Alleged corruption in Njeliyanparamba development project
A meeting of the city Corporation council here ended in pandemonium on Thursday as Mayor A.K. Premajam refused permission to discuss a resolution on the allegation of financial irregularities in the execution of a development project at the Njeliyanparamba garbage dumping site.
Heated exchanges followed between the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) during the meeting that lasted less than a hour and a half.
Members of the Congress-Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)-Socialist Janata (Democratic) [SJ(D)] combine then staged a sit-in at the council hall till 6 p.m. and continued their protest in front of the Corporation building till 7.30 p.m.
The trouble started when the council assembled for session at 3 p.m. Leader of the Opposition M.T. Padma moved an emergency resolution demanding that the council discuss the allegations before going ahead with the day's agenda. However, the Mayor, who chaired the session, said the resolution did not deserve any merit for discussion. It pertained to financial decisions taken by the previous council, Prof. Premajam said.
Subsequently, the Mayor held a closed-door meeting with Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef, Communist Party of India Marxist [CPI(M)] member M. Mohanan and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) member Anitha Rajan. However, the ruckus prolonged till the ruling members adopted the agenda for the day.
IUML member K. Muhammed Ali demanded that the Mayor place the audit report for 2008-2009 before the council. Prof. Premajam said the council had not received any such audit report and immediately called off the meeting even as the members of the Opposition continued with slogan shouting. Most of the opposition councillors had with them placards seeking the resignation of the Deputy Mayor.
Soon afterwards, the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor told presspersons that the members of the Opposition indulged in maligning the previous council. The audit report could be taken up at the council only after being cleared by the various standing committees.
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor also said the council had earlier decided to discuss the issues relating to the audit report. But the members of the Opposition wanted the discussion to be postponed. The Deputy Mayor, who is the chairman of the finance committee, could not arbitrarily take a stand on financial matters, they said.
However, the Opposition said the audit report of the Local Self Government Department during the period between 2005 and 2009 had pointed out financial irregularities in the Njeliyanparamba waste disposal scheme. The Corporation had incurred a loss of Rs.1.20 crore between 2006 and 2008, they said.
Meanwhile, UDF leaders, including M.K. Raghavan, MP; District Congress Committee president K.C. Abu, and IUML district general secretary M.A. Razak said they would take the issue to the streets.