Decision after heated debate between LDF and UDF in Kozhikode Corporation Council

The city Corporation council has decided to submit three multi-crore projects at the proposed Partner Kerala Urban Development meet to be organised by the Department of Urban Affairs in Kochi on February 24 and 25.

The decision was taken after a heated debate between the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) councillors for more than three hours during an emergency meeting held here on Saturday. The agenda had 38 votes in favour of it and 31 turning it down.

Mayor A.K. Premajam, who chaired the session, had a difficult time controlling the councillors especially those belonging to opposition Congress-Indian Union Muslim League-Socialist Janata (Democratic) combine who wanted to reject the agenda outright. On several occasions, she was seen asking the councillors to maintain decorum.

The three projects to be envisaged under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model were a parking plaza (at a cost of Rs.31 crore) at Stadium Corner, bus terminal-cum-shopping at Meenchanda (Rs.21 crore), and a shopping complex-cum-flat at Nadakkavu (Rs.20 crore).

Ms. Premajam said the projects were earlier conceived for the comprehensive development of the city but could not be implemented due to the paucity of funds.

The State government had sent a proposal in this regard to the Mayor. Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef said the council acted on the basis of the guidelines of the State government on private sector participation in local self government bodies.

But Opposition leader M.T. Padma said the meeting had been hastily summoned.

The meeting should have been called at least four days ago so that these projects could be discussed in detail.

No change in policy

Council floor leader P. Mohanan said his party, Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M], had not changed its policy on PPP.

But the State government and Centre had worked out such a model to secure funds for local bodies, he said.

Unleashing a tirade against the ruling coalition, K. Mohammedali, IUML councillor, said the CPI (M) had been creating an opinion that the opposition members were against development initiatives. The councillors required more time to study the projects and the council should put them in abeyance for the time being, he said.

Taking part in the deliberations, Congress member Zakaria P. Hussain said people faced the brunt of several unscientific schemes implemented in the city.

Even the drains could not be properly de-silted because the slabs remained tilted. Some of the schemes had been executed simply to exhaust the funds.

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