KOCHI: It seems there will be not be any respite to Kochi denizens from waterlogging this monsoon.
The fear was triggered after talks chaired by Mayor Soumini Jain with representatives of the Cochin Corporation Contractors’ Association (CCCA) on Wednesday to end the latter’s indefinite strike failed to reach a consensus.
The CCCA launched the stir from Monday against the delay in clearing payment dues pending since August-2015. The stir hit the Corporation’s efforts to clean the drains and canals resulting in waterlogging in various parts of the city the other day.
“We are not ready to withdraw the strike as the Mayor failed to give us an exact date to clear the dues. She said the dues will be cleared before Onam. But we want a specific date. We will hold a meeting of all the contractors on Thursday to chalk out future plans,” said a CCCA member.
According to the CCCA, the Corporation owes nearly Rs 50 crore in dues to over 200 civic contractors. “We understand our decision to boycott cleaning of drains will inundate the city in the coming days if the rainfall continues. But we are left with no other option. The Corporation can easily clear the dues using its plan fund,” said the member. “The crisis emerged only due to the Corporation’s weak financial management,” the member said.
‘Can’t clear dues in a couple of days’
Jain said the Corporation at present was in no position to clear the contractors’ dues in a couple of days. “We told them the arrears will be cleared by Onam when the Corporation receives a major chunk of the revenue by September through tax collections. I, too, will hold a meeting with the contractors on Thursday to discuss the issue. I am confident the matter will be resolved without delay,” she said.
The Corporation had deployed daily wagers to clean the culverts and small drains at inundated localities of the city.