Councillors wanted a discussion considering the severe scarcity of drinking water in many wards.

The issue of drinking water supply to the drought-hit wards of the city once again rocked the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation Council on Wednesday as the opposition wanted immediate steps to solve the crisis despite the election code of conduct.

The issue began with a calling attention motion by P.V. Avaran of IUML, in which he pointed out that the practice of distributing water in tanker lorries like in previous years could be started. Following Mr. Avaran’s presentation, the Mayor A.K. Premajam gave permission to K.Ravindran of the CPI(M) for a calling attention motion on the issue, which irked the opposition that felt that it was an attempt to stall a discussion on the issue.

K. Muhammedali of the IUML demanded that the issue be discussed in the council to form a favourable decision considering the severe scarcity of drinking water in many wards of the Corporation.

Permission

However, the Mayor read out the government order that permits the local bodies to take up relief measures in drought hit areas if the bodies designated for the purpose did not do so.

The opposition was not satisfied with the explanation and alleged that the Mayor was trying to evade the issue. They shouted slogans and raised placards that stated that the election code of conduct was irrelevant for a city that was thirsty.

Amidst the protest by the opposition, the ruling front members passed a 26 point agenda without discussion and the council was dispersed.

Talking to reporters later, Mr.Muhammedali said that the Kozhikode Corporation usually was ready by January to supply drinking water to the needy, a practice which was not carried out this year. They accused the Mayor of taking autocratic decisions and not allowing discussion on relevant topics.

Legal responsibility

The Mayor, in a press conference later, explained that though the Corporation had a moral responsibility to ensure the availability of drinking water in the city, the legal responsibility was wrested with the Revenue department.

List submitted

The Corporation had already submitted a list of drought hit areas to the Deputy Collector in charge of disaster management.

“The order states that the local bodies could take up the task only if the Revenue department states clearly that it could not supply water to specific regions. Only then the tender can be floated,” the Mayor said.

She also alleged that the ruckus created by the opposition in the council was pre-planned, well rehearsed and for the sake of the elections.

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