Garbage crisis, fever situation not discussed; meeting adjourned in 15 minutes

The garbage crisis and fever situation in the city once again eluded the city Corporation Council meeting on Thursday after Mayor K. Chandrika abruptly cut short the meeting following vociferous protests by opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) councillors.

The UDF councillors raised slogans and flashed placards and banners demanding the Mayor’s resignation right at the outset of the meeting. They were protesting against the assault on their colleagues by a section of Corporation employees during a recent picketing of the Corporation office.

Though the Mayor initially ignored the protest and went ahead with the business of the Council, she terminated the meeting after 15 minutes.

Amidst the din, Left Democratic Front (LDF) councillor from Punchakari A.J. Sukarno made a reference to the incident alleging that the councillors were assaulted by the police and not by the employees. He expressed resentment over the ‘police action’ against UDF councillor Sadanandan Thai who was injured in the incident.

Mr. Sukarno’s comment got sank in the uproar which continued till Ms. Chandrika ended the meeting.

Confusion

Earlier, shortly before the Council meeting commenced, some Opposition and ruling councillors were engaged in a heated exchange of words at the entrance of the Council hall over the denial of entry to mediapersons.

Security personnel deployed at the two entrances of the Council hall had initially restricted entry to mediapersons, citing that there were orders to stop news photographers and the visual media from entering the hall. When some mediapersons protested against the move, UDF councillors joined them and demanded an explanation from the Mayor.

Soon, Mr. Sukarno intervened and stated that mediapersons could hold a discussion with the Mayor on the issue.

Entry for media persons

UDF councillors dismissed the offer saying that there was nothing to discuss and the press must be permitted inside the hall. This led to an argument between the LDF and UDF councillors which continued till the commencement of the Council meeting. Deputy Mayor G. Happykumar apologised to the mediapersons for the confusion.

The issue was also taken up by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor M.R. Gopan and independent councillor B. Vijayakumar at the Council.

‘No directive’

In her reply, Mayor Chandrika said she had issued no directive to prevent the press from entering the Council hall.

“The directive was to restrict mediapersons from entering the hall before the start of the meeting. This was to ensure the smooth functioning of the Council, since many impromptu protests have been taking place on the Corporation premises of late,” she said.