KOCHI: Putting an end to speculations, the Kochi Corporation on Saturday decided to take over the 60 cents of land leased to Kokers Theatre at Fort Kochi.
The Mayor announced the decision at the council meeting, following pressure from both the ruling and Opposition councillors who sought action against operators of Kokers Theatre.
The issue was put forth by Opposition leader K J Antony, who sought immediate measures to attach the land and the building on it. Deputy Mayor T J Vinodh, Tax Appeal Committee chairman K V P Krishna Kumar and most of the ruling councillors supported Antony.
According to Antony, if prompt action is not taken to acquire the land and the building, the Corporation would lose the property for ever.
“If acquisition of the land and recovery of the `33-lakh pending lease amount is delayed indefinitely, the Corporation would cease to have any right on them.
A settlement should be reached at the earliest to avoid financial loss,” said Antony. The civic body had failed to recover the high-value property, even after the lease period ended long ago. The Mayor told the council the property would be attached soon.
“We have sought legal opinion on the matter, which is expected within one week,” she said.
The council also decided to terminate its agreement with the contractor of ‘Pappy,’ the ferry boat conducting service between Fort Kochi and Vypeen. Earlier, the Opposition had alleged serious lapse in the execution of the agreement.
“An agreement was signed with the contractor who took the boat on lease from Babu Varghese, its real owner. The deal caused a loss of `61 lakh to the Corporation. Had the council signed agreement with the real owner while renewing the contract in October last year, the loss could have been avoided,” claimed Antony, and sought a probe into the deal.
The Mayor in her reply said the agreement was ‘the need of the hour,’ after the boat accident at Fort Kochi. A new ferry service will commence by next month.
The Corporation secretary will initiate steps to cancel the agreement with the middleman, and sign a fresh agreement with Alappuzha-based Babu, the real owner of the boat,” said the Mayor.