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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Opposition preparing for showdown

By T. Nandakumar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, SEPT. 25. The Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) in the City Corporation council is preparing for a showdown with the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) over the delay in taking up four priority projects intended to improve infrastructure facilities and give a facelift to the city.

The four projects, namely, the beautification of the Sanghumukham beach, the Putherikandam maidan and the Manaveeyam Veedhi and the modernisation of the crematorium at Thycaud, were announced in November last year.

The UDF council party alleges that the projects have become a casualty of the internal squabbles in the CPI(M). Countering the charges, the LDF leadership accuses the Opposition of raking up the issue to gain political mileage.

The Corporation had drawn up plans to execute the Rs. 9.7-crore programme with financial support from the Tourism Department, the Capital Region Development Scheme and the Theerapatham Urban Development Programme.

Sanghumukham project

Covering an area of 20 acres, the Sanghumukham beautification programme involves the construction of a central pedestrian zone adjoining the beach and the integration of the existing facilities.

The project envisages extensive landscaping and the renovation of the South Palace. The Government has worked out a deal with the Southern Air Command and the Travancore Devaswom Board to acquire additional land and realign the road in front of the airport. The project is estimated to cost Rs. 3 crores.

Manaveeyam Veedhi

The second project involves the redesigning of the Manaveeyam Veedhi from the Keltron Square to the Althara Junction to impart a festive environment for staging cultural shows during the weekends when the road is closed to traffic. The road surface will be paved with tiles and the footpath will be provided with a rain shelter. A new lighting system will also be provided. The project cost has been estimated at Rs. 85 lakhs.

Putherikandam maidan

The Putherikandam maidan will be redesigned along a central axis linking the main entrance to a stage at the eastern side. The Amayizhanjan canal skirting the grounds will be covered with concrete slabs to provide a parking lot. The Quit India gate at the entrance is to be demolished for a new structure designed on the lines of the East Fort gate. The premises will be greened with trees. An amount of Rs. 3.25 crores will be required for the project.

Crematorium

The modernisation of the crematorium includes the construction of a gas-fired crematorium to supplement the electric and wood-burning units. The premises covering 1.4 acres will be landscaped with lawns, flowering plants and trees. There will be parking lots for cars and two-wheelers. The project is estimated to consume Rs. 2.6 crores.

The UDF council party leader, K. Maheswaran Nair, said the projects had been bogged down due to differences of opinion within the CPI(M). Refuting the charges, the chairman of the standing committee on development, K. Soman, said the work on the Putherikandam project would take off by October 2.

Design awaits nod

However, officials associated with the project said the final design was yet to be approved. "The Chief Secretary has convened a meeting to discuss the project details before freezing the design. The proposal to cover the canal may be entrusted to the Water Resources Department under the flood control project," an official said.

Mr. Soman said two companies had been short-listed from the bids submitted for supply of LPG and electric furnaces for the crematorium. The project will be finalised after the screening committee for the project visits Chennai and Bangalore to study the operation of similar units, he added.

The Manaveeyam Veedhi project is reportedly awaiting technical sanction from the Public Works Department (PWD) Roads division.

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