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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 11, september 16-30, 2009
How feasible will be
new corporations?
(By A Special Correspondent)

With Government more or less clear that it wants to trifurcate Chennai city into three municipal bodies, the two new ones being headquartered at Ambattur and Tambaram, matters are progressing towards their creation. This is despite several doubts being raised by residents, especially those in South Chennai whose areas will be governed by the Corporation at Tambaram. And these doubts hold good for the Corporation in Ambattur as well.

Public consultations regarding the setting up of a new corporation were held in November last in Tambaram with elected representatives from surrounding areas, such as Alandur and Kovur, in attendance. Members of the public too were present. Since then, a series of meetings has been held and opinions recorded. It was found that there was near unanimity on the need for a corporation on the lines of the Chennai Corporation, but doubts surfaced and persist over the method of implementation.

First and foremost, people in these areas fear that their elected representatives will become unapproachable once they become Councillors of a corporation. They will necessarily have a much larger electorate as opposed to the present scenario where they represent a smaller constituency in their respective municipalities or panchayats.

Secondly, the residents fear that their respective places of residence will lose their individual identities once they are subsumed into a much larger corporation which is viewed as a faceless body. Some residents have quoted the example of the St Thomas’ Mount Panchayat Union which originally had 52 villages in it, many of which are today completely absorbed into the larger Corporation of Chennai.

Thirdly, residents doubt if the simple act of creation of a corporation will be the panacea against all ills. Chennai Corporation, they say, gains its clout from having several industrial and large business units within it which pay large amounts of tax and ensure that the body has sufficient funds to carry out several schemes. Neighbouring corporations can at best be poor cousins with not much funding. They will wind up becoming larger and more unwieldy municipalities with an increased amount of red tape. If this is the worry of a potentially rich corporation, such as the one proposed in Tambaram which will have several IT companies under its fold, the fate of the one in industrially depressed North Chennai will be much worse.

Fourth is the fundamental question regarding the real benefit that would accrue to residents if their area became a corporation. There seems to be no clear policy on how the quality of life would improve. Those whose localities are better administered today fear that their plans and efforts will go in vain when poorly administered neighbouring areas are brought under a common umbrella.

Lastly, with today’s planning process all over the world involving a bottoms-up approach, it is not clear how a corporation can address individual problems of its constituent units in the way in which a village panchayat or a municipality may be able to tackle them.

These then are some of the issues worrying those who live within the limits of the proposed Tambaram Corporation. But from the manner Government is bulldozing its way through, it is not clear if the doubts will be removed.


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What's happening at...
How feasible will be...
Thambi Naidoo...
The Punjabis of Chennai...
Historic Residences...
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