Councillors of the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) took exception to the frequent encroachment upon footpaths in the city and proliferation of illegal bus-stands and resolved to put an end to it.

The issue came up for discussion here on Monday when council members took up the issue of renewing a contract for an establishment on the Kalidasa Road and the agenda had referred to it as being on the footpath. This led to a discussion on encroachments upon footpaths. Council members, cutting across party lines, drew attention to the number of illegal bus-stands that had cropped up in different parts of the city.

The Executive Engineer was summoned before the council and asked to give an explanation, following which he said that the Transport Department had sought permission from the MCC for new bus-stands to be constructed under public-private partnership model. The contract was signed in 2011 for four years.

However, a section of the councillors, including former Mayor Ayub Khan of the Congress, pointed out that MCC officials did not have powers to renew or extend contracts for a period of more than 11 months. He said the contract for bus-stands was therefore illegal.

Mr. Khan alleged that the contractors in charge of the project would take permission for one bus-stand, but construct five others in the vicinity purely for installation of commercial hoardings.

Fifteen illegal bus-stands had been identified and demolished by the MCC. Consequent to heated debate, the original issue listed in the agenda — the renewal of contract for an establishment — was withheld and returned to the Standing Committee to review whether it was an encroachment. The council resolved to take suitable action regarding the illegal bus-stands.

Argument

During the discussion, when councillors sought an explanation from Mayor N.M. Rajeshwari and MCC Commissioner P.G. Ramesh, Congress member Manjula Manasa remarked that both of them had no information on the subject.

JD(S) and BJP councillors were up on their feet taking serious objection to the remarks. They said it amounted to disrespecting the Mayor and Commissioner, and wanted her to retract the statement. Ms. Manasa “clarified”: she had only meant that they had come unprepared.

She appealed to JD(S) and BJP councillors not to become “emotional”, and expressed regret for her comment. Former Mayor Satish Swamy sought removal of her remark from the records, after which order was restored.

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