Nava Kerala Sadas: Kattappana municipality not to allot funds

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Idukki: The Nava Kerala Sadas may not have a smooth run in Kattappana, Idukki. The Kattappana municipality has decided against allocating any funds for the contentious public outreach program organised by the Government of Kerala. During a council meeting held on Wednesday, the UDF-led civic body deliberated whether to allocate funds for the event scheduled to take place in Cheruthoni in the Idukki assembly segment.

A majority of council members expressed their opinion that the civic body should not allocate funds for the ‘extravaganza’ even though the Local Self Government Department (LSGD) had issued an order allowing municipalities to allocate up to Rs 1 lakh for the event. The members said the state faced a severe financial crisis, resulting in a four-month delay in the disbursement of welfare and social security pensions.

Earlier, the Thiruvalla municipality, governed by the UDF, had decided to allocate funds for the event. The KPCC had earlier advised Congress-led civic bodies not to give funds for the event.

“Our party has taken a stance but the decision on allocating funds was made following today’s council discussions. The UDF and the Congress members individually raised concerns over pension arrears and strongly opposed allocating funds for the event. I believe this decision is not unusual, as the CPM-ruled civic bodies are supporting the event while most local bodies led by the Congress and the UDF have chosen against it. There was minimal opposition from members of the opposition,” Kattappana municipal chairperson Shiny Sunny Cherian said.

However, opposition councillors from the CPM, CPI, and the Kerala Congress (M) argued during the council meeting that politics should be set aside and the Nava Kerala Sadas should be seen as an opportunity to address public issues and propose development projects.

“The Sadas, to be held in Cheruthony next month, will see significant participation from within the Kattappana municipality and our party will raise funds for it,” CPM councillor Binu Kesavan said.

The council consists of 34 members — 23 from the UDF, nine from the LDF, and two representing the BJP.

The Nava Kerala Sadas, touted as a grievance redressal programme by the state government, has been drawing flak for the way it is being organised and the reportedly ‘exorbitant’ expenditure that is being incurred. Opposition parties had criticised the event, stating it was a blatant misuse of government resources for a public relations exercise of little or no value. A bus procured by the government to take the Cabinet, procured at over Rs one crore, has also been at the centre of criticism.

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