04THCOOUMBharathipuram is a locality tucked away in the southern corner of Chennai.  At dusk youngsters gather along  the dirt road on the cooum shores to consume drugs and alcohol.  Gem nursery and primary school is just located a few feet away and till evening around 100 children, aged between 3-8 years, recite nursery rhymes and learn basic maths.  The founder of the school P.Gopalakrishnan said , such anti-social activities are a risk for the young students.  “Because we close in the evening, my students have so far been unaffected.  But how can I be sure?” he asks.  The head constable of K-3 police station in Aminjikarai R.Muthukumaran said he is aware of the menace.  “As the young men are from the locality, residents are either afraid of them or sympathetic, and so, there are no official complaints.  We do get calls sometimes and we make sure they are not allowed to linger,” he said.  Mr.Gopalakrishnan said mosquito menace and stench from the cooum were other major complaints.  “My students find it hard to concentrate due to this,” he added.  A contrast picture is that a few metres away, the narrow and badly maintained lanes of Bharathipuram give way to the wide and clean roads and opulent blocks of Anna Nagar.  A park is also located where the office goers, pregnant women and senior citizens jog, meditate or just grab some fresh air.  But they have their frustrations.  “We are facing an acute water crisis.  The pipes are either broken or filled with sludge and so we have to buy water for Rs.600 every four days,” said Murugesan, a retired Corporation official, who lives in O block.  Connectivity is also a problem, said N Block residents.  “We want some buses rerouted through 6th Avenue.  After the completion of Metro Rail work, many buses ply only through 2nd Avenue.  We are forced to spend a lot,” they said.


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