Protest over lack of street lights, shortage of technical staff

On a day of frequent disruptions and shouting matches, the opposition councillors of the UDF walked out of the council meeting in protest after the Mayor A.K. Premajam denied them permission for an adjournment motion on the lack of proper street lights in the city. Later in the day, the proceedings were disrupted for close to an hour following disagreements over a calling attention motion on the shortage of technical staff in the Corporation.

The council started off with opposition councillor C.P. Salim seeking to move an adjournment motion on the street light issue. The Mayor said that it is the responsibility of the KSEB and that the subject is not suited for an adjournment motion. Following this, the opposition members left the council in protest.

Noisy scenes were repeated with the opposition’s return to the council when K.V. Baburaj of the CPI (M) moved a calling attention motion on the shortage of technical staff in the Corporation which is affecting the execution of developmental projects.

K. Mohammed Ali of the IUML accused him of misleading the council by raising false issues. He requested permission for presenting the detailed numbers of staff in each department. However, the Mayor did not allow him to do this saying that detailed discussion on calling attention motions are not permitted as per the rules.

This led to a shouting match between the two sides. The Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef tried to clarify the ruling party’s stand on the issue as Mr. Mohammed Ali continued to shout him down. Following this, he was suspended until the end of the day’s proceedings.

The council was stopped at this point and a meeting behind closed doors was convened between the party leaders. Mr. Mohammed Ali offered his explanation when the council was reconvened and his suspension was revoked.

In the discussion on the issue of staff shortage, M. Mohanan of the CPI (M) said that the corporation is short of 30 per cent of the required number of technical staff.

“With the reinstatement of the Calicut Development Authority (CDA), all the technical staff who became part of the corporation when the CDA was merged a few years back have gone back. This has affected the developmental activities of the corporation,” said Mr. Mohanan.

However, Mr. Mohammed Ali countered this saying that all local bodies were given powers by a G.O. dated January 28, 2013, to appoint technical staff on a temporary basis. Mayor A.K. Premajam said that a memorandum will be submitted to the State Minister for Urban Affairs to take immediate action on the issue.

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