Promises suburbs better infrastructure on merger
COIMBATORE: Good road links, flyovers and drinking water supply are some of the benefits the Coimbatore Corporation is promising the suburbs if they merge with the city. With a major round of infrastructure development under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) on the anvil, the Corporation is offering municipalities and town panchayats in the periphery a part of the pie.
“Kurichi, Kuniamuthur and Kavundampalayam municipalities and the Irugur Town Panchayat are keen to become a part of the city,” says Mayor R. Venkatachalam. They expressed their intention to merge with the Corporation at a meeting. But some others are hesitant, he says.
Mr. Venkatachalam feels that an unwillingness to give up their identity and positions of power seems to be holding back some of the local bodies. The three municipalities and 20 town panchayats in the periphery have been included in the JNNURM’s urban agglomeration component to provide basic amenities such as roads and drainages. But development beyond the Mission period of 2005-2012 will hinge on the local bodies’ ability to generate funds.
The Mayor says a total of 30 local bodies are being offered the choice of merger. Views are being sought from them, as directed by the Government. The last round was in 1981, when some municipalities and panchayats merged with Coimbatore Municipality and it was upgraded into a city corporation.
“Municipalities and town panchayats cannot get as much funds as the Corporation can. Central and State Government allocation is more for corporations. Therefore, the suburbs can develop faster if they merge with the Corporation,” he says.
The Mayor cites the case of Velacherry in Chennai. Being a part of the city now, it has got even a rail link under the Mass Rapid Transit System. Even in Coimbatore, erstwhile town panchayats are benefiting from substantial funds allocation by the Corporation for development works.