Corporation blames delay in sanction from State-level group

The city Corporation is all set to present its next budget for the fiscal 2012-13, but a slew of flagship projects pompously declared in the last budget are yet to take off.

Apart from road works, almost all other construction projects announced in the last budget were limited to plans and paperwork. Kazhakuttam market and shopping complex, Shanthikawadam 2 electric cemetery at Kazhakuttam, multi-storeyed parking lots in city centres, flyovers and subways, an IAS coaching centre at Mannamoola and short-stay home at Ulloor were some of the projects that never took off.

Official version

According to Deputy Mayor G. Happykumar, the Corporation could not take up any construction projects because of the low schedule rates quoted in the work.

“Unlike the Public Works Department or TRIDA the Corporation does not have the power to increase the schedule rates. Since there was considerable delay in getting sanction for these projects from State Level Technical Group (SLTG) no contractor was ready to take up these works in the old estimate rate,” he said.

“Only if we carry over these projects with larger allocation will contractors do the work,” Mr. Happykumar said. ‘Sagaram Sakshi,' a Rs.25-lakh beach beautification project at Shanghumugham and setting up of Corporation regional office at Kazhakuttam and Nemom too have remained on paper.

“We could not go ahead with the regional office proposal primarily because of staff shortage. We need officials at the level of deputy secretary to head these offices. We have requested the government to sanction these posts,” Mr. Happykumar said.

Many schemes in health, agriculture, education and social welfare sectors are also yet to be implemented. Even the schemes which have been initiated may not be over before the end of the fiscal.

More time sought

A fortnight ago the Corporation council had passed an adjournment motion, moved by Mayor K. Chandrika, requesting the government to grant three more months to implement the schemes included in last year's plan.

“The main reason why we could not start projects on time was because of the delay in getting sanction from SLTG. It was only in November, 2011, that the first phase of projects was sanctioned. Hence we requested the State government for more time,” said Works Standing Committee Chairperson V.S. Padmakumar.

BJP's argument

Meanwhile, council BJP leader and Palkulangara councillor P. Ashok Kumar said that the Corporation itself had delayed in submitting the budget proposals to SLTG.

“Usually the proposals have to be submitted for verification by April. But it was only by August last year that the Corporation submitted the projects. So the Corporation itself caused a delay of four months.”

He added that out of the Rs.103 crore sanctioned to the Corporation under Plan Fund in 2011-12, around Rs.40 crore was yet to be spent.