“As a woman in politics and mother of a two-year-old, I am aware of my child’s needs and am in a position of power to create a safe space for children. That’s precisely what I have been trying to do,” says Brindhaa Shrri Murali Krishnan, the Councillor of Ward 160.
Brindhaa also highlights the importance of promptly addressing the needs of the residents. “I am dedicated to ensuring that each query and issue raised by the residents of my Ward receives thorough follow-up and timely updates”, she adds.
Brindhaa’s journey into politics has been shaped by her upbringing and early experiences in public service. As she puts it, “Change begins when you become the change you seek.” Inspired by her father’s three-decade-long political career, she was drawn to serving her community.
As part of her ongoing projects aimed at the welfare of her Ward, she talks about the initiatives she has kicked off, such as a community garden, the transformation of her Councillor office into a dedicated learning centre and more.
- Name of Councillor: P.M. Brindhaa Shrri
- Party: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
- Age: 27
- Educational Qualification: B.Tech (Genetics); M.Sc Counselling Psychology
- Contact: 9840096160 / 9500771728
Primary goals for Ward 160
As the Councillor, what have you been able to achieve in the past year?
Alandur is a low-lying area with a substantial population. The predominant issue here is water stagnation, with water levels reaching knee or even waist-high during certain conditions. Conversely, when it gets sunny, water resources dry up quickly. These extreme weather conditions in Alandur posed a significant challenge for our Ward. The major concern was how to address this issue effectively.
Madhavapuram, a part of the Ward, is particularly prone to flooding, causing damage to people’s kitchen appliances with every rainfall. We appealed to the minister, and the situation improved dramatically with the implementation of a pumping station.
Additionally, we introduced a jet rodding machine provided by the corporation, enabling us to clear all manholes and eliminate water stagnation. We also installed water tanks in areas facing shortages, especially during the summer. These were the primary life-threatening issues we tackled in the past year. Recently, power shortages were observed. To address this, we installed three transformers, resulting in a significant reduction in power-related issues.
We have installed CCTVs in areas prone to safety issues, making our Ward a safer place.
We are working on creating a farm area for school kids, teaching them basic life skills such as growing their own vegetables, cooking, and cleaning. This approach helps break gender stereotypes and instils the idea that these are essential life skills for everyone’s survival.
I was provided with office space by the Corporation. It is a large space and so I converted most of it into a learning centre. This centre offers basic computer skills tuition, tally courses, and more. We are providing hands-on training to help people access technology-related facilities easily. As far as I know, no other Ward is currently offering such services, but we are proud of the work we’ve done.
We have also purchased an icebox mobile mortuary to offer free services to our community, especially for residents who may not be able to afford such services.
How do you interact with the constituents of your Ward?
We have established weekly Sabhas (meetings) in the area. Upon taking office, I created WhatsApp groups, forming three groups as needed. Each family in the Ward has a representative in the group, connecting us to approximately 3,000 people. In total, we are in touch with around 12,000 residents through these groups.
Moreover, these groups include all officials associated with Ward operations, such as the police department and health department. When residents share any issues in the group, we promptly involve the officials concerned and aim to find solutions within an hour. To ensure that no issue goes unnoticed, we receive an average of 30-40 calls every day.
Additionally, there are area sabhas with representatives on every street, allowing us to maintain weekly contact. We conduct regular Ward visits to stay closely connected with the people. Based on these interactions, we’ve identified common complaints related to water supply, waste management, and power cuts, which we address through the WhatsApp groups. For more personalised issues requiring additional assistance, it may take a bit longer than an hour, but we ensure every issue is resolved.
Issues in Ward 160
What are the major issues in Ward? What kind of measures have you taken for this?
As previously mentioned, water stagnation, especially in Madhavapuram, and road construction were major concerns. We completed the repair and construction of 10-12 roads, and we’re awaiting the road plan for the remaining ones. We have also implemented water tanks and ensured they are consistently filled. However, we have faced delays from metro authorities in getting water connections and rectifying drainage issues. To compensate, we maintain a focus on water tanks, continually ensuring they are adequately filled.
How have you used your Ward Development Fund?
In the first year, we implemented a women’s gym, and in the following year, we plan to establish a yoga centre. To the best of my knowledge, our Ward is the only one to have initiated such projects. The women’s gym is equipped with personalised equipment and is akin to a private gym, set to open next month. We also have plans for a ‘yoga mayyam’ and an open gym in the park. Recognising the economic conditions of our area, we are working on creating a “community space” this year. The funding has been allocated, and construction will commence shortly.
How has your experience of working with the officials of the Greater Chennai Corporation been?
In our Ward, the support from the Greater Chennai Corporation is excellent. They consider it a personal commitment and work tirelessly day and night. The responsiveness of GCC authorities in addressing Ward-related issues, even late at night, is evident when you ask someone in our WhatsApp group. However, we all face challenges related to the Metro Water department, which is a concern shared by many Councillors. This issue has been widely discussed in our council meetings.
Role of women and youth
What are your thoughts on young people and women entering politics?
I believe that young people should pursue politics as a career. They bring fresh perspectives and the potential to enact reforms. Collaborative efforts are crucial, and politics should not be left solely to existing authorities. Just as IAS and IPS administrations are invigorated by young talent, politics should be approached with similar seriousness. It is essential for young people to get involved to bring about positive change.
I would like to emphasise the role of women in politics. The Chief Minister’s initiative to provide 50% reservation for women has paved the way for women in politics. As a mother of a two-year-old, I understand the needs of children and what they require from the system to thrive in society. I think about my child’s needs and how I can ensure her safety. This is a perspective that I bring to the table as a woman.
Vision for Ward 160 and Chennai
What do you hope to achieve in your term as Councillor?
I aspire to see my Ward excel and become a leader. It’s a source of pride that our Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) in the Ward was selected as one of the quality centres among the ten in Tamil Nadu. This achievement reaffirms that we are moving in the right direction. My primary focus is on ensuring health, hygiene, and education in my Ward. We had a great response with an all-pass in schools, and we plan to increase student intake from the next academic year. The teachers in the Ward are cooperative and committed to our mission.
What is your vision for Chennai?
My vision for Chennai is to empower the younger generation. I believe in the power of youth to comprehend and address societal issues through education. While it might be challenging to change the minds of those already conditioned, the upcoming generations can be educated to be more understanding of the issues around them. My focus is on mentoring them and prioritising their health and education.
What the residents of Ward 160 say:
Loganathan, a resident of Alandur, commends Councillor Brindhaa for her proactive approach and the invaluable platforms she has established for the community. He emphasises the councillor’s promptness in taking actions that benefit the residents.
Loganathan appreciates the initiatives taken by Brindhaa, from setting up a learning centre in her office to introducing a gym in the Ward.
Another resident of Ward 160 notes the innovation in Brindhaa’s projects, underlining her deep understanding of the community’s issues due to her longstanding association with the Ward.
The WhatsApp group that includes all residents and officials allows for seamless communication, swift issue resolution, and immediate feedback on the solutions implemented, ultimately fostering a stronger and more connected community.