Chennai has had an inordinately long wait for the local body elections this year. Even while the dates are yet to be announced, citizens have woken up to the need of engaging themselves in the process in a proactive manner, ensuring that the people select the right candidates, elect them and hold them accountable so as to have a truly representative and participatory democracy.
A group of citizens residing in Zone 13 of the Corporation, covering Wards 170 to 182, have come together under a single umbrella to create an urban ward manifesto, and create interface systems between the ward citizens and their councillor, for making the governance of the ward transparent and accountable.
The group seeks to spread awareness about the importance of local body elections, powers and duties of councillors, and finally identify and form watch-dog bodies with efficient tools in as many wards of the Zone as possible.
The citizens have put out this call to action, recognising the need to come out of their comfort zones in order to demand the administration that they deserve in the urban neighbourhoods where they live. The group emphasises the need to address common concerns about the basic living amenities and governance of natural resources in the respective wards.
Towards this, they aim to bring together all stakeholders of the wards in Zone 13, so that in the imminent local body elections,
- Residents vote for a councillor who works for the ward
- Residents vote for the basic amenities of an urban living space that is also environment-friendly
- Residents vote for the building of a safe and liveable city of the future
Suggested course of action
In pursuance of the above mission, the group has charted out a course of action. They have called upon residential associations, citizens groups and individuals to arrange meetings in their immediate living area.
These meetings would discuss and document the amenities that need to be fixed/administered. These in turn would provide the inputs for the urban ward manifesto, which would become the working document for each ward/councillor post elections.
The associations/groups can also choose to nominate their candidate for councillor, who would work towards achieving the objectives and items outlined in the manifesto. A website for each ward will be created, which will not only host the manifesto but also give an overview of the ward, budgets, work in progress, complaints tracking etc.
The next steps
A meeting will be held on June 11th for all wards in Zone 13, where feedback will be collated and consolidated from the above, which will form the basis of the Citizen’s Manifesto for the wards. Details of the meeting would be as below:
Date: June 11, 2017, Sunday
Time: 10.30am to 12.30pm
Venue: Mangayirkarsi Magalir Mandram, 11th Cross Street, Shastri Nagar, Adyar, Chennai – 600020.
For early registrations, the group has requested citizens to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.