The Corporation council meeting passed an urgent resolution on Saturday demanding that the State government withdraw the cases levelled against the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, standing committee chairpersons, and LDF councillors for marching to the Chief Minister’s house on January 12, protesting against the immediate shutdown of the Vilappilsala garbage treatment plant.
The Museum Police had registered cases against them under Sections 143, 147, 149, 283 of the Indian Penal Code and IPC (Kerala Police) Section 39 on charges of unlawful assembly, rioting, and obstructing public way. The resolution stated that the peaceful march was meant to draw the Chief Minister’s attention to the dire situation caused by the lack of means for waste disposal. It said that at a time when the city was struggling to cope with the crisis, slapping of such baseless charges against the Council members was condemnable.
Works Standing Committee Chairperson V.S. Padmakumar, who read out the resolution, added that no cases had been filed against the UDF councillors for blocking the Mayor’s entry into the Council Hall for the meeting scheduled on the same day. Councillors belonging to the BJP supported this resolution, stating that this was no personal feud, but an issue that impacts the whole city.
Further delving into the events on that day, the UDF councillors mocked the ruling members for having to change their course then. On January 12, when the marchers reached Nanthancode, they were told that Mr. Chandy was at his Jagathy residence, prompting them to march to Jagathy where the police personnel had already cordoned off their route. The discussion spiralled out of control, with welfare standing committee chairperson Palayam Rajan saying that the Chief Minister was being cowardly and hiding at the other residence like a ‘Peruchazhi.’ UDF councillors responded by abandoning their seats, smashing a couple of tea cups, and knocking down a table fan.
Chaos reigned as the Mayor said that no “unparliamentary language” would be used. Mr. Rajan immediately withdrew his comments. Even so, there was no going back to a more civil state as UDF councillors continued to demand vociferously that Mr. Rajan apologise.
The Museum Police registered a case against UDF councillors namely R. Harikumar, Leelamma Isaac, Suresh Kumar; and George Louis, on the charge of destroying public property. The complaint was filed by Mayor K. Chandrika, said police officials.
Mr. Padmakumar then brought up the subject of setting up solar cells. UDF councillor Johnson Joseph demanded that documents regarding the project be presented first. “We hear of so many committees, but are they convened regularly? We have been demanding minutes of the meetings we have had, but there is no move to give us these documents,” he complained.
Plan fund details for the People’s Plan scheme for the years 2012-13 and 2013-14 were also presented. Some councillors noted that the rejuvenation of ponds numbering over a 1,000 had not been included. Mr. Padmakumar said a project would be implemented under the Kerala State Urban Development Project with Central aid in this regard.