And for a Friday in Chennai, originally Madras, the first and oldest Corporation in India….. some thoughts….. some musings…..
The Corporation of Madras, set up by a Royal Charter in 1688, is the oldest Municipal body in the Commonwealth of Nations outside Great Britain. The villages of Nugumbakam, Egmore and Chetpet were the first to be merged to form Chennai city. Harrington Road is in the heart of Chetpet. Almost a kilometre long, this road is typical of any you could find in every city in the country. It has 879 residential units, 7 schools, 2 hospitals, several eateries and many commercial Establishments. It was a beehive of activities, traffic snarls, potholes and confusion galore, till a few committed citizens took some path breaking initiatives and transformed the whole place. Now it’s a concreted Road, Granite footpaths, ducts for Cables, water and sewage, greenery all round, waste management etc. etc. Absolutely world class.
One of my dearest relatives, along with a handful of residents under the aegis of Harrington Road Residents Association, literally took the Bull by it’s horns. She collected about 10 lakhs between pioneering residents, got a detailed survey done, prepared an Architect’s comprehensive plan, got the scheme approved by the Chennai Corporation and enthused the Authorities to sanction 9.9 crores. They coordinated with the Traffic department and persuaded the multiple and oftentimes conflicting and mutually enemical agencies and departments to coordinate. Not an easy task!!! Lesser souls would have hung up. But not this Group of Harrington Road die hard enthusiasts. They finally got the Electricity Board, Metro Water and a myriad other Departments together. Not to forget the jeers and cries of the usual cynical, complaining and non involved “Armchair” neighbourhood critics. In 15 months time, Harrington Road was transformed into a Model Street, worthy of comparison with the best anywhere. Kudos to these Change warriors.
India with 205 Corporations, 99,649 wards or Panchayats, each with many Harrington Roads crying for change, lets all support the transformation. Let’s build a New India, the Harrington way, the Ethical way, the SEEGOS way.