Chengannur, often described the nerve-centre of Central Travancore, on Sunday made a push for more attention from the Government towards its long-ignored developmental needs.
‘Chengannur Peruma’, a development seminar organized by Chengannur legislator P.C. Vishnunath saw each and every panchayat in the constituency coming forward with a list of what they wanted in specific areas ranging from agriculture, health, public works, sports and youth welfare and so on.
Fittingly, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, inaugurating the seminar, announced that the seminar, which in itself was a new trend with politicians, public representatives, social workers and officials setting aside all differences and discussing development, was an eye-opener and that the requirements of Chengannur sould be given due attention.
The long-awaited Chengannur municipal stadium, Mr. Chandy said, had already been given in-principle approval by Sports Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar and would be included in the next State budget. The Chengannur taluk hospital too was a frequently raised issue in infrastructure development-related meetings and the Health Department would be asked to focus on the hospital, he said.
The narrow Kallissery-Erappuzha Bridge was another long-standing dilemma, with Mr. Chandy saying that he himself was several times a victim of the winding traffic jams caused by the bridge’s shortcomings. It was actually included under the second phase of the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP), but the KSTP itself was a slow mover. The recent interest shown by the World Bank in KSTP-II had rekindled hopes for the project, but in case there was further delay, the bridge would be taken up as a special project with PWD funds, the Chief Minister announced.
Earlier, the seminar, which saw former representatives of Chengannur in the legislator S. Ramachandran Pillai and Shobana George apart from former MP Thomas Kuthiravattam chipping in with their suggestions, also had officials from various departments presenting project proposals for a multi-pronged approach to the region’s development.
These included proposals to increase agriculture acreage, improve irrigation facilities, strengthening primary healthcare systems, enhancing facilities at Government schools, developing more roads and solving traffic bottlenecks, protection of water-bodies and rivers including the Pampa and so on.
Mr. Vishnunath said all the projects would be incorporated as one special project for Chengannur and submitted to the Government.
K.S. Vasudeva Sharma, Political Secretary to Mr. Chandy, District Collector Sourabh Jain, Chengannur Municipal chairperson Suja John and others were also present.