The Deputy Mayor of Kochi Corporation C. K. Manisankar, at the council meeting here, has said that a consultant of the corporation was denying drinking water to city dwellers by holding off the tendering process of a water pipe replacement project. Mr. Manisankar made this statement while reacting to the complaints of acute drinking water shortage in various parts of the city.

The pipes laid along the Palarivattom-Thamannam route are in a bad state. To utilise the full benefit of the recently completed HUDCO drinking water project, it needs to be replaced. The authorities were unable to pump water through the pipe to its full capacity due to frequent bursting of the old pipes.

According to Mr. Manisankar, the consultant has to complete the tendering process of works worth Rs.4.5 crore. The pipe relaying work is being done by the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project.

The drinking water shortage in the Vennala and Chilavannur areas can be solved by implementing the special schemes for improving the water supply to these areas. The details of the projects were discussed at a meeting held in the presence of the Irrigation Minister at Thiruvananthapuram recently. The Deputy Mayor has urged the State government to blacklist the agency and reassign it to ensure timely completion of the project.

A.B. Sabu, the leader of the UDF in the council, alleged that the revenue collection was affected as a large number of officials were deputed for other works.

The corporation had failed to collect the tax arrears. The civic authorities should initiate steps for ending the agitation of the corporation contractors as it had affected the implementation of a number of projects in various corporation divisions, he said.

In his reply, Mr. Manisankar said that the officials were making all out efforts for collecting the tax arrears as the financial year was coming to an end. Legal steps were also initiated for recovering the arrears, Mr. Manisankar informed the council.

The Deputy Mayor said that the agitation of the contractors by boycotting the tenders is uncalled for as the corporation had cleared the arrears of the contractors till March 2009. The remaining arrears would be cleared without much delay, he said.

Mayor Mercy Williams said that the corporation will look into the allegation that the Kerala Water Authority was removing some of the public taps from the city.

Works Standing Committee member N. Anilkumar, corporation councillors including Leno Jacob, T.J. Vinod, K.J. Sohan, Shyamala S. Prabhu, P.S. Viju and Lailamma George participated in the discussion.

More In: Kochi