A special meeting of the Kozhikode Corporation council on Thursday witnessed noisy scenes as the Opposition United Democratic Front members (UDF) sought an explanation from Mayor Beena Philip on the contract with the waste management company Zonta Infratech to set up a waste-to-energy plant at Njeliyanparamba in the city.
When Ms. Philip pointed out that the special meeting was scheduled to discuss ‘Manassodithiri Mannu’, a government scheme to provide homes for the homeless, the UDF councilors alleged that she was going back on her promise made on Wednesday. At another meeting on the previous day, Ms. Philip had promised to discuss the issue on Thursday’s meeting.
The Opposition councilors raised placards and banners alleging corruption in the deal. The Mayor, however, claimed that it can be discussed at length at a general council meeting after Monday’s budget-related sessions. She also said that if the issue was taken up on Thursday, it would have to be confined to her explanation alone. Since the waste-to-energy plant needed a detailed debate, it could be postponed, Mr. Philip said. She also claimed that the promise made on Wednesday was honest. But taking up the Njeliyanparamba issue would only help divert the attention from the scheme to provide homes for the homeless.
C.P. Musafar Ahamed, Deputy Mayor, said that no one was running away from the Njeliyanparamba issue. He said that it could be discussed after the budget-related debates.
This, however, did not go down well with the Opposition councilors who alleged that the Mayor was changing her words after acting under pressure. Later, they, along with the BJP’s councillors, walked out of the meeting. K.C. Shobitha, K. Moideen Koya, and N.C. Aboobacker from the UDF and Navya Haridas and T. Reneesh of the BJP led the protest. They raised slogans outside the council hall. S.K. Aboobacker, UDF councillor, alleged that the civic body had already handed over around ₹3.74 crore to the company.