The proposed privatisation of Aluva Municipal Park has ballooned into a major controversy with Reliance Jio emerging as one of the prospective bidders.
The two-acre property has been in the centre of a raging debate for over six months with the municipality initiating steps to develop the facility with the help of a private player.
“Instead of developing the facility through sponsorships, the chairman and his aides are drawing corporate funds with commercial motives. An in-principle decision in this regard has been already taken by the Congress parliamentary party,” alleged K.V. Sarala, the chairperson of the Public Works Standing Committee of Aluva Municipality.
According to her, six councillors of the 21-member ruling council have already expressed their reservations on the proposal along with the five members in the Opposition. We will fight it when it comes up for final discussion,” she said.
Municipal chairman M.T. Jacob said Reliance Jio was among the four agencies bidding for the project. “Though the agency has come up with the best deal, we are yet to take a call on this and seek the council’s approval,” he said.
The chairman said the agency’s offer was to renovate the park free of cost. “Besides, they don’t insist on a specific lease period but only want to display their advertisements on the property,” Mr. Jacob explained.
The chairman also said the Reliance Jio has expressed its willingness to take over Aluva municipal ground near subjail and set high-mast lights, besides renovating the gallery. The plan to develop the municipal park here on a public private partnership was initiated about six months ago following a direction from the State government, which received the council’s approval later.