The Town Planning section of the Ooty municipality  was conspicuous by its absence at the first meeting of the newly-elected municipal council here on Friday.

Since there was no one to represent it, many queries relating to buildings and town planning raised by members went unanswered.

Enquiries made by The Hindu revealed that a recent face-off between the Vice-Chairman of the council, V. Gopalakrishnan, and an official of the section was the main reason.

Officials of the section alleged that Mr. Gopalakrishnan had during the course of enquiring into a matter reported in a section of the press used questionable language. As a mark of protest they had stayed away from the meeting.

However, the Vice-Chairman denied the charge and asserted his right to clarify from officials reports which denigrate the municipality.

Whatever the issue may be it does not justify a boycott of the council meeting.

He added that he has taken up the matter with the Commissioner of Municipal Administration.

Municipal Commissioner P. Kumar hoped that the spat would not be allowed to continue and both the officials and elected representatives work hand in hand.