Staff Reporter

Alappuzha has a bitter history with projects

Alappuzha had figured under eight subjects

No progress on drinking water project

ALAPPUZHA: Even as the date for the forthcoming fiscal year’s State budget is nearing, Alappuzha is waiting for realisation of various promises doled out to the district in last year’s budget.

From at least eight subjects where Alappuzha figured in the budget speech last year, very few have seen progress. The only proposal that saw any major progress was shifting of the Alappuzha Medical College to Vandanam and improvement in facilities at the Alappuzha General Hospital.

The others, including development of the Virology Institute here; purchase of land for the Homoeopathic Cooperative Pharmacy Ltd (Homco); a Rs.156-crore drinking water project for Alappuzha municipality and eight surrounding panchayats; a Rs.5.5-crore ecotourism project at Pathiramanal Island; development of the pier here as part of the Alappuzha Heritage Project; and development of the Alappuzha Port are yet to record any significant progress.

The Virology Institute proposal, to cost over Rs.20 crore, has seen the initial steps of a field station of the National Institute of Virology coming up at Vandanam. But the station is yet to start full-fledged operations.

Tenders for the Rs.156-crore drinking water project are yet to be invited. For the optimistic angle, the project, which envisages transfer of water from Kadapra in Pathanamthitta to Alappuzha municipality and eight panchayats, saw a memorandum of understanding being signed between the Municipality and the Kerala Water Authority.

The Union Urban Development Ministry had sanctioned Rs.91.94 crore under its Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for small and medium towns while the State government had sanctioned Rs.10 crore and the municipality, out of its share of Rs.9 crore, set aside Rs.1.5 crore. A meeting on inviting tenders will take place in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, Municipal Chairman P.P. Chittaranjan said.

The Pathiramanal Biodiversity Conservation and Responsible Eco-tourism Development Project was to be inaugurated on August 14 last year. The Centre agreed for a grant of Rs. 5 crore while the State had set aside Rs.50 lakh for the project. But the quaint little island still awaits the project that is expected to protect its ecologically fragile environs. The renovation of the pier and development of the port too are still to move beyond paperwork. Homco, according to managing director G. Prasannachandran, is yet to get a suitable plot of land for expansion.