Staff Reporter

Nothing new in terms laid down by Corporation, says official

Says these issues were discussed earlierMost of the conditions are of administrative natureConditions need not be taken up with the ADB

KOCHI: The 12-point-conditions laid down by the Kochi Corporation for making use of the Asian Development Bank aid are of "no importance" and are mere suggestions, which can be sorted out between the State Government and the Corporation, according to P. Kamalkutty, Secretary, Local Self Government Department.

"There is nothing new in the conditions laid down by the Corporation. These issues were discussed earlier," exposing the conditions set by the Kochi Corporation for making use of the assistance, Mr. Kamalkutty said.

After a series of deliberations, the Corporation had forwarded the conditions to the department. The Deputy Mayor had also stated that the civic body would not accept the loan if the conditions were not accepted.

"Most of the conditions laid down by the Corporation are of administrative nature, which need to be sorted out while preparing the project design. These conditions need not be taken up with the ADB, as they can be settled between the Corporation and the State Government," he said.

Reacting to the demand for constructing a flyover connecting Panampilly Nagar and Pallimukku, Mr. Kamalkutty said that it was rejected earlier as it was found unviable.

Such projects could be taken up later with the support of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission project, he said.

In the case of the new water supply project, Mr. Kamalkutty said that the previous council had demanded that Kochi required streamlining of the water supply project managed by the Kerala Water Authority and not new projects. He expressed doubts about the possibility of changing the priority of projects in the water supply sector at this stage.

The previous council had fixed the priority of projects and it should be explored whether any changes could be made in that aspect, referring to the Corporation's proposal that the priority in the transport sector should be for decongesting city roads and reducing traffic snarls.

The consultants appointed by the bank and the Corporation officials had held discussions regarding the prioritisation of projects.

"If there is scope for changing the priority of projects, it can be done," he said.

Mr. Kamalkutty dismissed the Corporation's demand for reduction of interest on construction as baseless as he felt that there existed no such taxes. "There is nothing called interest on construction. However, there will be taxes slapped by the State and Central Governments," he said.

The supervision and implementation of projects will be the responsibility of the Kochi Corporation Council and competent officials for the projects like sanitation will be automatically deployed at the Corporation office at the appropriate stage, he said.

The ADB loan conditions fixed for West Bengal, which is ruled by the CPI(M), is same as that of Kerala and nothing happened there after accepting the loan. Karnataka received the second round of financial assistance from the bank. Kerala is not the first State to receive aid from the ADB, dismissing apprehensions raised by various quarters against accepting the loan, Mr. Kamalkutty said.