442707
ward 200 gcc map
Map of Ward 200. Source: Greater Chennai Corporation

Primary goals for Ward 200

What are your immediate targets for Ward 200?

We want Semmanchery to have an underground sewerage system. We are in the process of fund allocation at the moment. I am hopeful that Ward 200 will get the infrastructure soon.

Moreover, we are looking to install more streetlights in the ward. Soon after we lay pucca roads, we will install street lights too.

Another target is to build a dining hall in the Samudhaaya Nala Koodam (GCC’s Community Hall). We are trying to procure MLA funds for the same.

Semmanchery is a newly added area to GCC. Moreover, it is on the southern edge of Chennai. How do you think the ward can be developed more?

If we get infrastructure like commercial complexes in our ward, it will attract more people to our ward, which will snowball into getting more amenities. We have 4.5 acres of land in the ward to build this.

There is also a piece of land near Sathyabama College to create a state-of-the-art stadium. There is a high possibility that these projects can be taken up soon, and I am hopeful to see more improvement in the ward.

How have you spent your Ward Development Fund?

We used Rs. 28 lakhs out of Rs. 35 lakhs of the Ward Development Fund to build a public gymnasium for youngsters to make use of. The construction is going on now.

This year’s Ward Development Fund will be spent on building a Samudhaaya Nala Koodam in Tsunami Nagar and a library in the ward.

How is the preparation for Area Sabhas going? When is your ward’s Area Sabha?

We have picked the Area Sabha representatives [otherwise known as Ward Committee members]. We are yet to tell people about the platform. It will happen soon.

Read more: In a first in Chennai, residents share platform with civic officials in Area Sabha meetings

How do people reach out to you to share grievances?

I am always on the field, especially in the evenings to check if the ward and the residents have any issues. Moreover, people reach out to me via phone calls to share their complaints. I have even received calls and attended to issues at 2 am too.

Issues in Ward 200

Semmanchery has been a flood hotspot in Chennai. What has been done to address that?

Semmanchery is the entrance to Chennai from the south. This area has seen a lot of damage due to floods because water stagnates here first.

In 2021, the Thirupugazh Committee studied the flood hotspots in our area. For Rs. 176 crores, flood mitigation works, including constructing stormwater drains are close to completion. Three-fourths of the work has been completed.

Another set of flood mitigation works for Rs. 56 crores have begun in Jawahar Nagar and Tsunami Nagar in Semmanchery. Around 10% of the work is done and it will take two years for the stormwater drains to be constructed.

Residents complain that there are water supply issues and poor roads in Ward 200. What action has been taken?

Water supply issues have almost been sorted out. Water from Veeranam Lake along with water from the Nemmeli desalination plant will be going to houses in Tsunami Nagar. We just got the approval.

In other areas, people generally use groundwater here, with a bit of water from the desalination plant.

Read more: Chennai residents question quality of water from Nemmeli desalination plant

We will start laying new roads too. Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, Kamakshi Nagar and other places are going to get new roads. The works have been sanctioned and we will complete them shortly.

There is a housing board in Semmanchery. What issues are they facing?

They are facing sewage blockage quite frequently. But we sort it out and clear the blockage when we hear complaints.

Also, there are frequent power cuts in the housing board. We are always talking with TNEB officials to sort out the issues. The housing board also does not have enough capacity to power heavy-load appliances, which leads to the fuse breakage.

We also built a new toilet with modern facilities for them. There are two toilets for women, three toilets for men and one for persons with disabilities.

Any other issues pertaining to Semmanchery?

We want a bigger hospital in Semmanchery. Currently, there are two doctors who provide basic medical services in the UPHC. But we want a larger structure with more beds and to provide specialised treatments.

Vision for Chennai and Ward 200

What is your vision for Ward 200 and Chennai?

When I became the councillor in 2022, I had collated a wishlist for my ward. I have written down what development works every street needs. I want to ensure every item on the wishlist is fulfilled before the end of my term.

I dream of my ward having a canopy of trees on each street. As a first step, we want to take up one model road and make it green. We have planted around 100 trees and we are waiting for drip irrigation to expand our greening initiative.

Similar to my dream for Ward 200, Pasumai (Green) Chennai must be our goal.

What the residents of Ward 200 say:

Satish Galley, a resident of Ward 200 and Ward Committee member says that seven out of ten Ward Committee members are people living in the housing board built by the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board in Tsunami Nagar. “The ward committee has been selected on the population demography as Tsunami Nagar has more residents. That’s why the housing board needs more representation,” he says.

Abdul, an auto driver from Semmanchery said that the water supply is not regular. “People have to wait to get water these days,”

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