Meeting discusses ward delimitation and expansion proposals

Councillors at the Coimbatore Corporation on Monday resolved to urge the State Government to include Perur, Vellalore, Chinniyampalayam and Irugur town panchayats in the city expansion exercise.

At the end of the council meeting, the councillors, led by Congress party leader R.S. Thirumugam, verbally resolved to do so. They also decided to urge the government to split Ward 72, the population of which is much more than other wards.

The Corporation Council met here to discuss the ward delimitation within in the existing city limits and expansion proposals. The delimitation proposal was to bring down the number of wards in the city from 72 to 60 and add another 40 wards after the inclusion of Kurichi, Kuniamuthur and Kavundampalayam Municipalities, Thudiyalur, Vellakinaru, Chinna Vedampatti, Saravanampatti, Kalapatti, Veerakeralam and Vadavalli Town Panchayats and Vilankurichi Panchayat to take the total number of wards to 100.

Commissioner T.K. Ponnusamy explained to the councillors that the officers had taken into account population and area as criteria, with equal weightage to both in carrying out the delimitation and expansion exercise.

They also took into account the government's instructions that a ward should not be split into two or more. But two wards could be merged to form one. The officials were also forced to rely on the 2001 census and not 2011, as demanded by almost all councillors, because the 2011 census had not yet been officially notified. In the absence of official notification, the Corporation was forced to rely on the old data, which too was not available in full.

As per the old record the Corporation fixed the city's population at around 9.30 lakh and that of the areas to be included at around 3.40 lakh. The Corporation had decided to form a ward for a population of 13,000 – 21,000 in the city, around 9,000 in the Municipalities and urbanised areas and around 5,000 for rural areas.

Mr. Ponnusamy also explained that the Corporation could not split a ward because the caste details were not available, especially with regard to wards reserved for SC or ST and women.

He was responding to councillors' suggestions and grievances, most of which centered around exclusion of Perur, Vellalore, Chinniyampalayam and Irugur and disparity in population in wards.

DMK leader in the council V.N. Udayakumar wanted to know the fate of wards that had been earmarked for women and SC and ST. It had been only five years since reservation and five more was there before they could be de-reserved, he pointed and called for an explanation from Mayor R. Venkatachalam. He said Perur being a pilgrimage centre must be included in the Corporation. Vellalore also must be brought in because the Corporation's compost yard was there and Chinniyampalayam because of the presence of airport. He sought the expansion of council hall to accommodate 100 councillors and suggested that till the completion of a new council hall, the Corporation Kalaiarangam at R.S. Puram could be converted into a council hall.

AIADMK councillor P. Rajkumar said Ward 72, which had 32,360 voters, had been retained as such and it was 10 times more than a ward that had only 3,000 voters.

Calling for the disparity to be corrected, he called for appointment of class four employees – valve operators, conservancy workers and others to meet the shortfall.

Councillors K. Purushothaman and C. Padmanabhan wanted development works to be carried out at the earliest in the areas to be included and employees' career interests protected.

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