The family of a former chairman of an urban local body, who also headed the Co-optex and took a number of initiatives for the well-being of handloom workers and who was also a close associate of the former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran, is in squalor and has its hopes pinned on the State Government and the ruling party with which he was associated from day one.
‘Anakaputhur Ramalingam,’ according to residents of this once famous handloom pocket near Tambaram, was a stalwart whose contribution to the town and its handloom workers was immense. He served as the chairman of Anakaputhur Town Panchayat (now a Municipality) for two terms. He was also a former Member of Legislative Council in the late 1970’s. He died in 1996, leaving behind his wife and children with nothing more than a small house. He did not leave any other asset or a hefty bank balance.
R. Moorthy, a native of Anakaputhur and a local functionary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, recalls his association with the late Ramalingam. “He was a kind politician. He was sincere in whatever he did – be it in discharging his duties as an elected representative or the Chairman of Cooptex.” He was known for his simplicity and unwavering honesty, Mr. Moorthy said.
“Throughout his life he did not accept any gifts, not even sweet boxes or fruits from his party colleagues, Government officials and others. Contractors would fear approaching him. Those seeking undue favours from him would be promptly shown the door. It was this integrity that kept him in the close company of MGR,” Mr. Moorthy added
However, Mr. Ramalingam’s distinguished public life is hardly of any help to his wife and their children. They have let out the ground floor portion of the house on a paltry monthly rent of Rs. 2,000, while living in a first floor of the house whose asbestos roof and cement concrete only adds to the scorching heat of the summer.
As Mr. Ramalingam was a former MLC, his wife R. Chinnamma receives a monthly pension. However, even with that amount, the family is hardly able to make ends meet. Ms. Chinnamma’s daughter Subbulakshmi recently underwent a breast cancer surgery and the amount they receive is barely sufficient to meet her medical expenses. Ms. Chinnamma’s grandson is mentally ill and the family spends a considerable amount of money on him too.
“My husband never misused his power when he was in office. He did not accept bribe or any other material gift all through his public life,” Ms. Chinnamma says, adding “We have been appealing to the State Government for a long time for assistance.” The family is pinning hopes on the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for her support.
Keywords: well-being of handloom workers