Corporation decision draws opposition ire

Staff Reporter

Decision to handover 66 cents of land at Pachalam for construction of a memorial opposed

Decision to assign the land was not discussed in any forum of the corporation

Deputy Mayor says no such decision has been taken by the corporation

KOCHI: The indecision over the construction of memorials in the city continues even as public protest is mounting against the reported decision to handover the land to some trusts.

Several public functionaries and political parties have opposed the reported decision of the Kochi Corporation to handover 66 cents of land at Pachalam for constructing a memorial for former Cultural Minister T.K. Ramakrishnan.

It was alleged that a directive was issued by the Kochi Mayor to the Corporation Secretary to register the land in the name of a trust, which resulted in a series of protests against the civic administration.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front had opposed the decision inside the council which culminated in an altercation between the ruling front and opposition councillors.

The Mayor had suspended two Congress councillors following the altercation and allegations regarding the land deal in the council. The Bharatiya Janatha Party organised a dharna before the Kochi Corporation office against the move on Wednesday.

The UDF has decided to intensify the stir against the civic administration on the issue.

A joint meeting of the MLAs and MPs from the district, Congress councillors in the Kochi Corporation, District Congress Committee president and office bearers and mandalam and block presidents will be convened on Friday at Veekshanam auditorium at 11 a.m. to discuss the issue.

The meeting will give shape to agitations against the civic administration, party leaders said.

Meanwhile, it is reliably learnt that the civic administration has given a go-slow order to the officials regarding the controversial land assignment.

As the issue has run into a controversy and invited opposition from various quarters, a decision will be taken in consultation with the CPI(M) leadership, sources said.

The decision to assign the land was not discussed in any forum of the corporation including the Steering Committee, which takes the policy decision regarding the civic administration.

A discussion would have saved the civic administration from the controversy, sources said.

At the same time, C.K. Manisankar, Deputy Mayor, maintained that there was no question of rethinking on the decision to build memorials in the city.

It was a budget proposal which was passed by the Kochi Corporation council and the civic body will implement it, he said. Regarding the decision to assign the land to a trust, Mr. Manisankar said that no such decision was taken.

The allegations that the land of the civic body was to be handed over to some trusts will not stand, he said.