Blame it on the Left or Right, but governance in Kochi Corporation is as good as dead. Hit with corruption scandals and mired in political controversies, it has achieved little but deep financial crisis.
The Corporation has been struggling to keep its head straight for some months now. Despite the crisis, almost all of the council meetings during the last phase of this year went into frequent disruptions and forced adjournments, costing dear to the taxpayer.
The adjournments of council meeting has stalled the legislative purpose of the Council. With no productive output coming out from the meetings, the resultant loss of taxpayer is an approximate `50,000 just for the past three months.More than `3,000 will be lost from the public exchequer even if one hour of a normal three-hour running council meet is disrupted, as it costs around `10,000 for each single council meet, including the sitting fees and other amenities provided for them. Since last August, five out of the seven council meetings ended in disruption and mayhem. Even a special council meeting held to discuss the fiscal crisis of the Corporation was met with severe criticism from the factions within the Congress and the Opposition reasoning that it failed to draw any concrete plans for increasing revenue or addressing its financial trouble.
The Opposition and even factions within the Congress has used disruptions, adjournments and walk-outs as a weapon to corner the ruling council and Mayor Tony Chammany.
Blame Game On
“The Opposition is running away from their responsibilities. They have nothing concrete to discuss in the meetings other than raising slogans. This is a style of CPI,” said Mayor Tony Chammany.
“It’s true that there is financial loss when the Council loss a day’s business. With frequent disruptions, agendas will have to be passed without discussion,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Opposition said they are worried about the lesser productivity of Council meetings. “The Mayor is cleverly forcing us to disrupt the house. He is undemocratic when it comes to meeting Opposition’s demand. When we protest, he call it quits and later passes agenda because his party has majority in the Council. This is his way of escape,” said Opposition councillor Shafeek.
With frequent disruptions, the Opposition councillors have written to the Corporation Secretary not to pass the agendas of the disrupted council meetings without discussions. The letter was a initiative of CPM councillor Mumtaz.
According to the Municipality Act, when a council meeting is disrupted, the Mayor can take a call whether to pass the agendas unless councillors object to it within 48 hours. “I have written a dissenting note in my letter pad to the Corporation Secretary against passing agendas without discussion. Opposition councillors Shafeek, Shakeer, Vatsala Kumari and Joji Kuriakose have also undersigned in the letter,” said Mumtaz.