An interview with Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed, General Secretary, Kayalpattinam United Association (Chennai).
Kayalpatnam.com>When and how did Kayalpattinam United Association (Chennai) come about?
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> There was a Kayal Welfare Association founded in Chennai in the 1980s. The present Kayalpattinam United Association (Chennai) was founded in 1993 - following communal troubles in our home town. It was registered in 1994.
The Association first came into being largely through the efforts of Marhoom Kavanna Theena Hassan Hajiar, Haji A.K. Abdul Haleem, Haji S. Akbar Shah, Haji S.S.M. Sadaqathullah, Haji M.A. Kader, Haji M.J. Syed Ibrahim, Haji R.M.N. Shaikna and myself.
Kayalpatnam.com>How many natives of Kayalpatnam live in and around Chennai?
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> Sometime back, we did a survey and estimated that about 9000 Kayalites live in and around Chennai. Probably around 6000 live in the Harbour (Mannady) area alone!
Kayalpatnam.com>How many members does Kayalpattinam United Association (Chennai) have? How much is the membership fee?
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> There are presently 843 members. The membership fee is Rs.120 per year.
Kayalpatnam.com>How does the association fund its projects?
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> The Association's activities are primarily funded by the generous contribution of its members - especially its Office-bearers.
Kayalpatnam.com>How is Kayalpattinam United Association (Chennai) administratively structured?
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> The Association's President is Haji A.K. Abdul Haleem, Vice-Presidents are Haji R.M.N. Shaikna, Haji S.M. Jaffer Sathik, Haji A.K. Seyed and Haji S. Akbar Shah, I am the General Secretary, Assistant Secretaries are Haji M.A. Kader, Haji S. Ibnu Soud, Haji Palayam Habeeb Mohamed, Haji M.N.M. Abdul Kader, Treasurer is Haji M.A. Syed Abdul Kader and the Legal Advisor is Haji M. Imthias.
The Special Advisors are Haji Khateeb Saleem, Haji S.A. Abdur Rahman, Janab M.K. Muhyideen Thamby (Durai), Haji A.K. Abdullah, Dr.K.V.S. Habeeb Mohamed and Haji L.K.S. Syed Ahamed.
Kayalpatnam.com>How often does the General Body and Executive Committee meet?
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> General Body meets once every year, Executive Committee meets atleast twice a year.
Kayalpatnam.com>What are the social areas that the Association focusses on?
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> Our objective is to tackle all issues that are non-political and non-religious.
Kayalpatnam.com>You recently visited the Iqra Education Society's office in Kayalpatnam. Do you have plans to co-ordinate educational works with them?
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> Yes, I indeed did visit Iqra Educational Society. I was happy to see the way they are organised. With regard to co-ordinating with them, we will discuss the suggestion at our next Executive Committee meeting.
Kayalpatnam.com>Tell us about some of the works you are doing.
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> In the year 2006-2007, we provided educational assistance (for Higher Studies) to the tune of Rs.2,64,000. In the year 2007-2008, we provided educational assistance to the tune of Rs.4,80,000. The same amount was also given in the year 2008-2009.
Since 2007, through Self Help Groups in Kayalpatnam, more than 20 women are benefitting. They make advertisement bags.
We have formed committees to address problems regarding railway station, self help programs, education and electricity issues. Each committee has 6-8 members - specifically addressing these issues.
As you will know, currently people have to travel to a far-off and isolated place to pay their electricity bills. We have been advocating moving the EB office to near Bus Stand. Now that the elections are over, we will start pushing for this.
We also have formed a committee to address the issue of East Coast Road through Kayalpatnam.
Kayalpatnam.com>What according to you are the major problems facing Kayalpatnam - that require urgent attention?
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> Water issue - I think - is presently the major problem. We are currently getting water supply once in 4 days. It must be increased to once in 2 days.
Another major problem that I have noticed is the Traffic Jam in the arterial roads (KTM Street/Customs Road). At certain times in the mornings and evenings, it takes a lot of time to get through these roads. Buses tend to avoid Kayalpatnam because of this - since they lose atleast 20 minutes due to these traffic jams.
This also sometimes can be life-threatening, as people may find it difficult to cross this point at emergency situations (like going to KMT Hospital etc).
At our recent General Body meeting, we urged all the people to co-operate to make these roads permissable for one-way traffic only and divert the traffic through Nesavu Street.
Kayalpatnam.com>Are you satisfied with the way all Kayal organisations - in India/Overseas - are functioning?
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> Yes, I am happy to see their contributions to our Society.
Kayalpatnam.com>There have been talks about a central co-ordination point to implement the projects of various Kayal organisations under one umbrella. What are your views on that?
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> It is a good plan, will be beneficial to our Community - if and when it happens.
Kayalpatnam.com>Your final thoughts.
Mr.A.K.Peer Mohammed> I have been doing public service for over 30 years. It is my sincere belief Unity amongst ourselves is a must. If all of us unite and work, we can achieve a lot. We must overcome religious differences for the sake of our town's future.
On a personal note, I would like to state the following. Though I am based in Chennai, I have started spending more time in Kayalpatnam. I am especially interested in creating awareness about Self-Employment opportunities. There are many government facilities for this. Our youth - instead of trying to go abroad etc, can utilise these services. There are huge opportunities for Small Scale Industries and the assistance is easy to get from Central and State governments. I am planning to create awareness about this.
Another personal goal is to create awareness about Civil Services (IAS,IPS,IFS). This will be very good for our community in the long term. We must be prepared to support and guide the aspirants in every possible way.
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