2012 did not make much of a difference for the residents as the city did not see any major improvement in civic amenities or infrastructure

At a face-to-face meet with members of a consumer organisation last month, Corporation Commissioner V.P.Thandapani dwelt at length on the expectations of the residents for a world-class city and their angst over the shortcomings of the civic infrastructure. He went on to explain the limitations of the civic body, its attempts to overcome the problems and his own attempts to study the requirements of the city to plan for improvement in certain civic services.

The best-laid plans of the corporation notwithstanding, 2012 did not make much of a difference for the residents as the city did not see any major improvement in civic amenities or infrastructure.

Given the severe resource crunch that leaves it perennially looking up to the government or financial agencies for capital investments, the corporation has not been able to push through many of its development projects during the past year too.

Bereft of any long term plans to raise its revenue and about 69 per cent of its revenue expenditure going towards salaries and pension, the civic body has not been able to execute even many of its Budgetary works for 2012-13. The Budget by itself betrayed lack of ideas and was replete with reiteration of commitments to implement several pending projects.

Some of new announcements such as a proposal to establish a bus stand at Srirangam remain on paper with the civic body yet to finalise even the site for the facility. Plans on establishing two-wheeler parking lots at Chathram Bus Stand and Gandhi Market, a slaughter house for goats and a modern fish market and building foot overbridges at a couple of places are among the projects that have failed to take off from the drawing board stage.

The Rs.221.42-crore drinking water supply augmentation scheme, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, expected to be commissioned this year, still meanders to overshoot deadlines. An ambitious city beautification initiative appears to be enmeshed in procedural knots.

The corporation still continues to dither on the much-debated proposals such as establishing an integrated bus stand, shifting of the wholesale section of the Gandhi Market to the outskirts of the city and improvement in the solid waste handling and management, especially at its Ariyamangalam garbage dump.

In fact, civic officials and even the corporation council has been studiously skirting the issues of integrated bus stand and shifting of the Gandhi Market this year.

For these and other projects, the corporation has been awaiting capital infusion from the government. The civic body is pinning its hopes now on getting the city included under the Jawaharlal National Urban Renewal Mission and is engaged in drawing up a city development plan through a consultant.

But the corporation has not been able to come up with any long term vision to enhance its revenue.

Although an attempt was made to revive the project to construct a commercial complex at Yanaikulam, by going in for an out-of-court settlement with a litigant, there has not been much forward movement on the issue off late.

“The corporation has to explore ways to improve its revenue by putting its assets and properties in the city to better use,” feels N.Ramakrishnan, a civic activist.

With the city boundaries being expanded and five new wards added to the corporation consequent to delimitation, civic planners would have to come up with a focused approach for the overall improvement to the civic infrastructure to meet the city’s growing needs.