The city Corporation council has asked the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre to rescind its decision to give approval to 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent FDI in single brand retail.
A resolution to this effect was adopted at a meeting of the council on Friday. Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) member Janamma Kunjunni, through a calling attention motion, moved the resolution amid opposition from the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)- Congress- Socialist Janata Democratic (SJ-D) combine.
The resolution was put to voice vote with 38 ayes and 32 nays. Mayor A.K. Premajam chaired the session.
Taking part in the deliberations, CPI(M) councillors M. Radhakrishnan and V.K. Mohandas, said the proposal allowing multinational giants and big corporate to get a foothold in the retail market in the country would obviously lead to the annihilation of the existing retail sector.
‘Bid to hoodwink'
SJ(D) member P. Kishenchand said the CPI(M) was trying to hoodwink the public by opposing the FDI in multi-brand retail. Previously the CPI(M)-ruled civic bodies had given approval to retail giants such as Reliance Industries to launch its chain of super markets across the State.
The former Mayor of Kochi Corporation, C.M. Dinesh Mani, had opened the first Reliance Fresh outlet, he said.
SJ(D) councillor N.C. Moinkutty said the CPI(M) had no right to speak on behalf of the farmers and small traders as its government in West Bengal had taken anti-people measures at Singur and Nandigram.
Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef wondered why the Opposition, including SJ(D), had not brought the resolution against the FDI if they were so keen to protect the interest of the local trading community.
The council witnessed a walkout by the Opposition when the Mayor declined to entertain an emergency motion moved by Mr. Moyinkutty to discuss the financial irregularities in the renovation of the Town Hall.
While dismissing the motion straightway, Prof. Premajam said the issue deserved no merit to be discussed as an emergency resolution in the council.
IUML councillor K. Muhammed Ali, said the Mayor allowed a discussion on a nation-wide issue but refused to consider a matter pertaining to the civic body.
The council saw heated debates between the CPI(M) and Congress members over a scheduled agenda to strengthen the drinking water supply scheme at Thadanilam slum. The Mayor had to abruptly stop the proceedings when the exchanges grew worse and called a meeting of leaders of political parties.
It was decided that the issue will be discussed later. The drinking water project is being executed under the Community Infrastructure Fund of the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project. The proposal is to replace the old pipes and install five public taps.
Standing Committee Chairman on Public Works M. Mohanan said the proposal for installing public taps could not be considered now as there was already a project to provide domestic connection for Below Poverty Line households. But Congress councillor members C.P. Salim and P. Ushadevi demanded that the proposal to install public taps should not be kept aside.