Uproar in council over renewal of contracts

 thehindu.com  09/16/2020 13:26:43 

The renewal of contract with two private agencies for two different projects was a major point of discussion and matter of unrest in the Kozhikode Corporation council meeting on Wednesday. The renewal of contract with Rishwan Advertising company for construction and maintenance of 11 bus shelters in the city and with Solus Ad Solutions for advertising on the median of beach road drew a lot of flak from opposition parties that claimed that the conduct of both the companies had been far from flawless so far and hence the contract should not be renewed.

In the first case, the corporations contract with Rishwan Advertising to build and maintain three big and eight small bus shelters in the city was extended for another 10 years. The agency is to provide FM radio and CCTV camera at the bus shelters and clean them regularly, besides paying advertisement licence fee for each of the advertisements displayed at the shelters.

Deplorable condition

Congress councillor Vidya Balakrishnan said that the same agency had been maintaining several bus shelters in the city for the past 15 years and that the condition of some of them was deplorable. Independent councillor Syed Mohammed Shameel demanded that the company be blacklisted. Deputy Mayor Meera Darshak said that the company had paid the fine for its errors. Town Planning Standing Committee chairman M.C. Anil Kumar said that the company had invested a lot into the project and would face severe loss if it could not complete the project.

In the other case, Solus Ad Solutions was granted four-year extension in the contract to set up poles for advertising on the median of Beach Road from beach open stage to Beach Hotel. The agency should also maintain lighting on the Beach Road.

Congress councillor P.M. Niyas said that the agency was entrusted with the project since 2006 and had defaulted many times. He said that lights on Beach Road had gone off for months on end at times and that the agency had changed the size of the advertisement boards and the number of poles without the corporations consent. He cited the report of the Auditor General in this regard.

Vidya Balakrishnan said that it was foolish to allow a company that had violated the contract to continue while Mohamed Shameel said that it would be contempt of court as there was a High Court ruling against advertisements that distracted drivers.

However, the Deputy Mayor brushed away the arguments and said that all the changes made by the agency were done with consent and that it had remitted the licence fee completely. She said there was no reason to deny renewal of the contract.

Earlier, Congress councillor Usha Devi called upon the councils attention towards the Mahila Mall issue. Mayor Thottathil Raveendran said that the issue was under control and a report on it would be submitted in the next council meeting.

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