Local body elections Chennai

Wake up Padur!

At an awareness rally by Mano Trust  

On September 26, members of Mattrathai Nokki Charitable Trust, better known as Mano Trust, will be campaigning at a few apartment complexes in Padur. Their objective: Creating awareness about the importance of voting in the upcoming local body elections scheduled for October 6 and 9.

As an NGO based in Padur and working for the development of the neighbourhood for the last 10 years, members of the Trust feel it is important that every resident in the voting age know their candidate and the voting process and make an informed decision.

“Unlike in the State or Lok Sabha elections, EVMs are not in use in the local body elections, but different coloured paper ballots and ballot boxes, each colour meant for a particular post,” says Ashokrajan Balakrishnan, managing trustee, Mano Trust.

Ward member, panchayat president, block councillor and district councillor are the four posts that the public exercise their vote for.

“Of these, the roles of ward member and panchayat member are important roles. They stand as independent candidates, and try to address the workaday issues that need priority, so one must vote for the person’s credibility and honesty,” says Ashokrajan.

His team has so far covered 20 apartment complexes in Padur. They nudge the residents to vote by drawing attention to problems found in the locality.

For instance, garbage collection is a big issue in the neighbourhood. For the amount paid by residents towards garbage tax, the service is dismal — garbage is dumped at unauthorised places or burnt. Residents need to voice their demand for an effective waste management system, says Ashokrajan.

Sewage is another problem, where the Madras High Court recently penalised three panchayats including Padur for letting untreated sewage into waterbodies.

“If a Panchayat brings a sewage treatment plant through government funds, then the Panchayat president is empowered to access those funds to install a sewage treatment plant. Currently, a lorry operator charges an average of ₹2000 to clear sewage that is dumped illegally. Panchayat can operate such a facility at a lesser rate and make revenue,” he says.

Voters list

Their campaign is also helping apartments have access to the voters list, information of the polling station, timings and other documents they need to carry.

“If you don’t have your name in the voters’ list you cannot vote in this election but we are running a free e-service centre and people can enrol their names for the process,” says Ashokrajan.

The Trust’s awareness messages through SMS touches upon two points. One, read up details of the candidate before voting and two, not to get carried away with tall promises.

Mano Trust has been working with the apartment communities for some years now. “We have an advisory board comprising more than 70 members, where two representatives from an apartment are on board, so that every project that we undertake is scrutinised by this board,” says Ashorajan, adding that the Trust works on three principles “Cleanliness, Honesty and Growth”.

He says Padur is among the few village panchayats in revenue records with two universities, six international schools and 180 registered shops, but it can do with better roads in the interior sections. “We need to propel Padur towards greater growth and push for change, so make sure the candidate that we elect is worthy of bringing about that change.”

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 11:55:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/wake-up-padur/article36674299.ece

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