The quaint little town of Alappuzha is gearing up to celebrate an occasion that few other towns in the state can perhaps stake a claim to. Next year, this coastal town, with its canals, parallel roads and umpteen bridges that earned it the sobriquet ‘Venice of the East', will turn 250.

Speaking after a meeting of public representatives including G. Sudhakaran, MLA, convened by the Alappuzha Municipality here on Tuesday to discuss steps to tackle the problems caused by the monsoon in the municipal area, T. M. Thomas Isaac, MLA, said various task forces had been constituted to make reports based on suggestions from the public, trade and business representatives, political parties and residents associations on how the various challenges faced by the town on issues including health, drinking water, sanitation and traffic, could be tackled.

These reports, aimed at a comprehensive makeover for Alappuzha town over the next one year as part of the 250th anniversary celebrations, would be discussed threadbare during a one-day workshop in the first week of August. The reports would be integrated and a project would be finalised by the municipality before September.

The objective, Dr. Isaac said, was a “clean Alappuzha” by 2012. This would revolve around a six-point action plan, including implementation of the project to clean the town's canals; strengthening the solid waste disposal system here with the introduction of a method for waste segregation at the source itself; implementation of the special health package mooted by Health Minister Adoor Prakash and various public representatives; a total revamp of the sewage and drainage system here with help from the IIT, Kharagpur; steps for conservation of the Vembanad lake ecosystem; and completion of the Alappuzha drinking water project.

Stating that Alappuzha would be made a model town on the lines of Surat, Dr. Isaac said the tourism master plan, the ‘City of Excellence' project and renovation of the town's junctions and bridges too would be part of the efforts.

Founded by the then Diwan Raja Kesavadas in 1762, Alappuzha, with its now-defunct port, was known as the commercial capital of the erstwhile State of Travancore. More than two centuries later, the town is in utter chaos, with progress coming to a standstill and health issues plaguing the people here, owing to the lack of planned development.

The aim was to change that situation, and help the town regain its lost glory, Dr. Isaac said.