Kamal Haasan promises salaries for panchayat heads

This will help prevent corruption, says MNM leader.

Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan on Monday promised salaries for panchayat presidents and councillors in rural local bodies and pooled budgets for all three tiers of panchayats.

Apart from this, the right to recall elected officials in Gram Sabhas, passing of the Tamil Nadu Urban Local Self Governance Act, and finding a permanent solution to the problems caused by floods were among the seven-point agenda announced by the MNM to strengthen urban and rural local bodies in the State.

Speaking to the reporters via video call, Mr. Haasan said that panchayat presidents and councillors should be given salaries to prevent corruption.

“Panchayat presidents and councillors shouldn’t be asked to do their work as charity. Those who draw salaries are answerable,” he said.

With respect to urban local bodies, he said that a Tamil Nadu Urban Local Self Governance Act would be enacted. He added that election to the civic bodies would be made mandatory every 5 years.

Mr. Haasan, who is recuperating following a surgery, said that local bodies were a miniature version of the State Assembly.

“Since there is a chance that local body elections could be organised soon after the Assembly election, there is a need to understand their importance. When we talk about ‘Reimagining Tamil Nadu’, it includes local bodies as well,” he said.

He criticised the previous governments and the present one for not holding Gram Sabhas properly.

Mr. Haasan refused to respond to TNCC president K.S. Alagiri’s remark that MNM should join the Congress’ alliance.

He said, “While we respect the Congress, this is not the time to talk about the alliance.”

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