In the land of freebie culture where expecting, demanding and getting freebies has become the right the of common man, this auto driver stands out differently by offering to give a ride (to any place) for one rupee on the day of swearing in ceremony of Jayalalithaa, as a token gesture of gratitude for the one rupee idly offered by Amma canteens.
Amma canteen is not just a freebie but a welfare idea which was introduced by Jayalalithaa to tide over the sudden spurt in the prices of grains and eatables at that time. Though the Supreme Court had not found fault with the freebie offer due to the welfare angle to it, in Tamilnadu competitive politics has unnecessarily given a boost to it.
For example Kushboo did not find anything wrong with the election manifesto of the DMK offering mobile phone to everyone and did not doubt how much pressure it would put on the coffers, but found fault with it when AIADMK repeated that in its poll manifesto.
She even hyped the debate by saying that Jayalalithaa would cheat people by giving a low cost mobile! By instigating like this, she does not bother about the increased burden on the Govt treasury but wants to instigate the people to expect a costly mobile from the Government. Instead of making the debate a worthy one by questioning this freebie or making people be aware that Govt money need not go into this freebie, she is instigating the people to demand a costly one.
Similarly during the Chennai floods, what I could not understand was why the Govt should give compensation for all the people for the flood. It was a natural calamity and the Govt is entitled to provide alternate shelters for the affected people besides strengthening the infrastructure to withstand future floods. The exemplary salvaging measures of the Govt under Jayalalithaa, including seeking of help from the auto majors to do a free service of the vehicles drowned in the flood is of international standard.
But the DMK spread a campaign of turning a natural calamity into a Jayalalithaa sponsored one in such a way that all and sundry started expecting a compensation from the Govt. To blunt the opposition campaign she had to offer Rs 5000 to everyone in the region that were flooded irrespective of whether the damage was worth that or not for the beneficiary. At that time, Vijaykanth raised the pitch for a compensation of Re 10,000 saying that 5000 is not enough for the people.
These politicians will talk anything, it is after all Jayalalaithaa’s headache – this is the tenor of this kind of competitive instigation for freebie culture. But in the end many people from high rise apartments too got the money though they did not have any impact of the flood in their apartments.
Another issue that is currently doing rounds in the Whatsapp is a campaign – presumably by the DMK people instigating people to ask for monthly payment of electricity charges in addition to the 100-unit free electricity announced yesterday by Jayalalithaa as per her poll manifesto. Originally the freebie in electricity bill was offered by the DMK. When it was in power it did not turn a stone to give electricity to the people. After Jayalalithaa took over 5 years, she brought back the EB from the losses and ensured uninterrupted electricity, the demand for which touched its peak as the 2nd highest in the country last month.
There is absolutely no need to offer a freebie in electricity besides the existing ones to farmers and the textile industry. But happy with the comfortable situation that Jayalalithaa had brought in the Electricity Board, the DMK made an offer of changing the billing to monthly basis in its manifesto. The first ill or evil will always come from the DMK. And the people also started talking about it. That made Jayalalithaa to offer a matching one to douse the DMK offer. She offered 100 units of free power to all homes and signed on that order upon assuming office yesterday.
This means loss to the EB but lesser than what it could do if the billing cycle is made monthly. Anyway billing rate in Tamilnadu is less compared to many other States. (Check here). EB needs more money to tide over ever increasing demands and for installing new capacity. But all that is not an issue for the politicians, particularly the DMK. They have started a campaign since yesterday to demand monthly billing to get far better advantage from the 100 unit free electricity. For them, it is Jayalalithaa’s headache and therefore give her more headache and not bother about the economics behind such demands.
In this backdrop, this man, Mr Mathivanan of Coimbatore, an ordinary person leading a hand – to mouth existence from the income he gets by plying his auto, stands tall. He may be a fan of Jayalalithaa or a worker of the AIADMK party but it had occurred to him that he should do something to the people, to the society on being inspired by the idea of offering cheap food in Amma canteen. Rather than expecting what you get from others (here Govt), he has stood up to the idea of what he can do to others.
On the day of swearing in ceremony of Jayalalithaa, he had taken 102 rides for one rupee rate in a span of 12 hours from 6 AM to 6PM without any break even for taking his food. It is certainly doubtful that he could have got 102 customers at other times. But if anything comes free, our people would be too ready to make use of it. If someone tries to emulate him in some way, that is the sign that our people are becoming better citizens.
I am happy that at least the Amma canteen concept had kindled one person’s moral sense of taking something for such a low cost without returning the same in some form.
CHEAP RIDE HOME - Auto driver marks Amma's victory by charging `1trip
They say fans come in all shapes and sizes, but it is their commitment that truly defines their devotion. This 61-year-old auto driver's devotion to the AIADMK turned out to be a boon to commuters looking to travel by auto.
To celebrate the swearing-in ceremony of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa, he offered to ferry passengers to their destination for a token fare of `1. This was no small gesture, as he managed to service 102 passengers, all in a day's work, earning `102.
“I skipped breakfast and lunch. I took to the roads at 6am and finished work at 6pm. I am an ardent fan of Jayalalithaa and I am more than elated that she was sworn in as chief minister for the sixth time. I decided to celebrate by victory by servicing passengers for a token fare,“ said R M Mathivanan.
Mathivanan from Kaveri Nagar at SIHS Colony has been a party member since 1975. “I have been working as an auto driver for the past 41 years in Coimbatore city. I have been a member since the time of MGR. I am a great fan of our party chief Jayalalithaa. She has done so much good for the people of Tamil Nadu. It's no surprise that the people have voted for her again,“ he said.
As soon as Mathivanan heard that the AIADMK would be forming the new government, he began distributing sweets to bus passengers at SIHS colony.
“Our leader provides idly for just Rs1 at the Amma canteens across the state. Because of this, many poor people are able to eat breakfast. Since Amma has helped so many people, I decided to do my bit. I am not doing this for publicity . I earn `600 a day which is adequate to meet my daily needs,“ he said.