Women need not apprehend about being shouted down by men : Chair

It turned out to be a defining moment for the women members of Pudukottai Municipal Council on Friday when one of their colleagues vociferously demanded an exclusive time slot for them to speak about the civic problems in their wards.

The reason attributed by A. Kamala (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) for the demand was that men shouted them down whenever they rose to speak. They did not have even five minutes to voice their grievances, she said.

At the council meeting held here, Ms. Kamala complained that one of the backbenchers commented that she was behaving like a representative of six Assembly segments when she raised civic issues in the last meeting.

This was tantamount to teasing and the member should know that if she represented six Assembly segments then she “should be an MP not an MC,” the councillor said.

The council has 13 women members out of 42, excluding the Chairman, and the woman’s voice gets drowned in the din created by men.

Reacting to the plea of Ms. Kamala, the Vice-Chairman, S. Abdul Rahman alias S.A.S. Sait, who is officiating as Chairman, said there could be no discrimination in the council and women need not apprehend interruption from men. He asked the men not to interrupt when women were making their submissions. Although the order prevailed for a while, men ere back to their old habit when two other members – S. N. M. Rajathi and A. Gracy – had their turns to speak.

‘Provide gold’

The council adopted a resolution tabled by an All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam member, K. Baskar, which appealed to the Centre to provide gold from its reserves for the “Thalikku Thangam” scheme of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The Congress members were on their feet when Mr. Baskar tabled another resolution seeking the “dismissal” of Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for the unprecedented in rupee against the American dollar. Although the motions were not put to vote, Mr. Abdul Rahman said they had been taken on record.

While the AIADMK councillors profusely thanked the Chief Minister for making unprecedented allocation of funds for taking up infrastructure enhancement work in the century-old municipality, Opposition members came out with complaints of poor water supply, bad roads and improper lighting.

M. Mohan (Congress) was booed by DMK councillors when he lauded the AIADMK government for allocating adequate funds for the civic body. He urged the municipality to take steps to prevent open disposal of medical waste.

When he complained of the presence of brokers in the municipal office, it was the turn of the AIADMK councillors to shout him down. His party colleague, A. M. Syed Ibrahim, wanted the officials to lay roads in newly added areas such as Ambedkar Nagar and Nizam Colony.

E. Selvam (DMK) complained that action had not been taken so far despite complaints about residents of ward 8 getting contaminated drinking water in the last six months.

S.N.M. Rajathi of Ward 7 threatened to lead an agitation if the problem of drinking water scarcity in her area was not addressed.

M. Manivelan of Ward 32 complained that water was supplied for only four days in a month.

Mr. Abdul Rahman gave an assurance to the councillors that priority would be accorded to the newly added areas while providing drinking water, drains, and lighting facilities.

He explained that the underground drainage work, which was progressing at a snail’s pace during the tenure of the previous council, was now expedited. The work was expected to be completed by December.