Corporator Vijay Kumar alleged that not even 100 people use the Indira Canteen facilities at Pumpwell, Kavoor, Urwa Store and Surathkal.
The number is so low although the canteens were opened to provide subsidised food for the poor, he added.
He was addressing the monthly council meeting of the Mangaluru City Corporation in the city on Wednesday.
The corporator expressed suspicion of illegalities in the canteen management. “As many as 500 people with tokens are expected to be served breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Unfortunately, not even 100 people use the benefits in Mangaluru. The Corporation has earmarked Rs 3.2 crore in its budget to provide subsidised food through the Indira Canteens. Why should we waste money giving 500 tokens that are not used?” Vijay Kumar asked.
Mayor Bhaskar K Moily replied that in the recently held Mayors’ meeting, a similar concern was expressed. “It has been decided to monitor the functioning of the Indira Canteens by deploying men to verify how many people use the service,” said the mayor.
He promised to look at the CCTV footage of the canteens.
Civic workers’ houses
Raising the issue of 350 sq ft plinth area houses being constructed for civic workers in the Corporation jurisdiction, Opposition leader Premananda Shetty said that the houses look like sheds.
“It is impossible for a family to reside in such houses. The National Commission for Safai Karmacharis member Jagadish Hiremani had directed the MCC Commissioner to merge two houses and allocate to a beneficiary, so that they get 700 sq ft houses. Unfortunately, no action has been taken in this regard,” Shetty said.
MCC Commission Mohammed Nazeer, who responded to the complaint, said that the unit cost of each house is Rs 7.5 lakh, which is shared by the Central and state governments. “The Corporation has written to the government, seeking direction to merge two houses. If the government permits, then the Corporation can take action in this regard. If we go for a merger of two houses to allocate it for a civic worker, we will need additional Rs 10 crore to complete 128 houses for civic workers,” he explained.
Councillors from the Opposition sought to know the reason for the delay in clearing pending bills for the contactors, which is further delaying the start of fresh works.
They alleged that the bills are pending for the last 14 months. Election for the Council of the Corporation is fast approaching and the corporators are unable to take up work in their wards, they added.
An Opposition leader also demanded details on the financial condition of the Corporation.
Nazeer said that the payment for the contractors under maintenance category has been cleared till November 2018 but is pending for the last one year for civil works. He assured that by March 2019, the pending bills will be reduced to six months.
Shashidhar Hegde, chief whip of the Council, said the Council had taken up the highest number of development works in the last five years, including 24X7 water supply.
BJP corporator Poornima, however, along with the Opposition councillors, trooped into the well of house which created chaos and confusion with the Opposition and ruling members levelling allegations against each other.