Services of Corporation Engineer to be dispensed with

City dwellers may have to put up with bad roads and flooding this year as the road repair works and flood-prevention projects are likely to be delayed.

This would be the outcome of the decision of the Kochi Corporation council to re-tender the 181 projects under the People’s Plan programme for alleviating water-logging, 98 for road repair and few projects for the welfare of members of the Scheduled Caste community. Projects worth around Rs. 25 crore would be re-tendered in the process.

The resolution for re-tendering the works was taken after complaints of corruption involved in the awarding of works, which were supervised by the Corporation Engineer, reached the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) and the civic administrators.

The Kochi Corporation council also decided to inform the State government that it didn’t require the service of the Corporation Engineer anymore and he should be shifted out of the civic body.

It also decided to request the State government to institute an investigation by the secretary of the Local Self-Government Department into the allegations of corruption involving the Corporation Engineer. However, the LDF members dissented with the decision.

The LDF members will write to the Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany that a VACB probe should be ordered into the allegations, said N. Sunilkumar, parliamentary party secretary of the CPI (M) in the council.

Later, Mayor Tony Chammany urged the Works Committee members to closely scrutinise the re-tendering process for preventing any possible discrepancies.

Road repair works including metal patching and re-tarring and construction of new roads in divisions, building of culverts and small drains, laying concrete cover for drains and repairing of existing drains are some of the works that would be affected. If the works are not implemented before March 31, the civic body was likely to lose funds allotted for it. It may also lead to reduced allotment of funds from the government for the next fiscal.

K.R. Premakumar, of the Congress councillor, K.V. Manoj of the CPI (M), C.A. Shakeer of CPI and Shyamala S. Prabhu of the BJP too demanded a detailed probe.

While Soumini Jain, the Works Standing Committee chairperson, felt that the works could be completed before the deadline, T.J. Vinod, the chairman of the Development Standing Committee, said that there existed the possibility of the project works getting delayed.

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