The transition from bureaucracy to politics has not changed his outlook much. R. Nataraj, former Director-General of Police and the newly elected MLA of Mylapore Assembly constituency wears formal clothes, talks of empowering the youth, rehabilitating ex-convicts and demystifying governance to reach out the poor and needy. Here goes a freewheeling chat he had with The Hindu ’s S. Vijay Kumar.
1) What is your roadmap for the development of Mylapore constituency ?
I am planning to develop Mylapore into a ‘clean, green and pristine’ locality. I hope to rope in private players as part of my mission to develop and showcase Mylapore as a heritage constituency. Besides embarking on Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) projects for implementing schemes like garbage disposal, solid waste management and health care, I am also looking at promoting initiatives such as ‘slum soccer’ since 60 per cent of residents here are slum dwellers.
2) Any initiatives to engage the youth?
During the campaign, I met a large number of youth who are educated but jobless. Many in Nochikuppam area are engaged in fishing activities. I am looking at empowering these youth with skill development and make them employable. A job fair will be organised by roping in potential employers in the city. I also want to urge youth in the constituency to register their details with the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission. I intend to organise training programmes to encourage youth to join the police force.
3) How do you plan to reach out to the people and address their grievances?
The main reason for my victory is the innovative welfare schemes of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The schemes have reached the needy and the people have reposed full faith in the leadership. But many, particularly Dalits, are not aware of their rights and privileges in my constituency. We are engaging volunteers to reach out to such people and educate them on the welfare programmes. The benefit of welfare measures have to reach the needy and deserving for which we should demystify governance. I visit my constituency at least five days a week. A grievance redressal mechanism that involves receiving missed calls from people and follow-up action by my team will be launched. As an IPS officer for over three decades, I have interacted with all kinds of people. Yes, there is this imaginary barrier when people meet police officers. I have managed to break that even while in service
4) In the aftermath of the December floods, what is your plan to avert possibility of such disasters?
We will devise a disaster management plan for Mylapore constituency taking into account the impact of the recent floods. A team of volunteers, including experts in relief and rescue operations, would study the topography of the constituency and suggest a plan to implement in the event of a natural disaster. The focus of the plan will be to mitigate protect and rehabilitate. There are about 70,000 internet users in Mylapore constituency. We will use the social media to reach out for updates. A free legal aid cell will function in my office soon.