Cutting Telephone Expenditure
The municipal chairman and vice-chairman were eligible for telephone expenses as follows.
Chairman Office & Residence Rs.6400/-
Vice Chairman Residence Rs.2150/-
As a measure of economy, Dr.Valluvan did not avail of the allowance for the office telephone on the ground that he was spending only limited hours in the office which he was using for meeting the people in person and knowing their grievances. The vice chairman in the previous term continued to use the telephone even after she demitted office. She left an arrears of Rs.8337/- which was paid by the Municipality. No action was taken by the administration to recover this amount.
Curbing Wasteful Expenditure On Street Lights
It is a common sight in almost all local bodies that the street lights are allowed to glow in daylight resulting in excess current charges besides wastage of electric power itself.
Dr Valluvan issued strict orders that the street lights should be switched on and turned off at fixed hours by which as much as Rs.10, 000 per month was saved in power consumption charges. Action was taken on defaulting staff.
Use of Diesel
When the various frauds came to light Dr.Valluvan got hold of all the connected files and kept in his custody. These were all evidences in the complaints made by Dr.Valluvan to the vigilance and anticorruption department. The vested interests made a threat that if the files were not handed over to the municipality, they would make a police complaint. Dr.Valluvan requested the vigilance department to expedite the enquiry. It was surprising to find that the administration was always with the offenders and tried to provide protection. The adage that birds of the same feather flock together was well proved here.
In many cases of bribe and misappropriation, Dr Valluvan had earlier sought the investigation by the DVAC. On this basis Inspector Panneerselvam of the DVAC Cuddalore, sent an urgent communication that as per Dirctorate’s instructions, enquiry was to be taken up on the former commissioner and two others and for that wanted to be provided with the following documents.
Files relating to the payment of telephone dues left unpaid by the former Vice Chairman, by the municipality.
Stock Register of electrical spares.
Stock Register of Water supply spares.
Stock Register of mosquito repellent.
Receipt and issue register of mosquito repellent.
Purchase register of electrical items.
Receipt for Rs.742/- towards supply of fuel to the jeep no TN 31 T 9931 of the Regional Director of municipal administration, Chingleput.
Another 26 documents including the diaries of the former commissioner and the municipal engineer.
All these documents were sent and Dr.Valluvan continued reminding the vigilance to expedite the enquiry.
No Right to Vote Without Ensuring the Right to Life
There were a number of residential extensions in Virudhachalam town. People were continuously representing and indulging in dharna to provide basic amenities to these areas. The stock reply by the elected representatives and officials was that these areas were not approved and therefore were not eligible for development work. Dr.Valluvan took up the issue .He found out that the people in these areas were included in the voters’ list. Dr.Valluvan felt that this was quite ironical. He announced to go on a hunger strike on 13-7-2000 in front of the tahsildar’s office. He argued that when these people have not got the right to live why should they be given the right to vote? There was a meeting with the tahsildar, municipal chairman, residents’ associations, inspector of police and municipal councilors. It was decided that orders regarding approval of house sites would be issued and communicated within 45 days. Having achieved his goal Dr.Valluvan called off the fast. By this special effort of Dr.Valluvan people in unapproved layouts became conscious of the necessity for approval of house sites. Dr.Valluvan arranged for discussions to explain the procedure for approval through the municipal staff.
Non Cooperation Movement (Not The Gandhian Type)
No greasing of palms.
No room for swindling.
Why and what for should we work?.
This was the attitude of the officials who had all along been enjoying such benefits in abundance without a worry about proper execution of works and the welfare of public.
They were not willing to cooperate in arranging and participating in the council meetings. Some councilors would refuse to attend the meetings if officers were not present. Even Some resolutions passed were not acted upon. The reason given was paucity of funds. For want of honest officials, particularly the commissioner, crucial public welfare measures could not be put on hand. A canard was spread by a vested group in the municipality that Dr.Valluvan was responsible for this stalemate. On top of this, the commissioner and some councilors indulged in character assassination by printing and distributing pamphlets imputing Dr.Valluvan with grossly false and unfounded accusations. A case of defamation is in court in this matter.
A honest Chairman is obviously a thorn in the flesh for the councilors and officials, whose only mission was to loot as much of the public funds as possible. There were open comments that ‘Dr.Valluvan might be a saint but why should he stand on the way of others making some fast buck. Following this a conspiracy was hatched to remove Dr.Valluvan as chairman. Fourteen councilors prepared a signed memorandum. One of them filed a writ in the Chennai high court making false allegations against Dr.Valluvan and praying to issue directions for his removal. This attempt failed.
The lessees of the bus stand and other shops of the municipality were not paying the monthly rent regularly. Their lease agreements were cancelled by the municipal council. But such defaulters were again granted lease. In a specific case, the lessee did not remit the dues for the month of 9, 10 and 11/2002 amounting to Rs.70, 251/-.. The Chairman wanted his lease agreement to be cancelled. But he was actually favoured with more lease contracts. This resulted in the accumulation of arrears to the tune of Rs.10.25 lakhs. This was the amount due for entering the bus stand. Had he been barred from competing in further tenders after falling due to the tune of Rs.70, 251, municipality would not have suffered further loss of Rs.10.25 lakhs. This defaulter is the husband of the former Vice-Chairman who herself did not surrender the official telephone after demitting office and had left dues.
Dr.Valluvan wrote to the then Chief minister to issue orders for the recovery of the above said dues. All he needed was a honest commissioner to cooperate with him. He wrote to the higher officials for the posting oh a honest commissioner. He echoed his frustration in ‘Visu’s Arattai Arangam’ organized at Neyveli. He threw a challenge that if a honest and functional commissioner was appointed, he would make Virudhachalam municipality self sufficient, and the best governed municipality in Tamilnadu. Alas there were no takers. Perhaps finding a honest commissioner was like searching for a needle in the haystack. Those who were posted went on long leave as the pastures were not green. It appeared that the functioning of the municipality was wantonly brought to a standstill by vested elements. Dr.Valluvan continued his fight relentlessly. He made a request to the Commissioner of municipal administration to direct the officials on leave to join duty immediately. He followed up the request by sending as many as 20 reminder telegrams. The entire staff of the municipality clamoured against the Chairman – actually against justice and honesty – and entered on mass leave. Dr Valluvan sought the intervention of the Collector and requested him by FAX to issue show cause notices to the employees. The Collector referred the matter to the Regional Director of Municipal administration and there ended the matter.
Dr.Valluvan then sent a request to the Revenue Divisional Officer. He asked him to convene a meeting under his presidentship with the participation of the MLA, Regional Direct of Municipal Administration, the District collector, the Inspector of Vigilance and Anticorruption, and the vice chairman of the municipality for explaining in detail the corruption and irregularities detected in the municipality. The RDO’s curt reply was that there was no provision in the rules for convening such a meeting. The silent attitude of the higher officers, when apparent irregularities are brought to their notice, indicates that they are also hand in glove with the offenders and their intention is to protect them.
What is the punishment for the corrupt? What is the punishment for the abettors? They are bold in the thought that law is in their favour and nothing could be done to them? How does a honest and civilized society react to this sorry state of affairs? Dr.Valluvan did not give up. He wanted to find a way out, if only for carrying out the public welfare measure he had promised and committed to do as Chairman. He decided to approach the High Court for help.
Achieve By Honesty : Dr.M.Valluvan No. 88 mariyamman kovil street Vriddhachalam - 606 001 - Email : drmvalluvan@ yahoo.com