The Madurai Corporation Council meeting began with a majority of the Councillors protesting the delayed issuance of table agenda, on Wednesday.
The meeting witnessed councillors entering the hall even long after its commencement. “This is the first time that we witness such a disarray in the council meeting. We usually receive the table agenda four days in advance,” said AIADMK Councillor K. Shanmugavalli. CPI (M) Councillors were in agreement with her.
A few Councillors claimed that they received the table agenda just an hour before the meeting and protested the commencement of the meeting before the agenda reached all councillors.
Reacting quickly, Mayor Indrani Pon Vasanth proposed that the question hour be held prior to passing of resolution. The agenda sheet, distributed in fragments, did not reach many till last.
The Mayor and Corporation Commissioner Simranjeet Singh Kahlon said issuance of agenda sheet would be streamlined in the future.
AIADMK Councillor (ward 64) M. Raja alleged that there were shortcomings in property tax collection. Surveyors did not inform property owners of assessment and bill collectors were indulging in malpractice, he said and demanded a thorough investigation in this respect.
CPI(M) Councillor (ward 23) T. Kumaravel claimed that a roadside shop owner was asked to pay ₹90,000 as monthly tax. Assistant Commissioner (Revenue) A.W. Syed Musthafa Kamal assured to look into the issue.
As the Mayor read out the table agenda, several Councillors protested. Congress Councillor (ward 73) S.S. Bose said it was layered with misinformation as ward numbers were given instead of survey ward numbers. Many Councillors demanded allocation of offices for them.
MLA (Madurai South) M. Boominathan, who was present at the meeting, alleged that contractors laid only one drinking water pipeline per day in his constituency. He urged officials to expedite UDG works in Chinthamani near the accident-prone Ring Road. City Engineer A. Lakshmanan assured that the demand would be fulfilled.
When DMK Councillor (ward 2) M. Amutha said Assistant Engineers’ phones always remained switched off, there was a loud thumping of benches. “They show us no respect. It is we who face the people on a daily basis,” she said. Assistant Commissioner M. Amrithalingam, however, denied the allegation.
Mr. Raja noted that the resolution passed by the Corporation in 2008 to erect memorial pillars at Arapalayam for the victims of ‘1916 Perungamanallur massacre’ was yet to be realised.
While many of the Councillors claimed that there was no clarity on the number of resolutions passed in the meeting that ended abruptly, Deputy Mayor T. Nagarajan of the CPI(M) clarified that 24 resolutions were passed.
Meanwhile, BJP Councillor (ward 86) S. Booma led a protest on the Corporation office premises demanding a Councillor’s office in her ward. She wore a shirt with patches to symbolically highlight the patchworks undertaken in her ward.