Uncertainty looms over Kochi corporation building amid auction notice

Opposition councillor M G Aristotle said the corporation’s finances have been deteriorating over the years.
The corporation building that was slapped with an attachment-cum-auction notice
The corporation building that was slapped with an attachment-cum-auction notice Photo | A Sanesh

KOCHI: Despite the Third Additional Sub-court of Ernakulam having slapped an attachment-cum-auction notice worth nearly Rs 30 crore on Kochi corporation’s new building at Marine Drive, the local body appears to have no action plan to resolve the issue anytime soon.

The corporation building that was slapped with an attachment-cum-auction notice
Kerala court slaps notice to attach Kochi corporation building at Marine Drive

In 2022, an auction notice was sent to the local body for non-payment of dues amounting to Rs 6 crore to those who gave up land for the widening of the Sahodaran Ayyappan Road. The latest one, amounting to over Rs 23 crore, is related to the over 289-cent land acquired for the Brahmapuram waste management plant from brothers Abraham, Jossy, and Binoy Cyriac. 

“The land in Brahmapuram was acquired by the Kerala government for Kochi corporation to set up a solid waste management plant. The government deducts a sum from the Kochi corporation’s plan fund every year to recover the amount it has spent. Decisions on these matters will be taken after discussing with the government,” Mayor M Anilkumar said. 

In 2005, the corporation bought around 40 acres to set up a plant at Brahmapuram. When the plant began operations in 2007, the local residents protested the foul smell emanating from it. Following reconciliation talks with the residents, the government decided to buy around 75 acres belonging to them in 2008.

Opposition councillor M G Aristotle said the corporation’s finances have been deteriorating over the years. “Kochi corporation doesn’t have funds to pay the dues. The matter will have to be discussed with the government,” Aristotle said.

According to a source, there are around 15-20 claimants for the Brahmapuram land and the dues amount to Rs 50 crore or more. More such cases are pending before the Perumbavoor sub-court, under the jurisdiction of which Brahmapuram falls. At the same time, the mayor said the work on the new corporation building, which has dragged on for nearly two decades, is expected to be completed by December 2024.

“An additional Rs 40 crore is required to complete the remaining work of the new building. We have applied for a loan, which is under the government’s consideration. We are positive that the work will be completed by the end of this year,” Anilkumar said.

Meanwhile, T R S Kumar, counsel for the petitioners, said the corporation cannot inaugurate its new office unless the attachment-cum-auction notices are lifted. “Around 10-12 cases related to dues pending with Kochi corporation are attached to its new building. Unless the local body pays the dues to the petitioners, they will not be able to open the office,” he said. The corporation acquired land for the SA Road and the Brahmapuram plant in 2006 and 2011 respectively. 

“The case has been going on for more than a decade. One of the major issues is that Kochi corporation doesn’t have a permanent lawyer. Hence, it gets postponed,” Kumar said.In the case of the Sahodaran Ayyappan Road, the local body has made only part payments, he said. “However, over the past two years, the amount has increased to nearly Rs 4 to 5 crore because of the piling up of the interest on the principle amount,” Kumar added. 

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com