Should trivial issues and personality conflicts are allowed to put civic problems on the back burner in council meetings? This question has been doing the rounds here since Tuesday morning.

The reference was to an unsavoury development and the time wasted on it at a meeting of the Udhagamandalam Municipal Council (UMC) held here on Monday.

Lamenting that for sometime now council meetings have been marred by such developments, people representing a cross section of society told The Hindu here on Wednesday that they were not connected in any way with the town or its people.

With chronic civic problems remaining unaddressed and new problems cropping up every day, the council should give more importance to them and also ensure that the dignity and decorum of the forum is upheld.

Listing civic issues which have for long been crying for attention, they pointed out that Charing Cross, on the threshold of this popular vacation destination has for long been in an appalling state.

With sewage frequently overflowing a foul odour greets visitors as they enter the town. Since the area is congested pedestrians are forced to walk on the sewage.

The busy Etienne’s road running parallel to the main Commercial road has been in a state of neglect for years together though a large number of vehicles including tourist and state transport corporation buses ply on it and it leads to tourist spots like the Government Rose Garden.

Expressing concern over the way in which council meetings are conducted and the behaviour of the members, G. Janardhanan, president of the Public Awareness Association of Udhagamandalam, regretted that though civic amenities like footpaths and railings are in a deplorable state nothing tangible is being done to set them right.

Sources in the hospitality and travel sectors said that steps should be taken on a war footing to spruce up the town. If not, ‘we fear that tourists will start looking for other places to spend their holidays’. They hoped that the municipal councillors and officials would rise to the occasion.

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