Candidates in ruling party or in the Opposition and even independents need not break their heads while preparing election manifesto during elections as persistent drinking water crisis in the district, particularly in Dindigul, an evergreen issue for the past several decades, will come to their rescue. All candidates promise to augment drinking water supply in 2011 poll also.
Basically an agrarian and labour intensive district, Dindigul district has seven assembly constituencies – Dindigul, Athoor, Palani, Natham, Oddanchatram, Nilakottai and Vedasandur – with a total electorate of 14,24,050 voters - 7,12,461 men and 7,11,587 women.
The district is a holy cow for AIADMK as its voters gave political baptism to it in a byelection which it contested successfully in 1973. This victory was a turning point in the state as its founder M.G. Ramachandran had registered a landslide victory in the next general election. Since then, Dindigul has been AIADMK bastion. It had established its foot firmly in Vedasandur, Palani, Oddanchatram and Dindigul. Natham and Nilakottai were held either by Congress or AIADMK till 1990s.
Now, the AIADMK offers its bastion Nilakottai to Puthia Thamizhagam and Dindigul to CPI-M and Athoor to DMDK. The AIADMK locks horns directly with the DMK in Palani, Oddanchatram and Natham and against DMK ally Congress in Vedasandur.
Its allies – CPI(M) and the Puthia Thamizhagam – will clash with DMK allies PMK and Congress in Dindigul and Nilakottai. For the first time, PMK has an opportunity to contest.
Even as the Congress, AIADMK, DMK and AIADMK governments had implemented three drinking water schemes – Athoor, Peranai and Cauvery schemes - drinking water crisis in Dindigul is still a debatable subject.
Before the election, the DMK announced that it would bring Vaigai water to Dindigul.
The CPI-M assures to supply drinking water once in two days (At present, water supply is being made in Dindigul once in seven or eight days.), PMK, too promises uninterrupted drinking water supply.
Water crisis has been haunting urban and rural people impartially. With no water for irrigation, horticulture and floriculture cultivation is adversely affected in many parts of the village.
Irrigation water shortage and development of real estate shrink cultivable areas massively.
Besides, massive power cut, stringent environmental measures, raw material shortage paralyse spinning mills in Vedasandur, dyeing and yarn processing at Chinnalapatti and tanning industry and lock manufacturers in Dindigul.
With no plan to revive sick or paralysed industries, thousands of workers turn jobless and migrate to neighbouring cities.
Handloom weaving industry and spinning industries too face unprecedented crisis owing to sharp increase in yarn prices.
Despite pumping of crores of rupees, two major tourists' spots – Palani and Kodaikanal – are expecting more facilities. Polluting lake and destruction of marshy lands, main catchments to it are on the increase. Cleaning the lake including removal of weeds remain a distant dream. Infrastructure facilities - adequate protection to tourists, basic amenities and boarding and lodging at affordable prices – are still lacking in both spots. Nilakottai Industrial estate is sick and dying. Thadiyankudisai, a spice tourism centre, and mega farming cluster in 1,000 acres at Vada Kavunji on upper Kodaikanal hill are hanging.
Sirumalai, which was chosen as ‘Mullai Vanam', one of the five genetic heritage gardens, requires more infrastructures to develop as a tourist attraction.
New engineering college, proposed medical college and three over bridges across railway gates are some developments offered to infrastructure hungry Dindigul.
Keywords: Tamil Nadu assembly polls