The Coimbatore Corporation general council meeting presided over by Mayor Kalpana Anandakumar on Thursday passed a resolution to appeal to the Tamil Nadu government to permit it to take over maintenance and operation of water distribution from the Siruvani Dam in Kerala from the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board.
Mentioning that the TWAD Board is among the efficient bodies of the State, Commissioner M. Prathap said the move is to save the Corporation’s kitty ₹3.5 crore to ₹4 crore annually.
Of the Coimbatore district’s total drinking water requirement of 265.70 MLD, 101.4 MLD is from the Siruvani Dam for 22 wards under the Corporation, 28 village panchayats and seven town panchayats.
After talks, Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) will be signed with the panchayat leaders to issue a sufficient amount of water as per Section 202 of the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation Act, 1981, he added at the meeting.
Elaborating on the mechanics of the operations that depend on gravity, Mr. Prathap said, so far, of the ₹330 crore bill issued by the TWAD Board for supply and maintenance, the Corporation paid ₹90 from the kitty this financial year and ₹240 remains.
Ward 43 councillor P. Mallika said that the civic body may move towards privatisation eventually due to lack of infrastructure or manpower crunch like water supply being handled by SUEZ India, to which the Commissioner replied, “SUEZ is the executing agency. Water tax is paid to the Corporation, which proves that the Corporation handles the supply. We won’t be pushed to privatisation.”
Of the 50 resolutions, 48 were passed, as the move to shift the ownership of a few rented indoor sports campuses and gyms in North and South Zones was deferred by the council. A total of 12 councillors were marked absent at the meeting.
War of words
Some councillors clashed with the Mayor before discussions on resolutions. First, Ward 47 councillor R. Prabhakaran of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) said that the Mayor did not inform a few opposition councillors about initiatives approved in their areas.
While Ms. Anandakumar was responding to his allegations, Ward 46 councillor and Central Zone chairperson L. Meenalogu alleged that the Mayor “intentionally withheld files” related to a V.O.C park project.
Citing a news report, she said the Mayor had termed Ms. Meenalogu her ‘enemy’. When the councillor said that she would stage a walkout from the meeting, DMK councillors pacified her. The council asked all the parties to resolve “personal issues” later.
The general council meeting saw another elaborate debate on community dog sterilisation at the three Animal Birth Control (ABC) centres in the city.
Several councillors, including the Mayor, pointed out the issues over lack of schedule adherence by officials, growing population, and feeding by people.
The Commissioner said the Corporation is in talks with the City Police to identify legal “feeding zones” where the public can offer food to the community dogs. Feeding outside the zone would be illegal and action will be taken, he added. The resolution to set up an ABC in Ward 99, near the Vellalore dump yard, was passed at the meeting.