Many areas in the city of Koča, including the main MG road, are flooded during heavy rains. | Photo credit: FILE PHOTO
The Kochi Corporation is considering adopting the Chennai model to solve the perennial problem of watering.
Addressing a council meeting on Tuesday, Mayor M. Anilkumar said a team comprising the corporation secretary, superintending engineer and executive engineers would be sent to Chennai to study the model in detail.
The process involves cleaning the drains throughout the year, as opposed to once a year as is done now. For this purpose, the agency will conclude an annual contract.
The system of awarding annual maintenance contracts for the maintenance of drains was started in Chennai after the deluge. Mr. Anilkumar said they were looking into changing the way drains are maintained in areas like MG Road after many, including the Tamil Nadu-born corporation secretary, vouched for the effectiveness of the Chennai model.
United Democratic Front (UDF) councilor VK Minimol alleged that the corporation is facing a major financial crisis as it hires vehicles from outside to transport waste, giving the impression that the corporation’s own vehicles are in poor condition. She said the additional charge on this account alone was ₹61 lakh in a month and the officials cleared the accounts within days. Rental costs for equipment such as earthmoving machinery have also increased.
The mayor has promised to take up the issues at a special council meeting next month to discuss the Brahmapuram solid waste treatment plant.
Mr. Anilkumar said he would meet the finance and local government ministers with a request that at least part of the goods and services tax (GST) and pension fund be allocated to the civic body. About 100 crore is pending as GST share only. An equally substantial amount should also be allocated to the pension fund, given the large number of employees retiring from the company.
The mayor regretted that there was no increase in revenue. He also sought the cooperation of officials in collecting taxes. While he said the contractors’ strike was reasonable, he asked the protesters to reconsider whether staging a protest at the office by shouting slogans and blocking the route was appropriate.