Year 2021 – a period of course correction and consolidation for Coimbatore Corporation

One of the important decisions the civic body took was to make public the resolutions that the Corporation Council took in the previous four years

The year 2021 was a period that the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) used to take corrective measures, get back on track, and march towards completing big ticket projects.

As in an election year with regime change, 2021 was a year with two phases for the CCMC – one prior to election and two, after a new government assumed office. Until May 2021, the Corporation continued to chart the course that it had taken in the years earlier – execution of projects taken up under the Smart Cities Mission and continuation of the fight against COVID-19.

After a new government took charge and change of guard at the Coimbatore Corporation – civil servant Raja Gopal Sunkara took charge in June last year – things started to turn around.

One of the important decisions that the Corporation took was to make public the resolutions that the Corporation Council took in the previous four years or so. This not only brought in transparency into the administration but also addressed concerns of activists and concerned citizens.

Prior to May 2021, the Corporation had kept under wraps the Council resolutions and also stymied efforts to have them revealed through Right to Information Act petitions. The period the Corporation had shown reluctance in making public the resolutions was when the commissioners had the Council’s powers as an elected council was not in place.

It was also the period that the Corporation took decisions with huge financial implications.

Post June 2021, the Corporation cancelled several projects – those that were at the planning stage, tender stage and contract finalisation stage. In cancelling the projects, the Corporation also admitted, perhaps for the first time, that its finances were weak, and it owed over ₹100 crore to contractors for works completed.

Over July, August, September and October the CCMC continued to cancel projects, as revealed in Council resolutions that it regularly disclosed.

The second half of 2021 also saw a few heads roll in the CCMC. After the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption raided the houses of a few engineers as a part of investigation into corruption case, the State Government transferred five top engineers by giving postings to three and leaving in lurch two engineers.

On the question of development, the Corporation made progress in the lake improvement projects it had taken up under the Smart Cities Mission, improved the pace of execution of the 24×7 drinking water supply improvement project, underground sewerage scheme in Kurichi and Kuniamuthur and moved towards finalising the specifications of the water supply improvement project in added areas.

The year also saw the Corporation bring in discipline among its employees, particularly among conservancy workers and contract labourers. It also took proactive measures like organising a competition for bill collectors to rate them on their efficiency in tax collection.

In 2022, the Corporation has set its focus on two big ticket projects – the pending integrated bus stand project in Vellalore and the recently announced Semmozhi Poonga in Gandhipuram. In addition, the CCMC has the usual challenges to address – bad roads, faulty street lights, piling garbage and poor waste management system.

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