The Opposition parties in the Coimbatore Corporation are needlessly raising in the Council the two incidents of sinking of tenements for slum dwellers at Ammankulam in the city, Mayor R. Venkatachalam said on Tuesday.

Besides, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam should not blame the incidents on the present Government or the Council as the approval for the project was given in the Council on September 14, 2006 when this party was in power in the State and had the majority in the Corporation, the Mayor said.

As the project for the tenements was being implemented by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board, the Corporation had no role in it.

Therefore, there was no need to discuss the issue at urgent meetings of the Council that were convened for other purposes, he said.

The Mayor had already made this point more than a week ago.

The reiteration on Tuesday came in the wake of 21 councillors being removed during a protest over this issue at the Corporation on Friday. Six of them were arrested.

One tenement at Ammankulam sank on April 3 and it was being demolished. The other sank on April 18 and soil samples were lifted the next day for tests.

This led to a persistent demand for a special meeting of the Council on this issue by the following Opposition parties: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (CPI), Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mr. Venkatachalam said that since the Government and the TNSCB were dealing with the issue, it would be inappropriate on the part of the Corporation to discuss it in the Council.

The issue had been discussed in detail in the Assembly also, he pointed out.

To allegations that the Corporation had mindlessly facilitated the project by earmarking Ammankulam as the site, the Mayor said a proposal for this was approved by the Council when the AIADMK was in power.

A resolution on allowing the project on 15 acres of “Government poramboke land at Ammankulam” was approved on September 14, 2006 by a Council that had 25 councillors of the AIADMK, the party with the highest number of councillors in the 72-member elected body.

Reacting to the Mayor's rejection of the Opposition's demand for a special meeting, CPI (M) councillor and Corporation North Zone Chairman C. Padmanabhan said the Corporation could not distance itself from the Ammankulam project by pointing out that it was being implemented by the TNSCB.

The Corporation identified the beneficiaries. Therefore, it was the moral responsibility of the civic body to involve in this issue and find a solution, Mr. Padmanabhan said.

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