The annual budget of the Kochi corporation for 2010-2011 fiscal was passed on Tuesday amidst protest and boycott by the UDF councillors.

The Opposition councillors had boycotted the budget discussions on Monday following acrimonious scenes in the council.

As the council met for the budget discussion on Tuesday, the Opposition councillors led by A.B. Sabu sought an explanation from the Deputy Mayor C.K. Manisankar regarding the source of revenue for various projects and the budget proposal for utilisation of maintenance grants.

Incidentally, T.J. Vinod and V.J. Hycinth, members of the Finance Standing Committee, had written to the Mayor seeking clarification on these issues.

“The Deputy Mayor shouted at the UDF councillors and angrily asked them to quit the council hall. Some of the CPI (M) councillors including Standing Committee chairpersons also rushed to the opposition councillors and attempted to stifle us,” said A.B. Sabu.

The Opposition councillors walked out of the council hall protesting against the approach of the Deputy Mayor and staged a protest meeting, he said.

The councillors also burned copies of the budget after the protest meeting.

At the same time, Mr. Manisankar said that the opposition protest in Kochi was part of an agenda of the UDF. The UDF councillors had staged similar protests in Thiruvananthapuram corporation and some other civic bodies in the State.

The LDF councillors were protesting against the attempts of the Opposition councillors to disrupt proceedings, he said.

All the proposals were made in tune with the guidelines of the State government. The proposals made in violation of the guidelines will not get the approval.

The Opposition councillors were attempting to mislead the people by raising false changes, he said.

The council decided to request the State government to extend for one more month the scheme for waiving the penal interest on building tax arrears.

As a large number of revenue officials were deputed for census and election related works during March, a large number of tax payers could not effectively use the facility, the Deputy Mayor Manisankar said.

The Deputy Mayor also stated that the tax collection till Monday showed an increase of Rs. one crore when compared to the previous year.

The arrears of the corporation contractors would be cleared by obtaining an overdraft from the bank.

The proposal of the N. Anilkumar, the Works Standing Committee chairman, in this regard was passed by the council, the Deputy Mayor said.

Kochi Mayor Mercy Williams presided over the council meeting.

K.G. Dinesan urged the civic authorities to evolve schemes for providing housing for those who don't own land or home in the city but were living in the city for years.

C.K. Peter demanded a rehabilitation package for the people who have to be evicted for the proposed Panampilly Nagar-Thevara-Konthuruthu road project.

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