‘Even now focus is on long-term measures’

On a day when water-related issues held centre stage, the City Corporation Council on Tuesday passed a resolution demanding that the State government give funds for drinking water distribution, as part of drought relief, directly to the local bodies rather than to the Revenue Department. The resolution was moved following two calling attention motions moved by K.P. Abdulla Koya of the Indian Union Muslim League and K.V. Baburaj of the CPI (M).

Mr. Baburaj said that emergency measures needed to be taken to counter the unprecedented drought situation. “Water from the Mananchira pond should be brought in tankers to the wards which are experiencing scarcity. Since we have enough ward fund, it can be used for supplying water,” said Mr. Abdulla Koya.

However, Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef said that when the Corporation had used a part of the Plan fund for drought relief in the past, the auditors had objected to it. He said the Revenue Department, which was responsible for drought relief measures, was focussing on long-term measures. “In a meeting called by the District Collector last week, the issue of water supply to drought-hit areas in tanker lorries was taken up only towards the end. Much of the discussion was on rejuvenating water sources, which is a long-term measure,” said Mr. Abdul Latheef.

N.C. Moinkutty of the Socialist Janata (Democratic) said that the Corporation could still make use of its own fund. The auditors objected only to the diversion of Plan fund. Mayor A.K. Premajam said she would write to the Collector highlighting the opinions of the council.

K.T. Beeran Koya of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) raised the issue a private hospital in Arayadathupalam using an adjacent private land as a parking lot and collecting huge sums from visitors. Since rules stipulated that all city buildings should have parking facilities, the practice was illegal. The Corporation Secretary promised to look into the matter.

In response to a query by C.P. Salim of the Congress on the pre-monsoon cleaning measures for disease prevention, the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Health Janamma Kunjunni said that cleaning of drains would begin on May 1.

Mr. Moinkutty also raised the issue of shortfall in spending of the People’s Plan fund for the year 2012-13. “Only 58.35 per cent of the people’s Plan fund has been utilised. If at least 60 per cent of the fund is not utilised, the funds for the next year will be reduced proportionately,” said Mr. Moinkutty. M. Radhakrishnan of the CPI (M) responded that there had been no shortfall in utilisation of fund and that it was above 60 per cent.

The Council unanimously passed resolutions against the State government’s move to privatise water distribution and its order to not give pension for below poverty line widows who have sons. It also demanded the immediate completion of the waste treatment plant at the Government Medical College here.