Seema is confident that her experience of over 20 years of working for the welfare of women in the state will hold her in good stead

Armed with a 1000-point development plan CPIMs Seema hopes to woo VattiyoorkavuPics by Sreekesh Raveendran Nair
news Kerala Polls 2016 Saturday, April 09, 2016 - 09:32

Member of Parliament Dr. TN Seema whose Rajya Sabha tenure just got over on April 2 this year is all smiles as she greets the TNM team at the CPI(M) party office tucked into a small nook of a junction at Valiyavila which is part of the Vattiyoorkavu constituency in Thiruvananthapuram from where she is contesting for the assembly elections scheduled for May 16 in Kerala.

It’s past eight in the night on Wednesday and Seema has just wound up her day’s campaigning in Valiyavila. Addressing party workers, then a series of house-visits followed by quick calls to the shopping establishments nearby…the former Malayalam professor is exhausted yet goes on to talk for over an hour about her plans for the constituency.

When asked what she would consider as her ‘winning’ quotient, Seema is confident that her experience of over 20 years of working for the welfare of women in the state will hold her in good stead.

“As an MP, I was able to spent 100% of the funds allocated as well as even some unspent funds of our ex-MPs, of which over 70% was invested in the state’s health and education sectors. I was able to help in the setting up of a dialysis unit in General Hospital with five machines. Two electric cars and five ventilators were donated to the Medical College while solar water heaters were set up at the SAT (Children & Women’s) hospital which incidentally is where I delivered my daughter. I still remember how I had to then pay Rs.2 for a tumbler of hot water,” she chuckles.

Being a Member of Parliament, she was able to cater for school-buses, smart classrooms and computers to many government and government-aided schools in Thiruvananthapuram, Alapuzha and Pathanamthitta.

It is the same dedicated approach that this state president of the communist women’s wing –the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA)- seeks to bring in to the Vattiyoorkavu constituency too if elected.

She goes on to elaborate: “You see Vattiyoorkavu is the second highly densely populated are in the capital city. If you look around, development has taken place but in piecemeal fashion. Our party actually sat down and developed a manifesto for each of the 140 assembly seats in the state. And when we speak of the development of this particular constituency, we visualize it as part of a larger setting wherein the development of the capital city per se takes place. We have actually come up with a 1000-point development plan. ”

An integrated approach that involves the department of rural development, panchayats and municipalities is required for comprehensive development to take place, she says.

Acute water shortage, waste management, lack of clean toilets and a sense of hygiene in government schools as well as the alarming rise in the street dog menace all figure as priority items in her to-do list.

“There are 18 major ponds here most of which are in left in such deplorable conditions. We need to undertake major renovation of these in order to use them as water-reservoirs for rain harvesting so that even in times of a severe heat wave, the city does not suffer from water shortage. And look at the water-pipes, pumps and storage-tanks in place, most of which are ancient ones. Unless we go in for a total revamp, many areas will continue to reel under severe drinking water crisis,” she affirms.

Talking about stray dogs, the petite lady breaks into a sudden grin and confesses that she had to do away with her morning strolls solely due to the fear of being attacked by them but she also believes that once elected, she will be able to solve the crisis by amassing numerous volunteers to systematically implement a sterilization drive and rehabilitate such canines.

Just a mention of the lack of sanitation in government-run schools, and she concurs whole-heartedly: “ You won’t believe, but school authorities ask me to allocate funds for very elaborate main gates at the entrance of the school and they never fail to mention that it would have my name displayed in bold letters. I simply refuse and ask them to build e-toilets instead. Surprisingly, none of them are keen and they try to get away with the excuse that there are enough toilets while conveniently forgetting to mention that most of these are kept under lock and key, as there is no water supply!”

Talk about waste management and the activist in her reiterates that plastic should first and foremost be banned. She is all for localized waste management practices such as setting up of pipe composts and distribution of aerobic bins while at the same time having a central mechanism too in place to coordinate and streamline the waste disposal procedures.

Dr. Seema says that an MLA is assigned Rs 6 crores of which one crore can be used for development while the remaining five crores are meant for creation of assets such as infrastructure development, building of roads and the like.

“Even an MP gets only Rs 5 crores as fund,” she quips.

This Left candidate not only seems to have a definite plan in mind for her constituency but is very confident about how she would be able to implement the same on ground, if elected.

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