The Delimitation Commission has urged the State government to expedite the notification fixing the ward strength of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation based on the impending merger of five suburban panchayats with the capital city.

Delimitation Commission chairman P. Kamalkutty told The Hindu that the commission had in a letter requested the State government to fix the new ward strength of the Corporation within a week to start data collection and processing for the delimitation process.

‘‘The delimitation process of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation has been delayed due to the merger of these panchayats. Once the ward strength is fixed by the government, the process can be completed in around two weeks. The ward strength of Kozhikode Corporation is also to be fixed,'' Mr. Kamalkutty said.

Five suburban panchayats, Vizhinjam, Kudappanakunnu, Vattiyoorkavu, Sreekariyam and Kazhakoottam, will be merged with the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation after the delimitation. The fixing of ward strength will be based on population and geographic boundaries among other factors. As per existing norms, a local body cannot have more than 100 wards.

‘‘Depending on the ward strength fixed by the government, there could be marginal variations in the boundaries of the existing wards also,'' a spokesperson of the Commission said.

He said that once the delimitation process was completed, the draft report would be published and the public would be given a chance to make suggestions or complaints. This would be followed by personal hearings to be conducted by the Commission. The final report is expected to be furnished within two months, ahead of the local body elections slated to be held by the middle of the year.

The spokesperson said the delimitation process of other local bodies in the district had been completed.

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor V. Jayaprakash said that until the merger, budget proposals and projects of the Corporation and the five panchayats for the year 2010-11 would be implemented as usual. ‘‘Only after the local body elections and constitution of a new council will there be any reframing or integration of budget proposals,'' he said.

He said the Corporation had also requested the government to upgrade its staff strength to meet the demands raised by the merger of the panchayats as the city Corporation was already facing severe staff shortage. However, the option for panchayat employees to choose between panchayat or Corporation service may be kept open.