Barcelona clears pact with capital city

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FORGING LINKS: Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor with Barcelona Mayor Jordi Hereu during a visit to Spain recently.
FORGING LINKS: Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor with Barcelona Mayor Jordi Hereu during a visit to Spain recently.

Special Correspondent

Thiruvananthapuram: The Spanish city of Barcelona has approved a draft proposal for a twinning agreement with Thiruvananthapuram, clearing the decks for formalisation of the pact later this year.

Minister of State for External Affairs and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor announced this after discussions with Barcelona Mayor Jordi Hereu during his official visit to Spain last week.

The Twin City pact has to be signed by the mayors of the two cities after the Union government clears the proposal. The office of Mayor C. Jayan Babu said it had received the draft proposal.

Mr. Tharoor said a delegation from Barcelona would reach the capital city by the end of the month for the second round of discussions on the pact. This would be followed by a visit from the Director of International Cooperation, Barcelona. A delegation from the city is also expected to visit Barcelona before the formal signing of the agreement, the MP’s office said.

The pact will pave the way for cooperation in several areas, including culture, sports and development of infrastructure. It will open up the possibility of research assistance for institutions such as the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC). The city can also make use of Barcelona’s assistance in solid waste management.

In a press note issued here on Monday, Mr. Tharoor said the association between the two cities would be mutually beneficial. He said the agreement would blossom into a relationship benefiting the common man.

The pact will also involve standalone agreements for cooperation between institutions in the city and Barcelona.

If all goes well, the agreement will be signed in two months’ time, a spokesperson for Mr.Tharoor said.

During the first round of discussions between the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation and the Barcelona City Council held here last October, the two sides discussed possible cooperation in several areas, including information technology, cancer research, biotechnology, sports, culture, urban renewal and waste management.

The Spanish delegation visited the Technopark campus at Kazhakuttam, Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Science and Technology, the RCC and the site for the proposed international container transhipment terminal at Vizhinjam.

The delegation also visited a football club in the coastal belt of the city.

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