Unemployment, water shortage main issues in Sivaganga | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Unemployment, water shortage main issues in Sivaganga

PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Sivaganga
May 02, 2004 03:20 PM IST

Unemployment and water scarcity continues to be the major concerns of the people in Sivaganga.

Unemployment and water scarcity continues to be the major concerns of the people in the constituency from where the Congress candidate P Chidambaram is seeking election to the Lok Sabha against S P Karuppiah of the AIADMK-BJP combine.

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Though the five-time winner Chidambaram was instrumental in starting a graphite purification unit, sugar mills and another industrial unit, the problem of uemployement remains unaddressed with several people migrating to other parts of the state seeking greener pastures.

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An upbeat Chidambaram, who heads the Congress Democratic Forum, claims that government's handling of strike by government employees, cancellation of free power to farmers and withdrawal of some welfare schemes would help him in a big way. He assures to take steps to solve the water problem of the region if elected and claims a strong anti-incumbency factor in his favour.

Dismissing rumors of infighting in the party, AIADMK candidate belonging to the dominant Mukulathoor community, claims that the visit of party supremo Jayalalithaa to the constituency has enthused the workers of BJP and his party.

Karuppiah says his victory would see the region getting more water. Expansion of the graphite unit and Tiruchi-Rameshawaram and Karaikudi-Mayiladuthurai broad gauge coversion were in his priority list.

Chidambaram, who has a tilt towards globalization, finds it difficult at Padamathur where several villagers demand a closure of a Coca Cola unit which had been drawing water from a source belonging to a sugar mill. Karuppiah faces a bumpy ride in the region where the electorate seek a written assurance from the candidates to work towards closure of the unit. Kalayarkovil have migrated to various parts of the state seeking employment. The "food for work" scheme has also not helped the people as machines are mostly favoured to manual labour.

Despite the constituency having as many as 4500 tanks, the water problem continues to worry the people. Ruling party is also facing the ire of people for not desilting the tanks which many expect will be taken up by Chidambaram.

"It is true Chidambaram had not made any significant contribution to the constituency during his five tenures. But people do believe in his capability and image and listen with rapt attention his convincing and brief address criticising the Jaya Government for the under-development of the state," a CPI(M) leader says.

Chidambaram also assures that he has learnt a lesson from his defeat in 1999 and assures to work for the development of the constituency.

According to Krishnan, a Political Science professor, the BJP was not a major force to reckon with in the constituency where Congress has strong footing.

However, the BJP leader H Raja says BJP is a strong force in Sivaganga. He says Chidambaram's achievement as MP "is near zero; the Congress MP Sudarsan Natchiappan did not turn up after getting elected even to formally thank the voters. Do you want to vote for the same party?" he asks the voters.

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