K V Kuppam Block is one of 20 government administrative blocks that make up the Vellore Administrative District in Tamil Nadu and there are 39 villages within the block. At the village level, the local government administration is called a Panchayat. It is a local body working for the good of the village.

The Rural Administrative Officer of the Vellore District is called The Collector. He is very powerful and deals with law and order, revenue collection, taxation, the control of planning permission and the handling of natural and man-made emergencies.

Panchayat villages in KV Kuppam Block

KV Kuppam Block showing the Panchayat villages.

The local Block Development Office, which is responsible for community and environmental development, is situated on the edge of K V Kuppam village.

The village has an electricity supply which is fairly efficient but there are still often power cuts every day or so. The local electricity board maintains the transformers in each village following a monthly action plan. Electricity costs an average of Rs 1 per unit and the bill must be paid on the 7th of each month. If the bill is not paid by the 14th the supply is cut off.

Selvi in her kitchen

Selvi has an electrical grinder but also uses gas for cooking and kerosene for lamps during a power cut.

Drinking water is supplied by a pipeline from the underground Palar River more than 4 km away. It is treated with chemicals and then stored in one of the four water tanks in the area. Some houses have a pipe line into the house but many have to collect their drinking water from a stand pipe in the road each morning and evening when the water tower tanks are turned on for an hour. Water for crops and livestock is supplied from wells or bore holes, although many have now dried up as the water table drops due to failure of the monsoon rains.

The village water tower

The water tower in the centre of the village is accessed by an external spiral staircase. The water tower pipes are turned on twice a day.

Pumping water from bore holes and wells

Water pumped from bore holes and wells is used for crops.

Public STD telephones are still available in the villages in K V Kuppam Block but in 2015 many more mobile phones are available and more affordable. Internet facilities have improved in recent years but most villagers do not have computer access.

Rubbish collection is a hit and miss affair. There are regular collections from a small number of public garbage bins in K V Kuppam itself, but there is little provision for more rural areas where garbage is routinely burned at the side of the road. Many homes in the centre of K V Kuppam have access to an Indian squat toilet but not all. Although the government has done much to persuade rural communities to build private and public latrines there are many who still prefer not to have them. Dirty jobs like rubbish collection and cleaning latrines and drains for waste water are still considered to be suitable employment only for people from the lowest caste.

Garbage bins

There are a small number of garbage bins within the village.

Rubbish collection

Rubbish collection near the bus station.

There is a hospital on the campus of the Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs, which is linked to the Christian Medical College in Vellore. The hospital provides a bed and medical facilities only, so relatives have to stay and bring food for the patient. This causes a lot of expense for the family who often have to travel some distance, and arrange accommodation, cooking facilities etc. There is no ambulance service, although RUSHA can send a van to an accident, so most people make their own way to hospital, walking, cycling or riding on a bullock cart.

There is a government clinic a few miles from K V Kuppam, which is well used, even for minor ailments and RUSHA medical staff visit the outlying villages weekly, carrying out immunization, ante-natal work and baby care, as well as having an important educational role. Family care workers and village health workers are also trained at RUHSA. Basic drugs can be bought at the local chemist, in quantities as small as one headache tablet. There are also private clinics and people who practice traditional methods.

The weekly clinic

The doctor sees patients at the weekly clinic in KVK.

There is a Central prison and a special women’s prison in Vellore and a large police station with prisoner’s cells on the main road through K V Kuppam village.

The Police Station

The Police Station is in the centre of K V Kuppam village.

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