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Standing Committee heads elected

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NOW, TO WORK: Mayor `Colony' R. Venkatachalam (second left) felicitates the newly elected chairpersons of the Coimbatore Corporation standing committees on Saturday. - Photo: M. Periasamy
NOW, TO WORK: Mayor `Colony' R. Venkatachalam (second left) felicitates the newly elected chairpersons of the Coimbatore Corporation standing committees on Saturday. - Photo: M. Periasamy

Special Correspondent

Ramaswamy of Congress is back in action as Chairman of Works Committee Ramaswamy of Congress is back as Chairman of Works Committee

COIMBATORE: Four councillors of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) were elected unopposed as chairpersons of the Coimbatore Corporation's Standing Committees on Finance and Taxation, Town Planning, Health and Accounts on Saturday.

The Congress got the Works Committee - its second significant gain after the mayorship. The Communist Party of India (CPI) got the post of the head of the Education Committee, proving wrong speculations till Friday that a woman Congress councillor might get it.

R. Ramaswamy of the Congress gets back the post he held from 1996 to 2001 - Chairman of the Works Committee. His had been one of the two names initially mentioned in the list of probable candidates for mayorship if the Congress were to get it. Finally, the Congress leadership decided to nominate `Colony' R. Venkatachalam for mayorship.

Mr. Ramaswamy came close to becoming the Deputy Mayor in 2001 as a member of the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC), when the post was offered to the party by the alliance leader, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. He lost that opportunity too when the TMC decided to give it to K. Raghupathy, who was the party's floor leader in the Council from 1996-2001.

Mr. Ramaswamy is back in the job he is familiar with. After taking the oath as councillor this time, he said he had initiated the process of providing sodium vapour lamps across the city during his previous stint, on the lines of what had been done in Chennai. He takes over as the Chairman of the Works Committee at a time when people all over the city are unhappy with the maintenance of streetlights and when most of the roads are in life-threatening shape.

Town planning

P. Krishnamoorthy (DMK), a first-time councillor but an experienced party member, was elected as Chairman of the Town Planning Committee. His tasks on hand are planned development of the city. He takes over at a time when commercial complexes are on the rise and with most of the existing ones being accused of building rule violations. Along with Mr. Ramaswamy, he will face the task of bringing about development in the unapproved layouts where sites are being approved to pave way for basic amenities under the new regularisation scheme of the DMK Government. The DMK's A. Nandakumar has got the chairmanship of the Finance and Taxation Committee when the Corporation is expected to step up revenue collection through user charges for underground drainage.

Along with the Mayor, he will be among those elected to key posts who will be torn between the Corporation's need to raise drinking water charges and a political compulsion to resist it. Mr. Nandakumar's party colleague P. Nachimuthu too faces tough times.

Poor garbage disposal, lukewarm public response to segregation at source, the prospect of introducing a garbage collection fee and complaints of stray dog menace await Mr. Nachimuthu, who takes over as Chairman of the Health Committee.

He returns to the Council after a gap of five years. He was chairman of South Zone from 1996 to 2001. CPI councillor R. Kalyanasundaram has got Education Committee as part of an accord with the Democratic Progressive Alliance leader, DMK.

The allocation of the committee is said to have been smooth unlike the protracted talks on the chairmanship of the North Zone that ultimately went to the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Accounts

N. Tamilselvi, a newcomer representing the DMK, was elected Chairperson of the Accounts Committee. She is the daughter-in-law of K.P. Jagannathan, who was the Leader of the Opposition in the Council twice (1996-2001 and 2001-2006).

Mr. Jagannathan could not contest for the third time as his ward (no.43) was reserved for a woman candidate this time.

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