KOCHI: Twenty20 Kizhakkambalam, the Kitex-backed non-profit organisation formed to make the grama panchayat the best in the country by 2020 and presently ruling the civic body, was dealt a major blow on Wednesday after panchayat president K V Jacob resigned from the post.
Jacob resigned without waiting for the no-confidence motion planned against him by the panchayat committee and backed by 14 members of Twenty20, which came to power in 2015 after winning 17 out of 19 seats.After stepping down, the Pukkattupady councillor launched a scathing attack against Sabu M Jacob, Twenty20 chief coordinator and managing director of Kitex Garments Ltd, alleging he was trying to bring autocracy in the panchayat committee.
“People had high hopes with Twenty20. However, we did not implement any fruitful project,” alleged K V Jacob.He said he had planned to implement the Singapore development model at Kizhakkambalam with industrialists’ support. “It was our only way forward as the government fund was insufficient to implement the model. However, they backed out after Sabu blocked them from participating,” alleged Jacob. He alleged neither the president nor panchayat members had a say in any project. “The projects were implemented as Sabu wished. Those who favoured him got the benefits,” he alleged.
He alleged that several projects that the panchayat undertook were pending and many roads in the panchayat were in tatters. “Only contractors of Twenty20 took up the projects. Other contractors would be threatened. Contractors of Twenty20 extended the work as per their wish. Though the panchayat committee and Twenty20 members are fed up with Sabu’s autocratic nature, they do not react out of fear,” alleged Jacob.
Denying the allegations, Sabu Jacob told TNIE that the panchayat committee wanted to oust K V Jacob as there were many corruption allegations against him. “Jacob has been with the organisation since 2012 and had been the panchayat president since 2015. He never complained until now. Now, when a no-confidence was to be brought against him, he is accusing me of being an autocrat,” said Sabu.
He said the projects undertaken by the panchayat were on course. “We plan the projects to ensure that no alteration is done in 10-20 years. For instance, while repairing a road, we make sure that the next panchayat committee does not need to repair it,” said Sabu, adding, “All the projects will be completed in our tenure.” Sabu, who is currently in the US, will be back by Saturday. The 19-ward committee will meet on Sunday and elect the next president. The new president will be declared at a public meeting and rally on January 12.
‘Sabu behind food security market’s closure’
K V Jacob alleged Sabu was behind the closure of the food security shop, which was opened at Kizhakkambalam in 2013 to provide grocery and essential items at prices lower than market rates. The market was closed in June last year. “Sabu issued cards to buy items from the shop only to his supporters. Others were not allowed to buy from the market,” alleged Jacob. M T Varghese, a resident, said the market was set up using Kitex’s CSR fund. “So, Sabu can’t prevent people from buying from the market,” he said. Sabu, however, said the market was closed for renovation and will be reopened on January 6. “The project aimed at aiding people. However, it lacked facilities like permanent power connection and air conditioning. Now, it will be reopened with more facilities, including a medical store,” said Sabu. “The market had a daily footfall of 5,000 people. This shows how much people support me. This will be proved in the upcoming local elections,” he said. However, K V Jacob termed the market’s reopening as another one of Sabu’s gimmicks in view of the elections.