Services likely to be operated in Kozhikode

Minister for Urban Affairs Manjalamkuzhi Ali said here on Saturday that the State government will take an official decision regarding the operation of the newly sanctioned 400 buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in two weeks.

The Minister, while inaugurating the second-phase work on a storm-water drainage development project of Rs.14 crore in the city, hinted that the buses would be operated in Kozhikode, Kannur, and Thrissur districts once the formalities were completed. As the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) would not be allowed to operate the services, special consortia would be formed under the headship of the local administrative bodies concerned for the purpose, he added.

“Now, the JNNURM busses are operating services in Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts. With the fresh allotment, the services will be available for people in three more districts,” said Mr. Ali. A final decision on the formation of a Special Purpose Vehicle to take care of the buses and the services would also be taken in the forthcoming meeting, he said.

Septage treatment plant

Expressing disappointment over the continuing protest of people against the proposed septage treatment plant to be built under the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP) in Kozhikode, the Minister said the project was a must for the city to make sure the purity of all drinking water sources. “Water contamination is high with the presence of coliform bacteria in urban areas and it could be addressed only through a proper septage treatment mechanism,” he said.

According to the Minister, there was no mass opposition to the project as only a few were found making the entire mess. “Thrice we had held discussions with the people’s representatives and the action committees to clarify the details, but there was no positive feedback,” he said.

‘At snail’s pace’

Mr. Ali, while making an indirect criticism against the local bodies over the underutilisation of development funds, said only Rs.65 crore was spent by the Kozhikode Corporation for the completion of 10 selected KSUDP works within the last seven years. “The government had sanctioned Rs.175 crore. Works amounting to Rs.78 crore are still lagging behind for unknown reasons,” he said.

According to the Minister, the State was having abundant Central funds for meeting development needs. “But, we are not utilising it in a proper way and many of our works are continuing at a slow pace without meeting the deadlines,” he said.

The Minister said the utilisation of funds sanctioned by the Asian Development Bank and the JNNURM too had similar plight in the State. “A major portion of these aids are still remaining unutilised,” he said.

Mayor A.K. Premajam presided. Deputy mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef and officials representing the KSUDP were present.

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