Mayor stays Secretary's order

A cold war has erupted in the city Corporation over Mayor K. Chandrika's order overturning directions issued by the Corporation Secretary to close down an unauthorised hotel near the Bakery Junction.

It was on April 19 that a team of Corporation officials closed down and sealed the hotel attached to a house located on the Paris Road in the Palayam ward. The Corporation Secretary had authorised officials of the health section to close down the eatery on the basis of a report from the health officer. The report said that the hotel was functioning without a mandatory licence under the Municipalities Act.

But within hours after the closure, the shop was back in business after the Mayor issued an order asking the officials concerned to permit the owner to resume operation. Corporation officials said the arbitrary decision of the Mayor could lead to a controversy.

“The Mayor is empowered to stay the order of the Secretary, but the appeal filed by the owner of the hotel has to be referred to the Corporation council for a final decision. Arbitrary decisions of this nature will only demoralise the work force,” BJP council party leader P. Ashok Kumar said. Officials said the woman running the eatery had failed to file an appeal on a notice issued in August last year. Based on a report filed by the heath inspector on March 1, 2011, the health officer recommended that the hotel be closed down for unauthorised operation.

In an appeal to the Mayor and council on April 19, the owner of the hotel said the shop, her sole means of livelihood, was closed and sealed without prior notice. She said she could not apply for a house number or a hotel licence as the land tribunal was considering a case filed by her on the title deed to her land. She submitted an undertaking to the Corporation that she would apply for a house number as soon as the tribunal cleared her plea. Officials alleged that the Mayor was acting under political pressure to reverse the Secretary's decision.

Refuting the charge, Ms. Chandrika said her decision was based solely on humanitarian consideration. But the officials said the owner of the hotel could have avoided the situation by filing an appeal in response to the notice issued last year. They said the Mayor had over-stepped her mandate and brought the issue on the verge of a confrontation.

  • Officials say Mayor acting under political pressure
  • Decision solely on humanitarian grounds: Mayor