The village and its Dalit president win national awards
The Nattarmangalam Village Panchayat in Kattumannarkoil block of Cuddalore District has become a trail blazer in terms of village administration and women empowerment.
This all-woman panchayat has earned twin distinctions: it has won the “Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar Award for 2012-2013” instituted by the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj, and, its president Sudha Manirathinem has bagged the “Outstanding Women Panchayat Leaders Award for 2013” instituted by the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi.
Ms. Manirathinem received both the awards in New Delhi recently. Addressing a press conference here on Friday, the president said that her nine-member village panchayat had become a role model for other local bodies in the State.
Owing to the concerted efforts taken by her team Nattarmangalam had now become a totally a hutment-free, plastic-free and a liquor-free village. Open defecation had become a thing of the past as all the 750 households were now provided with individual toilets, besides separate public toilets for men and women.
Ms. Manirathinem further noted that the villagers had vowed not to give bribe nor take bribe. The local body had managed to mobilise private funds which it was dovetailing with the government grants to take up the development works in the village.
It had built 214 houses for the victims of cyclone “Thane,” two anganwadis and constructed cement roads in the village. After she assumed office in 2011, the number of students from Nattarmangalam pursuing higher education had gone up significantly.
That the village had a common burial ground was a testimony to the communal harmony prevailing there. Though belonging to the Scheduled Caste community, Ms. Manirathinem enjoyed the full support of the villagers and this made possible the unopposed election of all the village panchayat members, including her.
She emphatically said that the members had the backing of husbands, fathers and brothers, and as far as the administration of the panchayat was considered they were taking independent decisions.
She said that it would be her endeavour to increase manifold the per capita income of the residents by energising the Self-Help Groups and setting up small scale units.
She acknowledged the fact that her husband K.I. Manirathinem, chairman-cum-managing director of the Navasakthi Township Developers Pvt. Ltd., had been extending moral and monetary support in her endeavour.
G. Suryamoorthy, former president of the Tamil Nadu Government Officials Union, applauded the panchayat president and her team for having received national recognition for the good work.