K.V. Prasad

Prospect of grant renews hopes of infrastructure

UGD, Pilloor Phase II drinking water scheme includedRs. 75 lakhs allocated for wind energy projectResurrection of old plans, charges Opposition

COIMBATORE: In the final budget of the present Council, the Coimbatore Corporation made a vision statement for the city by listing out schemes that would put it on the path of high - speed development over the next seven years.

Fresh thrust

Though most of the schemes were at least five years old, they were given a fresh thrust under the Central Government's Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. While problems in finding funds had held up most schemes, the prospect of 50 per cent grant from the Centre and 20 per cent from the State Government had renewed hopes of infrastructure development. The Corporation needed loans to mobilise 30 per cent of the project cost.

For the Mayor, T. Malaravan, the vision statement held plenty of political stakes in an election year, as it included the pending underground drainage scheme, the Pilloor Phase II drinking water scheme, flyovers, ring roads and subways.

Meeting demand

The proposal aimed at meeting a fast increasing population's demand for better infrastructure in a city identified for the State's next IT hub. The budget also allocated Rs. 75 lakhs for the Corporation's project to produce wind energy and cut on electricity cost. The budget did not have new taxes, the Mayor pointed out to presspersons after it was presented.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led Opposition charged the Corporation with resurrecting old schemes, bringing them under the mission and then making a new vision statement out of them in the budget.

`Significant progress'

Countering this charge, the Mayor said the civic body would have to look ahead. Signs of the schemes taking off soon with Central grant were a significant progress. Besides, various schemes were drawn up at different times. Bringing them all under one scheme for a unified thrust and balanced development qualified for a place in the budget as a vision statement.

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