KOCHI: The opposition councillors of Kochi Corporation have demanded the resignation of Mayor Soumini Jain for failing to unclog the drains, leading to waterlogging in different parts of Kochi.
The opposition will take out a protest march to the Corporation office on Thursday demanding the Mayor’s resignation.
Opposition leader K J Antony told reporters LDF councillors had warned of the waterlogging issue and had informed the governing body to carry out the clean-up in January itself. However, the Mayor was not interested, he said.
“Usually, the cleaning is completed well ahead of the monsoon. But this year, the tender for the cleaning work was opened two days ago. Last Monday, the entire city came to a standstill because of waterlogging at different places. The Mayor is no longer eligible to continue,” he said.
Antony alleged Jain only attended the inauguration of projects. Once ranked first for its waste disposal system, the city has slipped to the 271st position among cities in the country, he said.
The opposition leader said the contracts for various works are allotted to contractors close to the UDF councillors. Usually, a meeting is held with the Railways and port authorities to discuss the cleaning drive ahead of the rains. But, for the past two years, the meeting has not been conducted, he said.
“As part of the Five Year Plan, Rs 44.34 crore was allotted to Kochi Corporation under the planned fund in 2012,” said councillor V P Chandran. “Using this fund, the clean-up was done so far. Till 2017, only Rs 37.93 crore has been utilised. The Corporation still has around Rs 6.5 crore left. If the clean-up is not done, the fund will lapse.”
He said a meeting was called by the District Collector on Tuesday to review the cleaning drive. “However, the Mayor did not attend the meeting. With the Under-17 World Cup to held in Kochi this year, a lack of hygiene would put Kerala to shame. There are also possibilities of an epidemic outbreak if the situation continues,” Chandran said.
Councillor Poornima Narayanan alleged only Rs 3 lakh was allotted to each division for cleaning small drains, ignoring the larger ones. “With such a meagre fund, how can the cleaning drive be completed?” she asked.