KOCHI: The Kochi Corporation Contractors’ Association (KCCA) has decided to call off their strike on Monday, much to the relief of Kochi residents.The Association called off the strike after successful talks with the Mayor. “The Mayor agreed to sanction `12 crore to clear the first three months arrear for the year 2017. Mayor informed that the arrears would be cleared based on the revenue in the coming month. Since the monsoon is near we didn’t want to put the Kochiites in trouble so we loosened our stand,” said M R Binu, president, KCCA.
The KCCA was on strike from April 13 in protest against the non-payment of bills worth around `85 crore. Arrears worth `45 crore have been pending since 2017 and `40 crore is pending for works done last year.
Meanwhile, both the ruling and opposition councillors joined ranks supporting the contractors. “The role of the contract workers is necessary for the development of the city.
They are serving the Corporation. It is unfair to hold their fund for over 25 months. So the Corporation should take steps to release the fund at the earliest,” said V P Chandran, Opposition councillor at the council session. Shyamala Prabhu, BJP councillor from West Kochi raised concern over the silt deposits along the drains. “If we fail to carry out the pre-monsoon cleaning on time, the city will be flooded again. The Mayor should take a decision to resolve the issue with the contractors,” she had said along with other Congress councillors.
However, defending the Mayor Soumini Jain the new governing council said that the Corporation has so far released over `156 crore to the contractors. “No council has done like this. We are not against sanctioning the fund but the Corporation’s revenue needs to be considered. Proper steps will be taken to resolve the issue,” the Mayor responding to the allegations said. Meanwhile, the contractors said the work in all the divisions would resume on Tuesday itself. The pre-monsoon cleaning would be done in the coming days,” they said.