CM to unveil plans for the integrated bus stand soon: Mayor

The corporation hopes to bring the entire city under the Combined Drinking Water Supply Scheme by the end of May. By then, the civic body will be in a position to pump 60 million litres of water daily to all the 50 overhead tanks, including 37 newly-constructed ones. Trial testing was in progress for pumping water along the newly-laid massive pipelines to 30 overhead tanks, and the rest of the tanks were in stages of completion.

By this month-end, testing will be completed for all the new overhead tanks, Corporation Commissioner V.P. Dhandapani, said at a meeting of the council convened for a follow-up discussion on the budget on Thursday. New drinking water pipelines have been laid to a length of 85 km, he informed.

The project has so far been carried out with the Japanese loan of Rs.111 crore, and government subsidy of Rs.66 crore.

The corporation has to mobilise Rs. 43 crore for meeting the rest of the expenditure, Mr. Dhandapani said, seeking to drive home the point that reform agenda specified for local bodies necessitates the corporation to meet 20 per cent of the expenditure for large projects.

Going by the City Development Plan drawn up for deriving the utility of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the corporation will have to mobilise Rs.1,320 crore as its 20 per cent share, he said, adding that ideally, the corporation has to generate 75 per cent of its budget requirements as against 50 per cent at present.

As revenue generation has remained stagnant for 15 years, the corporation will contemplate earning revenue under the public-private partnership mode for future projects by way of identifying beneficiaries through tender process and collecting advance from them, thereby demonstrating viability to funding agencies, he said.

Earlier, former deputy mayor M.Anbalagan and several other DMK councillors criticised the budget and termed it a failure for burdening the people and the rising deficit. Mr. Anbalagan was critical of privatisation of garbage collection and disposal and maintenance of streetlights, reasoning out that councillors will not be in a position to monitor their performance. The budget was a disappointment also on the fronts of drinking water and sanitation, he said.

Most of the DMK members sought to know if the corporation was serious about the integrated bus stand project. Members also complained that various parks were in pathetic condition and required immediate attention.

Chairman of Ariyamangalam zone J. Srinivasan countered the charges saying that the corporation was performing well with substantial financial support from the State government. Proposals for water theme park at Panjapur and a science park have evoked widespread appreciation from the public. Tax collection to the extent of 96 per cent in Srirangam zone was an achievement, he said.

Mayor A. Jaya announced that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa will soon commission the Combined Drinking Water Supply Scheme, and unveil plans for the integrated bus stand for the city and a bus stand for Srirangam, besides other projects.