Official resolution accuses government of failure to take action against miscreants

The City Corporation Council, which met here on Friday, witnessed heated exchanges between members of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) over an official resolution accusing the government of failure to take action against the miscreants who had attacked sanitation workers and damaged garbage trucks on Tuesday.

UDF councillors staged a walkout alleging that the resolution was politically motivated. The BJP council party backed the resolution.

Moving the resolution, Mayor K. Chandrika said the incident on Tuesday was the latest in a series of attacks on Corporation employees by the action council spearheading a campaign against the garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala. She said the police had failed to take action against the leaders of the council and their henchmen.

The Mayor alleged that the action council was trying to derail the efforts of the Corporation to streamline the garbage disposal system and minimise the inconvenience caused to residents in the suburban panchayat.

A remark by chairman of the works standing committee V.S. Padmakumar that the incident on Tuesday was a government-sponsored crime touched off an uproar from the UDF side. Mr. Padmakumar said the action council was emboldened by the Deputy Speaker's support for their cause and the government's failure to crackdown on the assailants.

The UDF benches said the Corporation had failed to ensure the smooth functioning of the garbage plant despite the availability of adequate funds from the Central government under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Pointing out that the plant had become a breeding ground for diseases, UDF leader K. Maheswaran Nair said it was a curse on the panchayat.

“The Corporation cannot evade responsibility for the failure to run the plant effectively,” he said.

Mr. Nair said the march taken out by the Mayor and LDF leaders to the Secretariat to protest against the attack on employees was shameful and an attempt to shift the responsibility onto the government. UDF leaders said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had acted promptly by convening a meeting on August 1 to find a solution to the vexed problems caused by the operation of the garbage plant in the suburban panchayat.

Aakulam lake

The Treasury and Opposition benches crossed swords again over a resolution seeking government intervention to check encroachments into the Aakulam canal. Moving the resolution, Mr. Padmakumar accused the government of abetting encroachments into the lake.

Mr. Padmakumar said the dredging contractor was selling off hundreds of loads of sand extracted from the lake.

UDF councillors alleged that the land grab had the tacit support of former LDF councillors. They said the LDF leadership in the Corporation could not evade the responsibility for having issued building permit on the encroached land.

Temple security

The meeting adopted another resolution calling upon the government to ensure continuation of the traditions and rituals at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple while stepping up security for the vast treasures unearthed from its subterranean vaults. Palkulangara ward councillor P. Ashok Kumar who moved the resolution said the State government was yet to put a fool proof security system in place, even a month after the Supreme Court had issued directions.

Mr. Kumar said the presence of policemen and commandos was not enough. There had been no move to purchase or install state-of-the-art security equipment. He, however, stressed the need to ensure that devotees were not inconvenienced by the security arrangements.

“The government should revise the move to restrict admission to the Ottakalmandapam inside the temple. The stone elephant located on the banks of the Padmatheertham temple tank should be restored and preserved,” the resolution said.

The council unanimously adopted a third resolution requesting the Central government, the Minister for Civil Aviation, and the Chief Minister for steps to name the international airport after Sri Chitra Tirunal Balarama Varma, maharaja of erstwhile Travancore who had formulated the idea of an airport in Thiruvananthapuram and donated land for the project. The resolution was moved by Palayam Rajan.