Often, the Corporation council meetings witness chaotic scenes with the councillors locking horns with the officials debating on the issue of who has more power — the elected representatives or the executives.
A training programme organised to explain the powers of the council, councillors and other bodies here on Wednesday was no different from the proceedings of the council meetings. For, the councillors, mostly from the ruling party, stopped short of picking quarrel with the standing counsel for the local body, G.R. Swaminathan, who spoke on the duties and responsibilities of arms of the Corporation.
The councillors, men and women, used the most of the meeting to air their grievances against the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and the engineers.
“Is it not the duty of the officials to inform us (councillors) the works taken up in our wards? Even the contractors do not inform us. The officials do not take our phone calls. We have no respect at all,” lamented a woman councillor, R. Muthuponnu (ward 28).
Another councillor, K. Vijayaraghavan (ward 51), who was vociferous, said 18 months of the 5-year tenure have passed without the councillors knowing their rights.
When he was advised to get the information through Right to Information Act, the councillor retorted saying, “Any common man can do that? If that is the (only) way out, why should I be a councillor,” he asked.
When Mr. Swaminathan said that the role of the councillors was like a bridge between the Corporation administration and the city residents, one of the councillors said, “People are directly dealing with the officials. We have no role.”
With several councillors trying to put across their views from different corners, the meeting turned chaotic to the extent that a few other councillors shouting at them to stop complaining.
“He has come here only to train us, not to hear complaints against officials. Why do you bring disrespect to Amma’s regime,” said, M. Kesavapandiammal (ward 1).
In the absence of the Mayor, V.V. Rajan Chellappa, and Deputy Commissioner, R. Gopalakrishnan, the zonal Chairperson, P. Salaimuthu, and Chairperson of Standing Committee on Works, B. Kannagi, found it difficult to keep the meeting in order.
Keywords: Madurai Corporation council