At the Kochi Corporations first meeting after the new council took charge, Mayor M. Anilkumar said that work on cleaning canals and drains in the city would be completed by May.
Estimates for work to be undertaken had already been prepared and an official would be appointed to oversee the work on large canals.
United Democratic Front (UDF) councillors raised grievances over the matter of the corporation having to deposit 4.88 crore with the District Disaster Management Authority for the restoration of the Mullassery Canal and a few channels in other areas, as per a High Court order.
They pointed out that the previous council had unanimously decided that the corporation would implement the work, while the Operation Breakthrough team would only prepare a detailed project report for it. With the court order, the corporation would only deposit the money, while the Operation Breakthrough team would implement it, said UDF councillor Deepthi Mary Varghese. M.G. Aristottil stated that the projects implemented under Operation Breakthrough had failed to alleviate the citys waterlogging woes, and that the cost for the work should be deposited only when the team prepares the DPR and submits it to the council for its approval.
The Mayor said that the money would have to be deposited in a months time as per the court order.
But once the amount is paid, the corporation can insist on the DPR to be presented to the council before the project is implemented, he said.
When councillors raised the issue of the Operation Breakthrough team not consulting them while preparing or implementing projects, Mr. Anilkumar said that a special council meeting would be held to discuss waterlogging-related work that had been omitted under the project. A new study on the ways to address waterlogging would be necessary, the Mayor said.
For the smaller drains in each division, a sum of 1 lakh has been allotted for the cleaning and spraying necessary to control mosquito menace. The Mayor has directed all councillors to constitute ward-level committees as soon as possible and conduct a meeting of these committees along with standing committee chairpersons or senior councillors to implement a campaign to control the citys mosquito problem.
UDF councillors also said that there was no clarity over the digging up and restoration of roads that would be undertaken by Indian Oil-Adani Gas Private Limited for the city gas project. Opposition leader Antony Kureethara said that a detailed discussion would be necessary to ensure that the public is not inconvenienced by ruined roads. Mr. Anilkumar said that the company was obligated to restore the roads and in case of issues, the corporation could intervene.
The previous council had already agreed to the matter of the company digging and restoring the roads to lay gas pipelines, he added.