Councillors cutting across party lines complain of lack of transparency in administration
Drinking water issue occupied a major part of the debate at the Corporation Council meeting in Madurai on Thursday. Not only the opposition party councillors but even ruling party members and zonal chairmen complained of lack of transparency in administration.
The meeting, scheduled for 10 a.m., was postponed to 3 p.m. because of the inauguration of Eco Park at Tirupparankundram. The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) zonal chairpersons accused the Corporation officials and Mayor of creating an artificial drinking water shortage in the city. They also charged that due to inadequate number of generators the sewage pumping station was unable to pump out drain water in times of power cuts which resulted in the mixing of sewage with drinking water.
They demanded that either new generators should be bought or the existing ones repaired immediately. A majority of the council members alleged that private contract was the reason for the malaise and opined that the Corporation should take up maintenance of the sewage pumping station on its own.
AIADMK zonal chairperson R. Jeyavel said that he had been complaining of short supply of water in his zone for the past six months but officials showed no sign of attending to it. “It really becomes problematic for us to face the residents as they complain everyday about water shortage,” he said.
Councillor K. Rajapandian alleged that since 1996 petty shops within Madurai Corporation had mushroomed in a big way. From an estimated 1,500 petty shops in 1996, it had increased to more than 6,000 shops, he said and demanded that illegal petty shops should be removed. Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M. Chellam demanded that vacancies in conservancy work should be filled immediately with permanent jobs and not through contract labour.
Mayor V.V. Rajan Chellappa, in his reply, said that poor quality of work in execution of the second drinking water pipeline for the city during the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam rule was the reason for the frequent disruption of water supply. He further said that orders had been placed to buy new generators and promised that all efforts were being taken to tackle water scarcity. He maintained that the financial deficit would be set right soon and things were proceeding in the right path.
DMK members staged a walkout in the morning stating that they should reinstate two councillors who had been suspended without any proper reason. They later said that bill collectors and corporation staff had been frequently changed and demanded that the practice should be stopped forthwith to ensure free flow of work.
All DMK councillors had come pre-planned to boycott the proceedings as it was conspicuous hat they were not only wearing black shirts as mark of protest but also had pasted posters across the city that they were boycotting the corporation council meet. However, it was a damp squib as the council meeting was postponed after paying tributes to AIADMK councillor S. Kumar of ward 85, who passed away recently.
The council passed resolutions to provide permission to AXIS Bank to maintain Meenakshi Temple Park, City Union Bank to maintain Tulsi Ram Park, HDFC Bank to maintain West Gate Fort Park, ICICI Bank to maintain Rajaji Park and for A.R.Hospital to maintain the K.K. Nagar Park.
Resolutions were passed allowing Mayor to participate in the General Meeting of the World Mayors Council on Climate Change of the opening of the ICLEI East Asian Secretariat to be held in Seoul, South Korea. Resolutions were also passed to conduct medical camps for conservancy workers and their children.
Resolutions were also passed to invite tenders for replacement of old and damaged pumps at Arappalayam overhead tank at an estimated cost of Rs.55 lakh, renovation of 13 toilets at an estimated cost of Rs.35 lakh, and to construct new toilets at a cost of Rs. 60 lakh.