Kamal Haasan Visits Adopted Village, Draws Up List Of "What People Want"

Adigathur village in Tamil Nadu's Tiruvallur district is among the eight villages that Kamal Haasan's party has adopted

Kamal Haasan interacting with villagers of Adigathur in Tamil Nadu's Tiruvallur district

Chennai: One hundred toilets, three classrooms, a skill development workshop and an increase in green cover, that's what actor-politician Kamal Haasan has planned for one of the eight villages he has adopted to showcase his model of development.

Making the announcement at Adigathur village in Tamil Nadu's Tiruvallur district, 60 kilometres from state capital Chennai, the 63-year-old actor also witnessed a meeting of the gram sabha comprising all members of the village who are over 18 and are registered voters.

"We prepared this by asking people what exactly they want. We are doing whatever we can. Many think we cannot do what the government ought to do," said Mr Haasan who launched his political party called Makkal Needhi Maiam in February.

Sources in Mr Haasan's party say funds for development schemes will be collected from "willing donors".

The village is home to nearly 3000 people, largely farmers whose fields are barren as most of the water bodies have dried up. "There's no drinking water and no water for farming. It would be nice if they would fix the pond and do something for farmers," said R Subramaniam who owns 10 acres of land.

The village also has a gypsy community that wants to be made owners of the homes they've built on government land that is not listed in revenue records. "If he helps us, we would do whatever he tells us," said Prem Kumar who now makes ornamental flowers for a living.

Mr Haasan has pitched his party as an alternative to the AIADMK and DMK - the two parties that have dominated the state's political landscape for decades. A crackdown on corruption, efficient delivery of welfare schemes and an all-round development of villages is among the key priorities listed by the actor.

"Often, people who we voted for believing their promises have not done anything. If you come here during rainy season it would be so bad, said Pavithra Prakash, a villager.

The whistle-blower  app "Maiam Whistle" launched by Mr Haasan on Monday  to report corruption and government apathy could potentially embarrass the ruling AIADMK.

Last year, the state government deleted the email IDs of ministers from its website after the budding politician asked his supporters to mail them about corruption they encounter. The ruling party now says Mr Haasan is all talk, no action.

"It's just a show-off, he can't do anything constructively. Speaking is very easy but execution is very difficult," said AIADMK Spokesperson S Gokula Indira.