TNIE discusses with some commonfolk on what their first ‘surgical strikes’ would be if they are made the prime minister for 24 hours
‘End corruption; launch WiFi’
Sushant S, ferry boat driver
(Burst of laughter) I am a humble Kerala State Water Transport Department (SWTD) boat driver in Ernakulam. The thought of becoming prime minister is amusing. Well, if I get the power, I will initiate stringent measures to eradicate corruption. I believe greed is the root cause of most wrongs happening around us. Looking at my profession, SWTD provides basic facilities at low fares. But the overall growth of the department has been stagnant. I will add more facilities to the service, maybe by increasing the fare a little bit. I will modernise the service, take measures such as introducing free WiFi on board.
by Gargi Prasannan
‘Will revamp drain system’
Anil Kumar P P, KSRTC driver
My first decision will be to implement a public grievance redressal system. I will look into difficulties faced by the people. Then, flooding of roads during the rainy season causes a lot of inconvenience and hazards for the general public. One of the main reasons for this is the inefficient drainage system in our city. Revamping it will be among my top priorities. Another issue that I deal with every day is the traffic congestion on the Aluva bridge. One can see long lines of vehicles; there isn’t enough room. I will build a second bridge close by.
by Nayana P Nair
‘More Pink Police patrols, gender-neutral toilets’
Raga Ranjini, Kochi Metro ticketing staff
I am a member of the transgender community, who works at the ticketing counter at Elamkulam Metro station. As Metro workers, we work late till midnight. I have found that it is unsafe to travel at that time, even while wearing the Metro uniform. I will order more Pink Police patrolling across the city. I will also construct gender-neutral toilets across India. There is a huge shortage of such facilities. Imagine the need to go to a hotel, and order tea just to use the bathroom. This situation needs to change.
by George Michael
‘Basic safety, hygiene first’
K K Uthaman, sanitation worker
If I get the power to bring about some changes to society, I will start off with my profession. Having worked as a sanitation worker for more than three decades, I believe I should give importance to the well-being of workers like myself. We lack adequate facilities and even basic gear to ensure safety and hygiene. This includes hand gloves, overalls, face masks, raincoats, hand wash, etc. I will start my PM journey with these basics.
by Mahima Anna Jacob
‘I will fix the roads, expedite projects’
Muhammed Basheer, autorickshaw driver
I have been an autorickshaw driver for the past 10 years. So, obviously, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of becoming ‘Kochiyude pradhana mantri (Kochi’s PM)’ is to improve road connectivity. Highways and roads under KMRL are quite well-developed. However, city roads are in bad shape. I will initiate work on them. Bad roads often lead to numerous accidents, but that aspect goes unnoticed. Similarly, canals in the city need urgent attention. Take the Kaloor area, for instance. Development projects are often left abandoned halfway. For example, the canal slabs on ACS Road near Kaloor Junction were removed for renovation about six months ago. The canal remains open even now, and causes mishaps. I will end such systemic sloth and expedite projects.
by George Michael
‘Oil companies under govt control’
Regimon M H, KSEB lineman
If I become the PM, I will bring all oil companies under government control. Fuel prices have been rising, and becoming unaffordable for normal people. Fuel cost rise leads to price hike in daily commodities such as rice, vegetables, fruits, milk, and other agricultural products. I will take steps to reduce the burden on middle-class and lower middle-class families like mine.
by Meril George
‘Will overhaul our legal system’
Hari Harshakumar, Swiggy delivery partner
I will completely overhaul our legal system, and the laws. Also, despite being a democracy that advocates equality, we are living in a contradictory state. An MLA earns Rs 2 crore a year. But what about the common man? My thrust area will be equality. Another area I would focus on is policing. I will recruit more people to the police force and revamp it. That would mean enhanced civic order and public safety.
by Teresa Thomas
‘24 hours is not enough for me’
Sreeja Ramesh, ASHA worker
I have been an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) worker since 2011. My primary concern is, of course, the health of the people. If I become PM, I will focus on the marginalised sections of society; they are deprived of facilities in terms of health care. I will also ensure that welfare projects benefit every citizen. For instance, government health cards are currently not accepted at various private hospitals. I will overhaul the system. Then, I believe there is an urgent need to make people aware of the need to eat healthy, which helps build a healthier society. Once people start opting for healthy food, restaurants will also automatically change. I don’t think 24 hours will be enough for me (laughs)!
by Gargi Prasannan
‘I will boost farming, export’
K A Thomas, farmer
I am a Pokkali rice farmer in Mulavukad; my family has been into farming for many decades. So, topmost on my priority list will be the agricultural sector. It is extremely difficult to continue farming with the kind of support we get. As PM, I will ensure support prices that will cover all the expenses for growing a crop. I will also promote organic crops via government centres. Pokkali is an organic crop. This rice variant can be used for mid-day meals in the education sector. This will ensure good food for children and steady income for farmers. Our crops have a huge market overseas. I will initiate a proper system to create smooth channels to export organic products and ensure the farmers benefit. by George Michael
‘Potholes, drains, mosquitoes...’
Baiju S, traffic police officer
One of the major problems in our city are the potholes. They cause traffic congestion and accidents. Then, stagnant water, unused canals and open drains, etc., are the primary reason for the never-ending mosquito menace. I will start off tackling such basic issues affecting the common man.
by Teresa Thomas