Councillors allege slight to their authority
Row over project for the urban poor
Claim that they were kept in the dark about survey
Say genuine beneficiaries not being identified
KOCHI: A meeting of the city Corporation Council here on Saturday witnessed a heated debate on the implementation of the Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
The discussion on a resolution, presented by Mayor Mercy Williams, saw councillors crying foul over the alleged bypass of their authority in the project implementation.
Among other things, the project envisages building houses for the homeless among the urban poor.
Councillors complained about the alleged drawbacks of the survey carried out by Kudumbasree, the nodal agency entrusted with the job.
Leader of the Opposition A.B. Sabu alleged that the councillors were kept in the dark about the survey. He called for safeguarding their authority and ensuring their participation in selecting the beneficiaries.
N. Venugopal, councillor, alleged that the weightage system followed in the selection was discriminatory and humiliating. He said prospective beneficiaries were not given enough time to submit their applications. He warned of a conspiracy to sabotage the project, estimated at crores of rupees.
Responding to the allegations, Deputy Mayor C.K. Manisankar, said the participation of the councillors was ensured as the list of beneficiaries needed the approval of the ward sabhas.
T.J. Vinod said the resolution seeking the approval of the council for additional suggestions for the implementation of the project was tantamount to considering the councillors’ authority a mere favour.
The Mayor’s decision to go ahead with the project without proper discussions in the council was a bad move, he said.
He alleged that the Corporation failed to follow micro-planning in the selection of the beneficiaries, and warned that the project would become a big flop.
He asked the Mayor to consider amending the suggestions given in the circular issued by the Kudumbasree Executive Director for the implementation of the project.
V.J. Hycinth termed the resolution a useless exercise, and demanded more publicity for the project through the media before selection of the beneficiaries.
K.J. Antony called for transparency in the implementation of the project and ensuring that ineligible persons did not benefit.
Some councillors alleged that Kudumbasree units were carrying out the survey only in their immediate neighbourhood, without identifying genuine beneficiaries.
Taking into account the mood of the Council, Ms. Williams said the approval of the list of beneficiaries by the Council through the development standing committee would be included in the conditions for the implementation of the project.
Ms. Williams said that complaints about the distribution of survey forms, which were supposed to be in the custody of the surveyors alone, would be looked into. Resurvey would be held if the councillors concerned wanted it.