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Tamil Nadu - Coimbatore Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Hopes of sewer scheme implementation resurface

K.V. Prasad

Oppn. had rejected proposal due to funds concern

COIMBATORE: If the Opposition's claims were anything to go by, the hopes of implementing the Rs. 199-crore underground sewerage scheme have resurfaced with indications of Central assistance under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

The Centre launched it recently to provide grants for infrastructure projects in mega cities, those with more than 10-lakh population and those with religious and tourism importance. Chennai (first category) and Coimbatore and Madurai (second category) are the cities chosen from Tamil Nadu.

`Exorbitant' deposit

Proposed in 1998, the scheme came close to implementation many times but was rejected by the Opposition on the grounds of `exorbitant' connection deposit and monthly maintenance charges to be collected from the public. Besides, the Opposition refused to approve the scheme in the Council stating that a huge loan for the scheme would land the civic body in a financial crisis.

More than half of the 72 wards, mostly in the layouts added to the city in 1981 and those formed thereafter, do not have underground sewers. These fall under zones four, five and six that the scheme aims to cover at a cost of Rs. 168.28 crores.

Only a part of zone three is to be covered and sewers will be provided to these areas with the rest of the outlay.

The Central scheme has come as a boon to the Corporation, what with the scheme failing to take off in the face of resistance to the maintenance charges and bank loans and with the State Government not providing a grant more than Rs. 5.5 crores.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led Opposition in the Council led an effort to obtain funds under the National River Conservation Programme of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The Tiruchi Corporation obtained the funds as sewage polluted the Cauvery river.

`To be cleared soon'

The Coimbatore Corporation councillors sought the funds on the grounds that sewage polluted the Noyyal river. But, the plea was rejected as the river was categorised as a wild stream.

Now, the Corporation is said to have sent the proposal through the State Government for grants under the JNNURM. Disclosing this, an Opposition team that pursued the scheme at New Delhi recently also expresses optimism that the scheme will be cleared soon.

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