“I came into politics to serve the public,” says KV Thilagar, the Councillor of Ward 92 (Mogappair East) in Chennai.
Thilagar’s family has been in politics for generations. Even before becoming the elected representative, he has been helping the public address their grievances. “I have helped over 2,000 people in my area get their community certificates in the past. It has aided many youngsters in pursuing higher education,” says Thilagar.
He was a member of the Indian National Congress (INC) but made the decision to contest the urban local body elections as an independent candidate when the party decided to field a candidate who was not a resident of Mogappair East.
“For generations, we have been living in this area and I have been working in close association with the public. So, I contested as an independent,” says Thilagar.
- Name of Councillor: K V Thilagar
- Party: Independent
- Age: 46
- Educational Qualification: SSLC
- Contact: 9445467092 / 9941764934
Primary goals for Ward 92
As the councillor for Ward 92, what have you been able to achieve in the past year?
In the past year, the primary school building was renovated at a cost of Rs 55 lakhs. This was funded by Maduravoyal MLA KM Ganapathy.
Stormwater drains were installed in streets which were getting inundated during the monsoon. Roads were renovated in many small streets and patchwork was done on the main roads.
Our ward did not have an office for residents to pay their taxes. They had to go to the nearby ward for this. After I became the Councillor, I ensured that the residents were able to pay their taxes in their own ward. I have also brought in an Aadhaar centre in the ward.
Using personal funds, I have renovated the Anganwadi buildings in Ward 92, bought cooking equipment for the Amma Canteen and provided equipment and safety gear worth Rs 1.45 lakhs to the National Urban Livelihoods Mission workers.
Read more: How to get your Aadhaar card in Chennai
How do you interact with the constituents of Ward 92? What kind of outreach activities have you held so far and plan to do? How can people in the ward contact you?
People in my ward can contact me anytime. Both my contact numbers are made public and they are free to call me. A couple of days ago, at night, there was a minor fire accident due to electrical issues in a residential area in my ward. I received the call from the residents immediately. With the help of the people in my office, we put out the fire immediately. Of the 150 houses, around 10 houses remained without power supply that night after we put out the fire. The next morning we ensured the electrical issues were fixed.
I have also deployed five people to attend to the grievances of the residents in my ward. Every evening they provide updates on the issues that have come to their notice and I will ensure that they are addressed immediately.
There have been some issues with people who misuse my name for their personal benefit. I have made sure I am in direct contact with local officials and the public to avoid any such miscommunication.
Issues in Ward 92
What are the major issues in Ward 92?
My ward has buildings of the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board. When those buildings were built in 1985, they had only the ground floor or in some cases a ground floor and a first floor. The pipelines, measuring around 3 or 4 inches, were used for water and sewerage connections for the then population in the building.
Over the years, the TNUHDB has raised the buildings vertically to four or five floors. However, the carrying capacity of the pipelines remains the same. This becomes a problem as the sewerage starts to flow in the opposite direction and stagnates inside the houses, especially during the rainy season. This is a problem that must be addressed.
There are nearly 28 open grounds belonging to Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) in my ward. All these grounds have been kept locked, without being put to use for decades. As it lacks maintenance, people have started dumping garbage on a few of these grounds. It has also become a spot for anti-social activities.
While I have been seeking help from the government to maintain these lands and to put them to proper use, I have also made a representation asking for the allocation of one of these grounds to build a health centre in my ward.
There is only one government school in Ward 92, which is one of the oldest in Chennai (began in 1937). There are 350 children studying here from kindergarten to class 5. I have given requested the Education Ministry to upgrade this school to accommodate students up till Class 8.
Residents of Vellalar Street, Karnan Street and Sathavan Street suffer a lot due to the lack of stormwater drains. There is also a big temple in this locality that lakhs of people visit every week. During rains, it becomes impossible to step out on these roads. I have been making representations to build stormwater drains here.
There is a Christian cemetery in Ward 92. This land belongs to the government, but, in the past year, an individual has encroached on the land and has been charging up to Rs 5,000. I have been taking measures to sort out this issue and also expand the burial ground for Hindus.
Traffic is a major issue cited by the residents. What kind of measures have you taken for this?
There are many private schools in Ward 92. I have noted down three major traffic points and given representation to the Greater Chennai Traffic Police to install traffic lights, and speed bumps and to deploy traffic police at these junctions as the accident rates have also been increasing here.
How have you used your Ward Development Fund of Rs 35 lakhs?
There are 28 cross streets in the larger stretch of Venugopal Street in Ward 92. All these streets get inundated during rain. I have used my ward development funds to repair the roads in these areas. Paver blocks have been laid at the cost of Rs 35 lakhs and the area is free of inundation now.
Now, the ward development fund limit has been raised to Rs 40 lakhs. I have allocated this amount to relay the roads in Bajanai Koil Street, Ambedkar Street and Gandhi Street. Estimates have been done and a tender will be floated for this very soon.
Vision for Ward 92
What do you hope to achieve in your term as a councillor?
I have been making representations for people’s issues even when I was not a councillor. As a councillor, my aim is to address at least 90% of public grievances as and when they are brought to my notice.
What is your vision for Chennai?
We are getting many international funds for Chennai. This should be utilised properly.
There is a shortage of staff for all manual works like sanitary works and Metro Water’s water and sewage works. This will eventually affect the quality of work and also the lives of the public. The government should look into it and deploy more such field workers.
Public opinion should be sought before carrying out development works. Steps should also be taken to improve the basic infrastructures like stormwater drains and water supply.
What the residents of Ward 92 say:
Manikandan R, a resident of Ward 92 in Chennai, says that the councillor has been attentive to the public grievances. “There were issues in the ration shop in our ward. The shopkeeper was not issuing the products properly. When the complaint was raised with the councillor, he immediately took action to have the shopkeeper transferred.”
Shanthi V, a resident of Ward 92 in Chennai, says that traffic is the major issue in the locality. “Many roads have potholes. Since there are many schools in our locality, it becomes risky to travel during peak hours with kids in two-wheelers.”