KOZHIKODE: Kozhikode Corporation’s council meeting on Tuesday witnessed untoward incidents including the gheraoing of Mayor Thottathil Raveendran, exchange of slurs and scuffles between the councillors of the opposition and the ruling front over the controversial streetlight contract. The contract signed between the Corporation and a private firm became controversial after it was found that the MoU signed was different from the ‘expression of interest’ and also from what the Council had approved.
The measurements of the advertisements boards allowed in the streetlight poles have changed in favour of the contractor and instead of the clause that advertisements can be put only on the newly-erected streetlight poles, even existing poles near the Beach are allowed. After the opposition brought this irregularity to the notice of the Council, Mayor Thottathil Raveendran assigned the Corporation Secretary to submit a report. At the meeting which started at 3 pm, the report tabled in the Council by Corporation Secretary Mrunmai Joshi Sashank said that the Deputy Secretary, Revenue Officer, Superintendent and Section Clerk were guilty of dereliction of duty and added that action could be taken as decided by the Council.
While the councillors from the UDF and the BJP demanded cancellation of the contract and recommending a vigilance inquiry, the ruling LDF maintained that the contract should be approved by replacing the controversial wordings and measurements with that of the original approved by the Council. The issue turned chaotic after the opposition members alleged Public Works standing committee chairman M C Anil Kumar’s involvement in the issue to which Anil Kumar retaliated saying P .M Niyas of Congress had a history of being involved in corruption in the past, which led to chaos. Opposition members stormed towards the Mayor’s dais while ruling front members joined in to cover the Mayor and deputy mayor.
A minor scuffle between the councilors Bijuraj, P.M Niyas and Prasanth Kumar also took place during the protest. Around 4 pm, the Mayor adjourned the meeting. Later, the party leaders met the mayor and resumed the meeting after 45 minutes. The Mayor directed the Secretary to give a detailed report on the disciplinary action taken against the officials within 10 days. However the Mayor refused to cancel the contract and recommend a vigilance inquiry which led to the opposition gheraoing the Mayor again. The agenda was passed and the meeting was adjourned amidst the shouting from opposition members.