Dalits remain ‘powerless’ as Tangedco nixes civic chief’s move
Moved by the plight of four Dalit families who have been living without power connection for over 35 years in Kanakavallipuram village in Pandur Panchayat in Tiruvallur, the newly elected panchayat president tried to provide at least a streetlight and even agreed to pay for the lamp post. But much to his shock, the power utility asked him to first pay up Rs 8 lakh dues before processing the request.
Chennai: Rajkumar, a 33-year-old resident from the village who was born and bought up without power supply, recalled how his grandfather had settled in the village with several families from Arundhathiyar community. “Many of them moved out, as the village does not have power supply, road or drinking water facilities. Now only four families are here,” he said. It is only the area where these four families reside where there is no power supply, Rajkumar added.
When the newly elected Pandur panchayat president tried to provide at least a streetlight to the locality, Tangedco officials stopped the initiative, asking him to pay Rs 8 lakh dues before providing additional streetlights.
S Muralidoss, a social worker and panchayat president’s brother, said he has been taking up the issue with the various authorities, including Collector and MLA, for the last two years. “But nothing has been done to resolve it,” he said.
Muralidoss said the panchayat president was ready to pay Rs 15,000 for the electric post to provide streetlight. “However, Tangedco officials asked the panchayat to pay up the due of Rs 8 lakh first,” he said.
A senior Tangedco official said that local officials visited the families after the Collector’s office forwarded a petition. “There are two huts located on the Poondi lakh catchment area. We have asked those families to get a no-objection certificate from Tahsildar to provide power supply,” he said, adding that they would provide the streetlight connection if the Pandur panchayat submitted an application.