DMK councillors stage walkout at council meeting

Coimbatore Corporation on Wednesday decided to construct a road on the Big Tank bund to ease traffic congestion on the Ukkadam - Athupalam stretch of the National Highway.

In a resolution the Corporation Council passed at its urgent meeting, it said that following Municipal Administration and Water Supply Minister S.P. Velumani’s and a few officials’ visit to the Tank bund on June 14 for a spot inspection, it was agreed to explore the possibility of having a road to ease traffic congestion on the 1.4-km stretch between Ukkadam and Athupalam.

Based on the decision, the Corporation proposed to have a road by strengthening the bund, constructing a retaining wall, fencing the bund and constructing a walkers’ path. The Corporation had estimated that the work would cost Rs. 4.95 crore, which it planned to have as a grant from the State Government or mobilise by revising the budget for 2014-15.

The Corporation Council passed the resolution and almost all the 36 other subjects tabled without much of a debate.

The Council also decided extend the contract for supply drinking water through lorries, increase the street light maintenance charges, construct a compound wall near the Vellalore dump yard entrance and provide makeshift toilets at Kovai Courtallam at no cost to the Forest Department.

The DMK councillors staged a walkout shouting slogans at the council meeting saying that the Corporation planning to pay a higher amount the street light maintenance contractor was not advisable as the contractor had enjoyed a poor reputation on account of his work.

Councillor A. Nandhakumar, who led the walkout, said that for the past three years street light maintenance had been so poor that lights were not glowing for months together, leave alone weeks.

The absence of street lights had led to increase in crime even in the heart of the city. Women feared venturing out after dusk for the fear of their gold chains being snatched.

When this was the ground reality why was the Corporation keen on paying a higher amount to the contractor, he asked and added why was the Corporation bent on having only one contractor.

More contractors would mean easy maintenance, he said.

Mr. Nandhakumar said that the DMK councillors staged a walkout because even as he was raising the issue regarding street lights, the Mayor in-charge S. Leelavathi Unni chose to ignore his objections and go ahead by rushing other subjects tabled for approval. It was nothing short of intolerance to debate.

After the DMK councillors’ exit, the councillors objected to a subject allowing property tax exemption to a trust and refund of money it had paid.

The councillors wanted the civic body to appeal against the order the trust had obtained from the Madras High Court for tax exemption.

Councillor ‘Singai’ S. Balan said that it would open Pandora’s Box as many such trusts in the city would cite this as an example to claim tax relief. Officials promised to look at the possibility of appeal.

The Corporation Council also decided to increase the number of conservancy workers on contract.

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