Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A service mentality


C.D. Valsala Kumari, an Independent, supported by the LDF, has a deep desire to serve the people in the Vennala division

By Shevlin Sebastian

C.D. Valsala Kumari entered the colony at Thalliparambu in the Vennala division for the first time and received a shock. There was a stretch of water which surrounded all the houses. It was only after talking with the people that she understood the reason why.

“Earlier, there were paddy fields all around,” says Valsala. “They were flattened and raised to a higher level. Following that, multi-storied buildings were constructed.”

As a result, whenever it rained, the water gushed down like a torrent from the higher land into the colony. “The people are surrounded by water, but, unfortunately, there is a lack of drinking water in the area,” she says.

A tank had been built more than ten years ago, to supply water to the colony, but rarely does it filled. The residents have to use wells, but the water is hard and unclean.

She felt very bad to see their situation. “Here I was, leading a comfortable life, in a nice house, in the same division,” says Valsala. “It was only when I went out campaigning that I was able to see the lives of people at first hand.”

Valsala has been working as a secretary in the LDF-controlled Vennala Service Co-operative Bank for the past 23 years. “Because of this job, a lot of people know me,” she says. “They have promised to vote for me.”

It was the late C.A. Madhav Master, a president of the bank, who served as an inspiration to Valsala. “He was a former Mayor who did a lot of good things for Vennala,” she says. “So I want to contribute to society in a similar manner.”

Valsala is standing as an Independent, supported by the LDF. The Vennala division has 4937 votes. There is a mix of the middle, upper middle class and poor people. Wherever she has gone, she has received complaints about the lack of action by the previous councillor M.B. Muralidharan.

“The drains, the roads, and the waste disposal system are all in bad shape,” says Valsala. “The garbage, in some areas, is collected once a week. By then, the food gets putrefied and become a health hazard.”

This time, because it is a woman’s seat, N.N. Girija of the UDF is standing instead of Muralidharan. She had been a councillor in 2000. “We were neighbours once, so we know each other well,” says Valsala.

Incidentally, Valsala’s election symbol is a television set. “You get the news through the TV immediately and all the time,” she says. “Similarly, I will be on the alert and work for the welfare of the people at all times.”

Asked whether she will win, Valsala smiles and says, “I am hundred per cent sure. The people are looking for a new face this time.”

(The New Indian Express, Kochi)

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