Even as Tamil Nadu and its capital Chennai, in particular, reel under water scarcity, tankers with Rajinikanth’s picture are zigzagging the city, supplying water in worst-affected regions. The initiative, by members of Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM), the fan club of superstar Rajinikanth now made into a broad political platform, is to provide drinking water free of cost to a city thirsting for a solution to the months-long crisis.
“We are doing it as a social cause. We identified the areas that were worst affected by the water shortage. In those areas, people are not getting water even once in 10 days. So we had a meeting and decided we should supply water to those areas. Every day, we supply 48,000 litres of water to these areas through two trucks,” said AVK Raja, the Central Chennai constituency secretary of Rajini Makkal Mandram.
In Tamil Nadu, fan clubs have always been the vehicle through which a star communicates with their followers. Raja said the initiative was approved by Rajinikanth himself and he kept a track of daily activities. “Rajini sir is closely watching all our activities, we update our work on a daily basis to our mandram and also through social media,” he said.
Sundara Babu, the secretary of the Rajini Makkal Mandram, Maduravoyal West area, said it was voluntary service and should not be seen from a political angle.
“We are doing this without expecting anything in return from the people. From Sennerikuppam, we bring water to all the wards on a priority basis. We pay Rs 6,000 per tanker and bring about 12,000 litres of water every day,” Babu said.
The RMM workers have also lent a helping hand in the resurrection of Chitlapakkam lake. The agri division of RMM joined the volunteers of ‘Chitlapakkam Rising group’ and were involved in the cleaning drive on Sunday. Even a week ago, the members were involved in a cleaning drive near Alandur Lake, where close to five tons of garbage was collected.
Speaking at the mega clean-up drive in Chitlapakkam, Ravichandran, the RMM secretary of South Chennai constituency, said: “Think good, speak good, do good, this is our Thalaivar’s Mantra. Rajini sir always paid importance to water management. He wants to implement the river linking project in the country. Following his footsteps, we are helping the people in whichever way it is possible. I take this opportunity to thank the volunteers of Chitlapakkam Lake for inviting us here.”
In Vellore, RMM members are distributing 25-litre cans of drinking water to every household in the constituency. The members are even doing a door-to-door supply to the houses that have elderly people. Apart from this, the members are also helping people construct water tanks.
The activities of Rajini Makkal Mandram have received a warm reception from the people and even among politicians. R Nallakannu of the CPI visited the Chitlapakkam lake and applauded the RMM members for their efforts.