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Congress members fail to make stand clear on Indira Canteens

Congress members fail to make stand clear on Indira Canteens

They resort to repeated interruptions as issue leads to chaos in HDMC council meeting

The issue of why and how should the already cash-strapped Hubballi Dharwad Municipal Corporation bear 70 % of the funds for Indira Canteen in the twin cities led to chaos in the monthly municipal council meeting here on Thursday.

While members of the ruling BJP have already opposed the move and demanded that the State government bear the entire cost, members of the Congress, who failed to make their stand clear on the issue, resorted to repeated interruptions leading to chaos in the meeting.

Although it seemed both the ruling party in the Council and the Opposition were of the same view that the municipal corporation, which was already facing shortage of funds, was not in a position to share the cost for running the Indira Canteens and were for requesting the State government to bear the entire cost, politics seemed to play spoilsport resulting in members of both the national parties indulging in a blame game.

Senior BJP councillor and former Mayor Pandurang Patil was critical of the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for asking local bodies to share the cost instead of the State bearing the entire cost of the initiative meant for helping the poor and the needy.

He also took exception to spending money collected for Labour Welfare Fund by the Labour Department for the purpose. He said that by such a move, the government was depriving the labour class of its rights.

Another former Mayor from the BJP Veeranna Savadi, who raised the issue earlier, made it clear that the corporation was not in a position to bear the cost of running Indira Canteens. He then went on to raise technical issues such as canteens being built without any permission from municipal corporation and business being done without any trade licence. Clarifying on the issue, Opposition leader Ganesh Tagargunti said that the issue of cost-sharing was raised during a meeting in Bengaluru on Wednesday which was chaired by Urban Development Minister U.T. Khader and district in-charge Minister R.V. Deshpande. Both of them promised to bring the issue before Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy so that the burden on the corporation was reduced.

Janata Dal(S) member Rajanna Koravi said that although there was a proposal to make the corporation bear only 30 % of the cost, the Janata Dal(S) leaders have demanded that the entire cost should be borne by the State government. The discussion, which went on smoothly initially, turned noisy after BJP councillor Shivanand Muttannavar seeking to know whether the State government had become bankrupt as it was asking the local bodies to share the cost of running the canteens. His comment led to strong reaction from the Opposition members who rushed to the well of the House to register their protest.

As they resorted to sloganeering, the BJP members countered them with slogans resulting in utter chaos for a while. Amid the commotion, the BJP members succeeded in getting a resolution expressing the corporation’s inability to bear the cost of running Indira Canteens passed in the House. As Mayor Sudheer Saraf announced that the resolution had been approved amid the din, the Opposition members and the ruling party members kept raising slogans. Following adjournment of the proceedings, they came out continuing with their sloganeering.

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