Partners BJP, JD(S) 'divided' over crematorium issue

The Janata Dal (Secular)-BJP coalition may be holding the reins of Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) for the second consecutive term.

But still, the saffron party found it tough to decide over the long-pending proposal of Aasare Foundation Charitable Trust, headed by former minister and BJP leader S A Ramdas, seeking maintenance of a part of the local body-owned crematorium (that includes electric, LPG and non-electric facilities) near the foot of Chamundi Hill.

Following mixed opinion of corporators, including JD(S), Mayor B L Bhyrappa announced that the proposal had been dropped.

Bhyrappa, on Thursday, tabled the agenda that was pending for approval, as the corporators had raised furore over the same proposal during the council meeting held on September 29. When the council failed to arrive at a consensus, it was decided to lay down certain conditions to consider the proposal. Accordingly, the agenda was tabled along with six conditions to approve the meeting proceedings, only to trigger unruly situation at the council.

BJP corporators — mainly H S Nandeesh Preetham — urged the mayor to consider the proposal as it was for a cause. So also K V Mallesh and B M Nataraj from JD(S), the regional party, who sounded in sync with their alliance partners, while a majority of JD(S) corporators watched the high drama. The opposition Congress raised a hue and cry, especially Ayub Khan, warning the local body of the consequences in future, with the possibility of other organisations trying to lay their hands on properties belonging to the local body.

This led to a heated argument, with a section of corporators — irrespective of party — trooping into the well of the house. Some BJP corporators also staged a walk out, only to make a comeback in a jiffy. In another attempt to pressure the mayor, the BJP corporators trooped into the well of the house and also sat on a dharna for sometime.

So, the mayor deferred the meeting for half an hour. Before that, the mayor announced, “there is no question of accepting the proposal. The subject has been dropped”.

The issue

S A Ramdas, under the banner of Aasare Foundation Charitable Trust, wanted to modernise and permanently maintain the crematorium (running on firewood) in memory of his mother Sarojamma, who passed away in February last. Following varied opinion of corporators, several conditions had been laid to handover the crematorium for a period of five years, pending approval.

The conditions included, barring electric crematorium, the crematorium run on firewood in the dimension of 105x100 metres can be handed over to the trust, while the ownership remains with the local body. The other conditions included free service, immediate withdrawal of maintenance by trust in case of any complaints and no financial implications on the MCC.

Conflict of interest

Following the proposal, corporator of Ward 4 (where the crematorium is located) N Suneel Kumar from Congress too had evinced interest in maintaining the same crematorium on his own, leading to conflict of interest.

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