By G Saravanan
Published in The New Indian Express, Chennai on Dec 29, 2011:
CHENNAI: In a bid to make the Chennai Corporation councillors get closer to their voters with their public welfare activities, the civic body has announced a new scheme, wherein the selected members would receive ‘Best Councillor’ awards and a citation from Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
According to official sources, the ‘Best Councillor’ award would inspire the winning elected representatives to involve them more into social services activities in their wards. The Corporation Council Meet held few days ago had given its nod for the resolution pertaining to the scheme and fixed the criteria for the selection.The Chief Minister would distribute the newly instituted award of recognition for the selected councillors during the Independence Day or Republic Day celebrations.The 200 Councillors, who would be selected for the annual award, have to prove their efficiency in coordinating with officials and the local people during emergencies like natural disasters, flooding and fire mishaps in their wards. According to Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy, the scheme is a golden opportunity for the elected representatives to prove their mettle as public servants in the eyes of their voters as well as the Chief Minister.Besides other yardsticks, the members, for getting their names nominated for the prestigious award, have to show his/her exemplary attitude in dealing with the local residents and their grievances pertaining to basic amenities, selfless social service in their wards, developmental works and public services in the locality.According to sources, the move was seen as the AIADMK-led Corporation’s strong effort to erase the bad name earned by the previous regime’s councillors from the DMK and Congress parties in the eyes of general public.However, voters and political analysts see the move by the AIADMK Supremo Jayalalithaa as a clear case of a ‘public monitoring’ over the activities of elected Corporation councillors and it would also keep them to tread on right path.