COIMBATORE: This is an effort to draw councillors out of their wards and to make them look at the city 10 years to 20 years into the future. The Coimbatore Corporation feels its ongoing moves for big infrastructure schemes are cramped by a mindset problem; that councillors remain hesitant to look beyond their wards or their current tenure.
So, to sensitise the elected representatives to the long-term needs of the city, the Corporation has embarked upon periodical orientation programmes on schemes such as monorail, expressways and flyovers. The aim is to enable councillors look at `our city' in addition to `my ward'.
One such programme recently helped in exposing the mindset problem when some councillors asked why skybus and bus rapid transit system should be discussed now when these would take at least another five years to be implemented.
When the councillors demanded a solution to the traffic congestion now, the consultants for the schemes explained that the present problem itself was because of the lack of far-sightedness years ago. Therefore, it was vital to examine options immediately for a liveable city even in 2020.
One of the councillors was very curious to know of the schemes but was upset that the presentation was in English and not Tamil.
Corporation Commissioner P. Muthuveeran says that periodical sensitisation to the long-term needs of the city is important as the Council has to approve the schemes. Orientation programmes are being conducted by the Tamil Nadu Institute of Urban Studies. Citizens' groups such as the Residents' Awareness Association of Coimbatore have called upon councillors to adopt a twin-approach to city development: raise smaller issues concerning their wards and also work for good infrastructure for the entire city.
Mayor R. Venkatachalam is also of the view that small issues in the wards, such as blocks in the drainage and erratic water supply, can be solved without their being raised in the Council. That time can be devoted to major problems of the entire city.
Another area the Corporation looks at is bringing voluntary organisations into infrastructure improvement. But it faces the task of convincing the elected representatives on the role of private parties in feasibility studies or implementation of schemes.