LDF-sponsored resolution says Kozhikode gets short shrift in State budget

A Corporation Council meeting on Tuesday saw the ruling LDF criticise the State government for neglecting the district’s development in its State Budget for 2014-15 even as the UDF Opposition hit back saying the local body should solve its own immediate civic problems rather than discuss matters “outside its purview”.

The war of words began with Welfare Standing Committee Chairperson and CPI (M) Councillor M. Radhakrishnan presenting a resolution against the lack of attention shown to Kozhikode in the Budget despite the presence of 12 MLAs in the district.

He said despite this “strong” legislative presence, there were hardly any welfare measures worth the mention for the district in the 2014-15 Budget.

Resolution opposed

But the resolution was opposed by the Opposition that listed several “achievements” as feathers in the cap of the UDF government like the allotment of the Rs.150-crore special package for developing the infrastructure of the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital and the multi-crore revamping of the Vellayil fishing harbour.

Defunct streetlights

“It seems the Mayor and the LDF councillors are more bothered about the State Budget. In the city, it has been months since the streetlights have stopped working. The public expects the Corporation to do its job and not discuss about the State Budget,” Congress councillor K. Sathyanathan said.

Fund for clean drains

IUML councillor and Deputy Opposition leader K. Mohammedali broke in with a direct affront against the resolution, saying “we talk about everything in this world except the projects that we should implement within our jurisdiction. What is the point of talking world affairs when there is none to hear us?” “I had asked the health committee to allot Rs.1.1 lakh to clean the drains, but I only got a pittance. First tell the Council what to do with the project fund allotments rather than discuss the Budget,” he said.

Not outlandish

In a counter to the criticism levelled against Mr. Radhakrishnan’s resolution, Deputy Mayor Professor P.T. Abdul Latheef said the discussion on the State Budget was not “outlandish” in the least.

“I remember when Opposition Leader M.T. Padma had sought a discussion on the Union Railway Budget, saying the Centre had neglected Kerala. What was the relevance of a discussion about the rail budget in a Corporation Council? How do the rules change now when we bring a resolution saying Kozhikode did not receive attention in the State Budget?” he asked.

Malabar package

Mr. Latheef said very little had been delivered under the promised Malabar package for Kozhikode in the past three years.

“This resolution was meant to bring to light what we have been missing in the past three years under this package…” he said.

The discussion came to an end with the ruling faction passing the resolution with a majority of 38 to 29.

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