Absence of basic infrastructure development in the Alappuzha Municipal region and promises to address this issue figured in the election agenda of all four candidates for the November 7 by-poll during a Meet-The-Candidates programme here on Monday.

Attending the programme organized by Alappuzha Press Club, A.A. Shukoor of the United Democratic Front (UDF), G.Krishnaprasad of the Left Democratic Front (LDF), K. Babu of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and K.A. Hassan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), blamed previous representatives of the region in the State Assembly for not addressing the issue.

Non-availability of drinking water, tardy progress in setting up a solid waste treatment plant and failure to design projects that would do away with the regular traffic blocks were the main issues that have been plaguing the constituency, which as per the previous constituency map, begins and ends with the Alappuzha Municipality’s 50 wards, all four candidates said.

Mr. Shukoor, who functioned as Municipal Chairman earlier and has been a member of the Municipal Council for the last 22 years, said comprehensive development of Alappuzha as a tourism destination, along with provision of essential facilities, would top his list of priorities while approaching the public for votes. Only K.C. Venugopal, who initiated the concept of Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plants for supply of treated drinking water, and pioneered beautification of the canals here, had been able to make some change in the situation here, Mr. Shukoor said.

Mr. Krishnaprasad said the Congress-led Central Government’s anti-people policies, including the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement’s impact on the farmers and fishing community here would figure among his discussion points during the campaign. Despite Alappuzha having the maximum population density, basic issues like provision of drinking water and proper garbage disposal facilities were still on paper. Time-bound implementation of properly planned projects would be among his priorities.

The PDP’s K.A. Hassan, who denied any rift between his party and the LDF, said he would strive to fight for the requirements of the public. The PDP was in the fray with an eye on the forthcoming local governing body polls as well, he said.

The BJP’s K. Babu, who said that both LDF and UDF legislators failed to make any impact in their respective tenures, alleged that the fronts had actually stalled any development that Alappuzha deserved.

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