Mangaluru: Addressing the media persons during the press meet held at Mangalore Press Club, Sudhir Shetty of BJP, also a Opposition leader in Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) lashed out at the MCC for the slow work in completion of Town Hall, and also failure of the MCC administration in other development work in the city, and also referred to Mayor Alfred Jacintha as a “Rubber Stamp” in the MCC. A rubber stamp (politics), as a political metaphor, refers to a person or institution with considerable de jure power but little de facto power; one that rarely disagrees with more powerful organs. The term itself likely stems from the commonplace practice of subordinate employees or officials being deputized and given the authority to sign the name of their superior or employer.
Shetty further said, “Since the new MCC team took over there has been no development work from the past four months. Regarding the non-completion work of Town Hall, everyone is disappointed. The renovation work of Town Hall started on September 19, 2014, and the then mayor Mahabala Marla had assured that the inauguration of the renovated Town Hall would take place on on 26 December 2014 to commemorate 50 years of Town Hall. The renovation was planned on a budget of Rs 4 crore and work was undertaken by the Nirmiti Kendra. During the council meeting held on September 29, 2014, Rs 99.75 lakhs was sanctioned and then approved to carry on with the first phase of work, and later during yet another council meeting held on 29 October 29, 2014, Rs 98 lakhs was sanctioned.”
“But if you look at Town Hall presently, it looks like a dump yard with all broken chairs, furniture piled up in the premises. Also the work has stopped as of 26 November, 2014, for the fact, according to the president of Nirmiti Kendra who says they can’t finish the work due to shortage of technical workers. As of now, only Rs 30 lakhs of work has been completed out of Rs 99.75 lakhs in the first phase. Presently the work has been stalled.” Shetty added.
“Due to the non-availability of Town Hall, many organizers and artists are finding a hard time to conduct programmes. Although we had raised this issue and demanded that Town Hall work should be completed soon during the council meeting held few days ago, no one listened to us. Even the council meeting was adjourned because of our protest during the meeting. If we don’t get a proper answer about the fate of Town Hall, we will intensify our protest and see that the work is started again and finished soon”, warned Shetty.
Shetty further said, ” During BJP’s tenure, in the second phase of work under Chief Minister’s grant of Rs 100-crore, 77 out of 110 works were completed at a cost of Rs 29 crore. Still 33 works and Rs 71 crore are pending.. In the third phase under the same grant, there has been no work started and Rs 100 crore remains unused. During BJP’s tenure, the grant for development works for each corporator was increased from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 25 laks, but after Congress came to power, it was reduced to Rs 15 lakhs”.
“Also MCC is presently charging enormous fees for garbage disposal- we want them to lower the fees to Rs 140 for 500sqft area, and Rs 280 for 1000 sqft. Increasing the property tax by 15 percent by MCC is also not right. Under Kudcemp project, Rs 380 crore was taken as loan from ADB in first phase for water supply and underground drainage works, but the work has not been completed yet. A meeting was called recently to seek approval for another ADB loan of Rs 160 crore for waters works and Rs 120 crore for underground drainage work in the second phase. We strongly condemn this as the loan will burden the people,” urged Shetty. When a reporter asked Shetty, what’s his opinion on the functioning of MCC Commissioner Hephsiba Rani Korlapati, he replied, ” She is doing a good job and following the book of laws, but she should cooperate and respect the councillors/corporators”.
Speaking on behalf of artists and cultural program organizers, MLC Capt Ganesh Karnik said, “Town Hall being a cultural place, many artists and organizers are facing lots of inconveniences in having their events. I suggest the concerned authorities, including the district in-charge minister Ramanath Rai, MLAs , Mayor, MCC Commissioner and others make alternative arrangements to host cultural events in the city. They could put up a temporary water-proof tent around the Town Hall or at Kadri Park, so that events could be held until Town Hall is completed. What I feel is that the development works are going slow and not progressing further is mainly because there is no coordination and understanding between Ramanath Rai, the MLAs and other concerned authorities”.
Other BJP representatives present during the press meet were Ravishanker Mijar, Nithi Kumar, Prabha Malini and Premananda Shetty.