Mangaluru, May 31: After the opposition party queried on the recommencement of town hall renovation works and protested during the general meeting held on Saturday, May 30th, at the Mangalore City Corporation here, the meeting was adjourned and got postponed due to the chaos.
The meeting was chaired by Mayor Jacintha Alfred.
Opposition leader Sudhir Shetty who raised the issue said, Town Hall renovation work has been stopped. Out of the Rs 99.7 lakhs given to the Nirmiti Kendra, only Rs 30 lakhs worth of work is completed. The contractors are saying they do not have technical experts to complete the work. We want the answer for when the town hall renovation works will begin. We will not allow council sessions till the work is completed. Saying this, Sudhir Shetty and the other opposition members started protesting and shouting slogans, until the session was adjourned.
Earlier during the meeting, the issue regarding mayor’s funds created a war of words with former mayor Mahabala Maarla pointing out that during his tenure, he had set aside Rs 1 crore and Rs 40 lakh as mayor and deputy mayor’s funds, respectively, in the 2014-15 budget, but it has not been sanctioned. He took the officials to task asking if they had no respect for the council, and said that they had given an irresponsible reply by writing when explanation had been sought.
The opposition also joined in and demanded to know why the funds were not sanctioned.
In response MCC commissioner Hephsiba Rani Korlapati said, wWe have no objection to the funds being sanctioned, but some officials have written to the state government saying that it was unlawful to have such funds.
At this point Maarla said, according to the rule book no official has the right to decide if something done by the council is lawful or unlawful. Officials can make recommendations if they feel anything is wrong, but they cannot pass judgements.
After a round of chaos and shouting over this issue, Mayor Jacintha Alfred said that she would write to state government regarding this and appropriate action would be taken.
US team’s visit
Milagres ward corporator Abdul Rauf alleged that the MCC commissioner had needlessly ‘splurged’ on three officials from the US who had visited the city two months ago to discuss development of Mangaluru into a smart city. “Two months ago three people from US had come to Mangaluru in connection to smart city project. The MCC commissioner provided them accomodation in hotel Ocean Pearl and hired two vehicles for their use at the MCC’s expense.
“When we asked for clarification in the last council meeting, the commissioner said that it was arranged on the instructions of the secretary of urban development ministry. However, when we checked the documents, it came to light that the email sent by the urban development ministry’s secretary had just said that three persons would be coming and MCC officials were to meet them between 12 and 5 pm. There was no instruction related to accomodation, vehicles or deployment of gazetted officers. The MCC commissioner has taken these steps all one her own wish and action should be taken against her,” Rauf demanded.
The mayor responded saying that an enquiry would be ordered and if the allegation were found to be true, the amount spent on the US team would be collected from the officers responsible.
Allegation: None visits Suratkal which severe problems prevails
Although several times complaints was given to the concerned authorities regarding the problems of drainage, market, water, and bridge in the Suratkal wards, neither the officials nor the commissioner has visited the spot. The ladies toilet in Suratkal does not have a door at all. As the security in the market is not carrying his work appropriately, fishes are being stolen, said Corporator of Hosabettu Pratibha Kulai.
She presented the MCC commissioner and her deputy with a CD of problems facing her ward and said, “There is an urgent need for construction of a proper drainage system in my ward, but despite visits by the mayor and the MLA, nothing has been done. The drain water is contaminating the wells belonging to people. The corporation building at Suratkal is close to collapse, and under the Suratkal bridge, vendors have set up petty shops. But despite all the problems, neither the MCC commissioner nor her officials are visiting Suratkal, hence I am giving this CD. If the commissioner and officials cannot visit Suratkal, let them at least watch the CD to learn about the problems.
If the problems remain unaddressed till the next general meeting, I will not attend the coming general meeting, she said.
Clarification from MCC commissioner regarding US team’s visit
Later in the evening, MCC commissioner Hephsiba Rani Korlapati issued a written clarification to allegations levelled by corporator Abdul Rauf regarding the reception accorded on behalf of the city corporation to a delegation on smart city project which had arrived from USA.
The commissioner has clarified that on April 28th this year, Rauf had, at the general session of the council, sought the file relating to the above subject. After the file was presented to the city mayor, who had treated the issue as closed after bringing to the notice of Rauf an e-mail received from the secretary in the urban development department on this subject.
As per the instructions contained in the said e-mail, the delegation which came from USA was received, interaction on smart city project was organized with participation of city mayor, deputy mayor, leader of the opposition, and chairpersons of four standing committees of the city corporation, she explained.
Later, at a meeting held at Mangala auditorium with the participation of corporators, officials etc views on this issue had been exchanged between the officials, general public etc. This programme was organized with the approval of and in consultation with the city mayor. The mayor herself accorded a warm welcome to the important member participants. This is not a private programme of the city corporation commissioner, she clarified.
Links to certain reports on visit by this American delegation to different important cities in India also have been appended to the clarification letter.
In the meet, deputy mayor Purushottama Chitrapura, Standing committee president Harinath, Prakash B Salyan, Deepak Poojary, Keshav were present.