The Kochi Corporation has decided to issue notice to the contractor, who has been assigned the job of maintaining streetlights, for violating the agreement reached with the civic body.

The decision was taken after a heated debate, at the end of which the entire council requested Mayor Mercy Williams to take stern action against the contractor. The councillors were infuriated by the comments of a person representing the contractor, Screenery Media Limited, to a news daily recently that the work was not profitable because of donations demanded by political parties.

There were demands for filing defamation charges against the contractor and the news daily that published the report. Even though councillors like N. Venugopal called for immediate termination of the contract and making alternative arrangements for maintaining streetlights, officials said such a step would result in a legal tangle.

With the election notification expected soon, the corporation might not be able to engage another contractor before the term of this council ends by mid-August. Deputy Mayor C.K. Manisankar and councillors A.B. Sabu, E.M. Sunil Kumar, K.V. Manoj, V.J. Hyacinth, Mercy George, Sabu George and U.S. Sreekumar participated in the discussions.

The Mayor also said that the Finance Standing Committee was being entrusted with the task of finding an alternative arrangement for maintenance of streetlights before the notice issued to the contractor ended.

The construction of public toilets in different parts of the city was another subject that triggered a debate in the session. The councillors objected to the two-storied complex coming up in front of the Town Hall. The main objection raised was that the new building would obstruct the view of one of the iconic landmarks of the city.

In his reply, E.M. Sunil Kumar, chairman of Town Planning Committee, said the location for the bus-shelter-cum-toilet complex was decided in consultation with the officials of the proposed metro rail. Winding up the discussions, the Mayor said the position of the toilet complex would be reconsidered.

In reply to the ongoing renovation works of the crematorium at Koovappadam using funds released by V.K. Ebrahim Kunju, MLA, the Health Standing Committee chairman N.A. Mani said that the move to set up a board by a private party was against the normsA drainage plan would be prepared to study the issue of waterlogging, especially in areas near railway lines, said Ms. Williams. Steps for completing the distribution of identity cards for those below the poverty line for comprehensive insurance plan would also be taken.

A hearing regarding the operation of an automobile workshop in the residential area near Vytilla was also held along with the council meeting. Representatives of the workshop owner and the complainant, EDRAAC, presented their cases.

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