On a trip to Kasturba Nagar earlier this evening on the Beach – Velachery MRTS, the most noticeable thing in the stations on the route was the missing time-tables. As each month goes on, and more commuters want to take the train, the system seems to be regressing.
The stations were all dark and gloomy, and the Kasturba Nagar station was completely dark at 6.30 p.m. Was it a result of the compulsory power shutdown of the DMK Government? Is it not possible to use a few solar panels, positioned securely, to power some lamps in the station?
For all the noises that they make, the UPA-DMK combine has done next to nothing for the Chennai commuter. And the DMK appears to be poised, in spite of communal trouble being stoked by the sangh parivar all around the country, to be routed in the next Lok Sabha election, if it continues with its present ways.
The downturn in the fortunes of the DMK is not something that only political columnists are writing about. Electricity Minister Arcot Veerasamy has expressed fears that if there is a debacle, he will be blamed.
Mr. Karunanidhi could also factor in a lot of urban resentment about commuters feeling abandoned by his Government. The biting inflation is made even more painful by the cost of travel in Chennai; the tacit encouragement given to autorickshaws to operate beyond the pale of law and regulation only adds to the sense of alienation not just for the middle classes, but also for the rising newly-employed population. The DMK has a lot of thinking to do, considering that Chennai is no longer the DMK bastion of old, when encouragement given to lumpen politics ensured electoral gains. Today’s governments are expected to deliver. And the DMK has little to show for its performance in urban transport.
But then, for the commuter, neither the DMK nor the AIADMK is a useful choice, when it comes to transport policy. That is the rot that the city experiences.