Corpn. shelves GO on public conveniences

CHENNAI, JULY 20. The Chennai Corporation Council today shelved the adoption of a Government Order on handing over public conveniences to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), an issue which has led to a lot of controversy.

The subject will be examined in detail and placed before the Council at its next session, the Mayor, Mr. M. K. Stalin, said putting an end to a prolonged debate.

Opposition councillors said that they were not against privatisation move but the organisation, chosen for awarding 50 PCs, had a dubious record and the tax payers would lose heavily under the terms drawn up.

Today's proceedings in the Council centred on construction of buildings for Corporation schools and performance of the private garbage clearance company in the city.

The ruling party leader, Mr. C. V. Malayan, chose to defend the resolution on inducting NGOs to run the public conveniences. The Mayor, however, ruled that the issue needed to be examined in greater detail.

The other issue regarding construction of Corporation school buildings led to accusation from the Opposition that the expenditure had been grossly inflated.

The Opposition Leader, Mr. P. Vetrivel, alleged that additional funds were spent to satisfy ``vested interests'' in construction of the buildings. The total expenditure incurred by the civic body was about 20 per cent over and above the estimated amount in many cases.

There were noisy scenes when he demanded the resignation of the Works Committee Chairman, Mr. A. K. Jagadeesan, who retorted that there was variance in the cost of construction due to different soil characteristics or due to use of different material. In some buildings, mosaic and tiles were used for flooring which led to a hike in the cost.

There were allegations from the TMC that the private garbage clearance firm collected a large amount of debris which inflated the weight of garbage manifold and led to higher payments.

A few members demanded construction of fire-proof shelters for victims of the recent fire accident in Besant Nagar while one appealed to the Mayor to consider providing alternative accommodation to people who were evicted from the road and river margins.