Staff Reporter

Chief Town Planner says only municipality can formulate plan

Municipality identifies projects to be submitted to CentreThe projects are estimated to cost about Rs.100 croresThey include water supply, town beautification schemesGuruvayur the only Kerala town included in UIISMST

GURUVAYUR: The proposal of the Kerala Government and the Guruvayur Devaswom to develop a master plan for Guruvayur has run into rough weather, with the Chief Town Planner (CTP) S. Rajaram stating that only a master plan developed by the municipality will have legal validity.

Mr. Rajaram disclosed this at a meeting convened by the municipality in Guruvayur on Friday to discuss the details of the project to be submitted for obtaining Central assistance under the Urban Infrastructure for Integrated Development of Small and Medium Scale Towns (UIISMST). The meeting identified a broad set of projects to be submitted to the Centre for the development of Guruvayur, the only town selected from Kerala to be included under the UIISMST. The projects, estimated to cost about Rs.100 crores, include schemes for water supply, waste management, drainage, and town beautification.

Mr. Rajaram made it clear that as per the Municipalities Act, each municipality would have to develop a master plan for the development of the areas covered under it planning for the next 20 years. These schemes would be submitted to the State Town Planning Authority (TPA) for scrutiny. However, the Government and the Devaswom had already invited global tenders for developing a master plan for Guruvayur. The Devaswom had to pay Rs.11 lakhs for advertisements in this regard. The Devaswom had also deferred the long-pending land acquisition around the temple, saying that the land would be acquired after the master plan was finalised.

Responding to questions, Mr. Rajaram said: "We (the TPA) had almost completed the preparation of the master plan for Guruvayur. Perhaps, the Chief Minister was not aware of this. The TPA has already communicated its position to the Government."

The Guruvayur Devaswom authorities had reportedly walked out of a meeting to discuss the UIISMST when they were told that the plan formulated by them would not have legal backing. Mr. Rajaram, however, said the confusion seems to have been cleared at the State level. "The Chief Minister has asked us to prepare the details of the project quickly."