The Kochi Corporation council decided to cancel the No Objection Certificate (NOC) issued to a bar at Chalikkavattom amid noisy scenes at the meeting on Wednesday.
The permission given to the bar had created a political storm in the corporation council as well as in the Congress. To shore up the support of his rival Congress ‘I’ faction to pass the annual corporation budget, Mr. Chammany had agreed, among other key demands, to cancel the NOC issued to the bar. Months after the budget, the decision to revoke the NOC, a precondition for support, wasn’t forthcoming, which rankled the I group.
The Opposition councillors slammed the Mayor at the council meeting for issuing the NOC without discussing it in the council and later convening a special council meeting to cancel the decision.
Initiating the discussion in the council meeting, N. Anilkumar of CPI(M) wanted the Mayor to explain the circumstances under which the sanction was accorded and the process through which the file seeking permission was included in the agenda of the corporation council.The ‘I’ faction councillors too joined the Opposition to corner the Mayor. T.J. Vinod, the Development Standing Committee chairman and ‘I’ faction leader in the council, accused the Mayor of taking a wrong step. The embarrassment could have been avoided had the issue been discussed in the council, he said. V.K. Minimol, another Congress councillor, demanded that the civic body evolve guidelines for considering the NOC of bars in future.
As the Opposition councillors, including K.N. Sunilkumar, N.A. Shafeek, M.P. Maheshkumar and C.A. Shakeer slammed the Mayor, only two leaders from the ruling front, Health Standing Committee chairperson T.K. Ashraf and Town Planning Standing Committee chairperson K.J. Sohan, came to his rescue.
Dissatisfied with the explanations and the admission of the Mayor that there were some flaws in the manner in which the clearance was issued, the opposition raised slogans at the meeting. Protests peaked when the Mayor said the bar hotel owner had contributed Rs. 5 lakh to the Mayor’s Development Fund.
Though Mr. Chammany explained it was an unconditional donation and the funds thus received were used for the rehabilitation of poor in the city, the opposition walked out shouting slogans.As the protest continued, the Mayor ended the council proceedings by declaring that the NOC is cancelled.