K.V. Prasad

COIMBATORE: Citizens’ groups in the city have expressed concern over the charges of kickbacks in the Coimbatore Corporation’s sewage treatment plants projects. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has alleged Rs. 18 crore kickbacks in the awarding of contracts to firms to set up the plants.

Office-bearers of anti-corruption movement, a people’s watchdog committee and a consumer welfare organisation are of the firm view that the Corporation must clear the charges before implementing the project.

“The Mayor and the others in the Corporation should be like Caesar’s wife: above suspicion,” says secretary of the Coimbatore District Unit of Anti-Corruption Movement N.K. Velu. The Corporation must take necessary steps to convince the general public that everything is fine; that the benefits of the taxes they pay will reach them in the form of schemes.

Reactions from these organisations are based on the fear that some parties may use the majority in the Council to approve the awarding of contracts before dealing with the controversy.

An urgent meeting of the Corporation on this will be held on Thursday.

Coimbatore Consumer Cause secretary K. Kathirmathiyon says it is incumbent on the Corporation, especially the elected Council, to clear the charges before proceeding with the project. “The choice before them is to bring the truth to light or clear the charges in a way that is convincing for the people.”

Mr. Velu says that before clearing the project, everything must be made transparent. There should be no suspicion that the implementation is on with irregularities.

Apart from expressing concern over these charges, the People’s Watchdog Committee on City Development Plan wonders how the funds for other projects will be used.

Co-ordinator of the committee Pon. Chandran says that the detailed project report for the treatment plants is faulty.