Thiruvananthapuram: The Rs 281 crore surplus budget presented by the City Corporation on Friday focuses on mid-size infrastructure projects and civic welfare schemes. Among them was the Rs 5.5 crore APJ Abdul Kalam Park that stretches over 1.4 km from Station Kadavu to Pound Kadavu along Parvati Puthanar. A skywalk has been proposed between Thampanoor bus stand and railway station with Ponnara Park as a centre point.
Similarly, Rs 3 crore has been set aside to develop the pedestrian experience between Overbridge and Thampanoor under the name Hridaya Veethi. A cycle track has been proposed between Vazhayila and Kaudiar. Similarly, Rs one crore each has been set aside for the Mayor's Bhavan at Barton Hill and Corporation guest house at Kothalam. Also, the East Fort-Taluk office road will be developed into a heritage path. Around 19 more public comfort stations will be built in the city.
Among the other infrastructure projects are hydel-power generation units at Kundamankadavu, Maruthankuzhy and Muttathara. A 75 MLD drinking water treatment plant will be set up at Aruvikkara. Also, the sewerage network at the coastal wards will be developed at a cost of Rs5 crore. Sewage pump houses will be started at Akkulam, Edathara, Karimanal, Chackai, Enchakkal and Kannamoola. A mini sewerage treatment plant costing Rs eight crore that covers all blocks of the Medical college hospital will be commissioned. Also, an art gallery will be started at Shangumugham palace. A health brigade will be formed to monitor the health condition and provide awareness to people in the Corporation limits. Also, a cotton sanitary pad unit will be started at Kalladimugham for Rs2 crore. Dialysis units will be set up at Shanthivila and Pangappara health hospitals.
Mayor trumpets gains, opposition cries foul
Unlike the earlier times, a large number of projects proposed in the past budgets could be initiated if not completed, claimed mayor V.K. Prasanth. The first of the 'She lodges' for women proposed in the city was started at Sreekanteswaram, he said. Though women-friendly pedestrian stretch could not be developed at MG Road, a similar project was flagged off between Cotton Hill and Women's College. Tenders have been floated to bring the area under extensive CCTV coverage.
Also, tenders have been floated for the skywalks proposed at areas like East Fort. A mini-hydel project could be started at Kaaduvetti. Over 74 per cent of the past budget could be utilised, he added. Meanwhile, the opposition at city corporation said that the new budget schemes ignore most wards and focused on new projects in areas under Kazhakkoottam assembly constituency.
"The wards such as Nemom, Thiruvallam, Kovalam, Vizhinjam have not received anything. The health infrastructure in all these wards needs a lot attention," said opposition leader Giri Kumar. The ruling council was accused of including several unrealisable projects in the budget. The slaughterhouse project at Kunnukuzhy has been allotted Rs 10 crore, the opposition alleged. BJP councillors claimed that the housing schemes have been entirely utilising funds under Pradhan Mantri Awaz Yojana . "The funds under Life mission of Kerala government have been used to procure land and houses in the corporation limits.”
Licensing system for private sewage trucks soon
The city corporation has earmarked around Rs 1 lakh in the budget for starting a licensing system for private sewage trucks. Presently, the sewage trucks barring the ones of the corporation have no facility to discharge waste into the sewage treatment plant at Muttathara. The corporation will liaison with Kerala Water Authority (KWA) to start a discharge point for private sewage trucks in the city, mayor V.K. Prasanth said.
The trucks registered with the motor vehicles department will be specially colour coded and can get a license after paying Rs 1000. The corporation will fix a ceiling of rates that can be collected from users of the truck depending upon the capacity of the vehicle used for sewage waste collection. In the second phase, a control room will be started to manage this system. Each discharge from the truck will be charged a nominal rate.
Presently, the KWA does not accept sewage waste from trucks because they are different in composition. Hence, discharge modules will be set up elsewhere but not far from Muttathara. The module which will cost only a few lakh rupees was also expected to bring profits to the corporation and KWA....