Demand for inquiry into allocation of advertising rights

The LDF stepped up its demand for a vigilance inquiry into the charges of corruption in the allocation of rights for the display of advertisement boards on lamp posts.

Intensifying the pressure on the Kochi Corporation authorities, the opposition councillors staged a dharna before the dais of Mayor Tony Chammany in the council hall during a council meeting on Thursday. The slogan-shouting councillors later boycotted the meeting and staged a dharna at the gate of the corporation office.

Bringing the issue to the attention of the council, C.A. Shakkeer of the CPI demanded a statement from the Mayor on the issue. He had also alleged that the corporation had suffered revenue loss following the allocation of the rights. Referring to a police complaint filed by corporation authorities against AIYF activists who gheraoed an official of the corporation on Wednesday, Mr. Shakkeer said it was unbecoming of the Mayor to complain to the police.

Joining the debate, LDF councillors including N. Anilkumar said that the Mayor was adopting delay tactics in the council by not making a statement on the controversial issue.

In his reply, Mr. Chammany said he was waiting for the findings of the Finance and Town Planning standing committees, which were looking into the allegations. Deputy Mayor B. Bhadra informed the chair that the Finance Committee has asked the private agency that was awarded the job to be present before it next week. The Town Planning Committee will also complete its work. A decision shall be taken on the issue after obtaining the views of both the committees, he said.

Unsatisfied with the Mayor’s reply, Opposition councillors demanded immediate action, shouted slogans and sat before the dais. As the protest became vociferous, the Mayor ended the discussion and asked the corporation council staff to read out the agenda. Infuriated by the decision of the civic head, one councillor snatched the mike away from the council staff and disrupted the proceedings. A few others were also seen threatening the staff who had started reading the agenda. These scenes prompted some of the Congress councillors who moved out of their seats to protect the staff. Mr. Chammany abruptly ended the council proceedings as the situation grew tense.

Following the LDF councillors who left the hall shouting slogans, the UDF councillors too raised their voice and moved out of the council. K.J. Jacob, the CPI (M) leader in the council, addressed the LDF members at the gate of the council.

  • Protesting councillors seek Mayor’s statement on allegations of corruption

  • Finance and Town Planning standing committees looking into allocations, says Mayor