Society Staff Unable to Go Home, Residents Provide Food & Shelter
Amid Lockdown, Our Zero Waste Chennai Colony Strives to Conserve
I live in Elcot Avenue, Chennai’s IT corridor. There are about 172 apartments here and close to 500 people living in then.
Till now, there have been only two COVID-19 positive cases in Sholinganallur and they too have recovered. Luckily, there’s no dearth in supply of essential commodities. During this lockdown, most of our residents are now discovering their culinary skills.
There are people who order from e-shops even though there at two vegetable vendors sitting right outside the main gate. The other day, I went to a glorified petti kadai (a small store with air-conditioning) and he told me one kg of garlic was for Rs 320. I was shocked, and stepped out of the shop and asked the vendor on the road and he was selling it for Rs 150 per kg.
This lockdown has made us realise why it’s important to support small local businesses.
Provide Food & Accommodation to Workers
Due to the lockdown, four of our maintenance and technical staff who were not able to go to their village have been given accommodation within the complex. We provide them with groceries so that they can cook their food.
Three housekeeping staff, who live near our apartment, come daily for an hour to clean the common spaces. The workers wear masks while they do their work. During this time, residents are strictly supposed to stay indoors. The salaries of all housekeeping staff who cannot come for work are also being paid.
All the house maids have been paid, even workers who come once in a while to clean our cars are being paid.
Even our security guards are provided with groceries and other basic essentials as we don’t want them to go out looking for food.
The Zero Waste Colony Strives to Conserve
Earlier, we were a complete zero waste colony but now with no housekeeping staff we are not able to achieve it completely inside the compound. We still segregate our waste and all the wet waste is being thrown into the corporation bin by our residents which is then taken to the compost site by the Corporation.
The dry waste/recyclable trash is separated and once a week, a company person comes and collects it. Earlier, we used to give it to our housekeeping staff to sell and the money they got they kept it for themselves. Now this company is not charging us anything for picking up this trash and we are also not asking for a payment.
Water Bill Doubled, But Recycling Helps
There has been an increase in the consumption of water and production of sewage by at least 35%.
The capacity of our sewage treatment plant is 130 kilo litres and we are running on full capacity. Earlier it would be 80-100 kilo litres.
We would require 3-5 lorries of water a day then. Now it has gone up to seven lorries a day. If you take an average, water consumption has gone up by 50%, so our water bill has doubled.
The sewage treatment plant system recycles all the water from flushed toilets, which takes care of the total requirements of toilet flushing, gardening, cleaning of open areas.
About 60,000-70,000 litres per day is required for this purpose and since we use processed water, we don’t need to buy.
With our sewage treatment plant, we are recycling 130 kilo litres, which used to be about 90 kilo litres a day pre-lockdown.
It has been 11-12 ‘short’ years since the IT corridor has fully developed and the corporation has still not provided metro water and sewage connections. We the people, have been bearing all the costs.
People walk at least six feet apart. It is such a comic scene how when someone comes close and walks by, the other one starts running – one in the fear of catching COVID-19 and the other so as to follow norms.
We also have strict rules that no outsiders are allowed, even if they are close relatives. The kids are kept busy with online classes and our in house library is online. Many kids have turned into YouTube stars as well.
Our resident association is in this together, and this is what every group out there needs to have, to live through such a difficult time.
As told to Smitha Tarur.
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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