City councillors are normally not a silent lot, but nearly one-third of the elected representatives in the outgoing Chennai Corporation Council seem to have had a rather silent tenure for five years.
As many as 55 of the 155 councillors in the Corporation did not raise any question pertaining to civic issues, a response elicited under RTI provisions has revealed.
According to the reply from the Chennai Corporation to Transparent Chennai, a total of 458 questions were raised by councillors in the period 2007-11, said Meryl Sebastian, Researcher, Transparent Chennai, Centre for Development Finance.
Even though the councillors belonging to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) raised the largest number of questions in the council with 168 queries pertaining to civic issues in the last five years, 38 of its 92 councillors did not ask any questions, said Nithya V.Raman, Project Director – Transparent Chennai. Congress councillors raised 120 questions in the period but 14 of its 35 councillors failed to ask any question at the council meetings.
Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) councillors asked a total of 54 questions but three of them raised no questions at all. S. Mangala Raj, a Congress councillor, said that one of the reasons for the failure of councillors to ask questions was their lack of interest to raise civic issues, sound judgment and concern for the residents.
A total of 20 questions by Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), 31 by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), 16 by Communist Party of India (CPI), 13 by independents, 14 by M.G.R. Kazhagam, 10 by Tamil Maanila Desiya League and 12 by Communist Party of India (Marxist) councillors were asked in the same period.
Councillors asked a total of 113 questions in 2007, 111 in 2008, 100 in 2009, 120 in 2010 and 14 in 2011. The council meetings are held every month.
DMK councillors made 302 speeches, DMDK 41, Congress 221, BSP 57, Independent 18, CPI 33, M.G.R. Kazhagam 25, CPI(M) 33, PMK 102 and Tamil Nadu State Desiya League made 12 speeches at the council in the period.