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PHC upgrading plan stuck in legal loopholes

Published: 18th November 2013 01:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2013 01:20 PM   |  A+A-

The first ever full-fledged project enunciated by the Thrikkakara Municipality to upgrade the Thrikkakara Primary Health Centre (PHC) to a Community Health Centre (CHC) stands toppled as its stone-laying ceremony was organised without the prior knowledge of the six standing committee chairpersons and 43 councillors.

Legally, the project could be taken ahead only if it has the approval of the council.

Reiterating the fact, the chairpersons of the Finance Standing Committee and PWD Standing Committee of the municipality where the discussions on such a project have to be held said that they were not informed of this matter.

Shameena Shukkur, deputy chairperson, Thrikkakara Municipality and Finance Standing Committee chairperson, said that the hasty inauguration was organised without the basic courtesy of informing the council.

“Since 2011, we have set aside a certain amount for the health sector. I have submitted a project worth `50 lakh to upgrade the Thrikkakara PHC to a CHC. Despite submitting the proposal, there was not a single substantial decision taken on the matter in the council, allowing them to go ahead with the foundation stone laying ceremony. Even the steering committee has not been called seeking the permission to proceed with the project. I came to know about the inauguration only when I got a notice the other day,” she said.

Ajitha Thankappan, standing committee chairperson, said that they smelled foulplay when the municipality decided to concede the project to a contractor for a bid above the allotted sum of `50 lakh.

“Only in the council could they fix the date of a developmental project in this manner. But most of us remained unaware of the inauguration until two days before, when we got a notice,” she said. The officials said that they have already registered a complaint with the Municipality secretary in this regard.

A former highly-placed official of the municipality told ‘City Express’ that a special order has to be attained from the government to float a tender above the allotted amount for any project. The municipality has approached the official for his consent, which the official denied as it was not legal.

Councillor Shaji Vazhakkala alleged that though the municipality, under chairperson P I Muhammad Ali, had made a move earlier to float tender above the allotted `50 lakh, but the council has asked the municipality to negotiate with the contractor who is in-charge of the project. “There was a move to bid ten per cent above the allotted `50 lakh and it is definitely to help the contractor. The protest was to thwart all the clandestine deals,” he said.

Shaji Vazhakkala further added that the invitation notice should be printed under the name of municipal secretary.

“But here it was under somebody else’s name,” he said.

Municipal chairperson P I Muhammed Ali was not available for comment on the issue. Shaju Davis, municipal secretary, said that he will inquire into the matter.



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