After assuming the Mayoral office in the Greater Chennai Corporation, R. Priya, 28, a post graduate in Commerce, says she intends to focus on implementing the projects covered under initiatives such as Singara Chennai 2.0 of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. Her priorities include school education in Greater Chennai Corporation, improving services in urban primary health centres, parks and pollution control, and development of infrastructure for mitigation of flooding in Chennai.
What are your priorities as Chennai Mayor, particularly in civic infrastructure projects and welfare measures for the residents?
I would like to thank our honourable Chief Minister for giving me this big opportunity to serve the people. As Mayor of Chennai, I will do my best in every field of work for residents’ welfare and work on the field. My idea is to improve schools in the Greater Chennai Corporation area.
Already, there are many schools in Chennai run by the State government and the Chennai Corporation. Education has been improving. Our Chief Minister has ordered the Corporation to adopt advanced technology to teach children. So, I plan on creating awareness about the need for better school education among the residents. In some zones of North Chennai, many residents are not utilising the corporation facilities for school education and some are unwilling to send their children to school. So infrastructure has to be developed in all schools and awareness has to be created in all the 200 wards.
I intend to focus on frequent inspections in urban primary health centres, urban community health centres and other public health facilities of the Greater Chennai Corporation to check the quality of services offered to residents.
In parks, more exercise equipment will be provided, making them more colourful. Already, our Chief Minister has launched many projects to improve parks under Singara Chennai.
I have not yet received any complaints relating to civic issues directly from residents as it has been only two days in office. Once elected, Councillors start demanding solutions for major civic issues, I intend to discuss all important civic issues with the Chief Minister and the Commissioner.
Your work as Mayor involves spending a lot of time resolving civic issues of residents, and inspecting civic infrastructure projects. Will you get support from your family?
Definitely! My family is a big support for me. All members of my family, my father, my husband and my mother support me. My husband is an IT professional. He has done his Masters in Business Administration. Services offered to residents by family members, including former MLA Chengai Sivam, were a source of inspiration for me.
As a resident of North Chennai, please tell us about your experience on civic issues you faced as a resident before becoming Mayor and what were the challenges?
As a resident of North Chennai, I have experienced many problems. But in the past eight months, residents in our area have been able to overcome the problems because the Chief Minister has been visiting our areas to resolve the civic issues. Water stagnation is the most important civic issue faced as a resident of North Chennai. During the last few years, there was no elected Council to resolve civic issues. During the past few years, in Perambur area of North Chennai, water stagnation was reported three days after the rain. During the previous spell of rain, the Chief Minister visited North Chennai and initiated steps to mitigate flooding, and water drained immediately.
In the past few days after assuming Mayoral office, you have pointed to civic issues such as pollution in the city, bad roads and flooding. What are the proposals to which you intend to get administrative sanction from the State government in the first few months?
Of course, pollution is a major issue in Chennai. However, the Chief Minister has recently launched Singara Chennai 2.0, which is expected to reduce pollution of air, water and land. Singara Chennai 2.0 will be the best version for the city. I have not been able to find a better proposal than that of our Chief Minister’s Singara Chennai 2.0. It covers the most important aspects for local administration. I have been trying to find a better proposal. But I have not been able to find anything better than those covered in Singara Chennai 2.0.
As a Commerce post-graduate, and as someone who was born after the Indian economy was privatised and liberalised, what are your ideas about private participation in civic projects of the Greater Chennai Corporation?
I am a 90s kid, growing and developing with rapid technological advances. I was able to see rapid changes in technology and the role of the private sector in such technologies. But in the case of Greater Chennai Corporation, I intend to focus on using appropriate technology, after discussing with the Chief Minister and the Commissioner, for residents’ welfare.
What are your plans to strengthen the welfare measures for the poor and marginalised people in Chennai?
Many homeless residents are on the roadside in various parts of the city. The State government has started providing better housing for homeless residents. Maybe some of the residents are not aware of the housing facilities offered by the government. The Greater Chennai Corporation will take steps to facilitate housing for the urban poor and homeless residents with support from the State government.