Deal with Jio Infocom leadsto chaos in Council meeting

A meeting of the Kozhikode Corporation Council on Wednesday ended up in chaos over the revised demand made by Jio Infocom Ltd for setting up its poles in the city.

Congress councillor P.M. Niyas alleged that there was large-scale corruption in the deal and the councillors in the ruling front were party to it. This kicked up a row, with the ruling front councillors demanding Mr. Niyas to take back his words, thus exonerating all of them. However, Mr. Niyas stood by his word, resulting in the chaos.

It was the 100th item on the council agenda that requested the council’s permission to grant the permission to Jio infocom for a much lower rent quoted by the Corporation in a previous council meeting. In the meeting of November 27, 2019, the Corporation had demanded ₹500 rent per pole for 6,166 poles with the rent for two years to be paid in advance. The Corporation had served a demand notice of ₹3.99 crore under the assumption that all poles will be made on concrete surface that cost ₹5,473.44 per pole.

However, the company made a request to lower the rent on grounds that all poles will not be on concrete surface. It agreed to pay rent for five years in advance. Under the revised estimate, there will be only 186 poles on concrete surface, while the others will be on other surfaces, bringing the rent much lower to ₹3.01 crore.

Mr. Niyas alleged that the demand made by the company, if approved, would incur huge loss to the Corporation and questioned the haste shown by the Finance Standing Committee in approving the demand. This led to altercations during which he alleged corruption in the deal and that every one except the Mayor from the ruling front had a role in it.

The council took a break to discuss the situation when the ruling front councillors wanted Mr. Niyas to withdraw the comment and he would not relent. However, when the meeting resumed, K.V. Baburaj, CPI(M)’s floor leader, requested his fellow-councillors to let the comment pass, thus putting an end to the impasse.

The council, however, approved the company’s demand with the ruling front councillors voting in its favour, despite the Opposition’s demand to rethink the deal.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 10:44:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/deal-with-jio-infocom-leadsto-chaos-in-council-meeting/article30863177.ece

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