New tender to strip lamp posts of graft
By Express News Service - KOCHI
10th November 2012 09:16 AM
The Kochi Corporation authorities have started the procedures to float tender for displaying advertisements on lamp posts in the city.
The Revenue Department of the Corporation is expected to finish the tender proceedings within two weeks. The civic body’s decision to float a new long-term tender came after Opposition raised graft charges against the Town Planning Department of the Corporation for non-renewal of agreement for displaying advertisements on lamp posts.
Following the allegations, Mayor Tony Chammany has already recommended a Vigilance probe into the issue. “The tenders will be floated for the lamp posts owned by the Corporation except at roads owned by NHAI and GCDA. The proceedings are expected to be completed by this month and once the Council approves the conditions included in the agreement, we will float the tender,” said a top Corporation official.
Meanwhile, the Opposition councillors on Friday organised a protest dharna in front of the Kochi Corporation office demanding the resignation of Mayor Tony Chammany and Town Planning Committee chairman. Former Mayor Dinesh Mani inaugurated the dharna. According to the Opposition, the term with the private agency which was given the contract to display advertisements on lamp posts had ended in March 2011.
“The permit was not renewed after that. But the agency continued to collect charges from various firms for getting the advertisements displayed. The loss that Corporation incurred will come up to nearly Rs 1 crore. Though the Mayor has recommended a Vigilance probe, we believe that a transparent inquiry will not be possible if the existing Standing Committee Chairman continues in his post,” said Opposition councillor and former Works Standing Committee chairman M Anilkumar. Meanwhile, Tony Chammany said that as a local body, the Corporation was following participatory democracy.
“The members of two standing committees which include councillors from both the ruling front and Opposition have looked into the issue. After inspecting the files, the Standing Committee members have found out that fault was on the part of certain officials in the Town Planning Department in executing the agreement. As per the recommendation, we have also suspended the officials against whom the allegations were raised,” said Chammany.
The Mayor said the Opposition was going on with the strike even after the Council recommended Vigilance probe.
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