Staff Reporter

State yet to go full throttle in getting assistance, says Kochi Deputy Mayor

KOCHI: The State Government will convene a meeting of the Mayors of Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram on June 19 to discuss the steps to be taken for obtaining support from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Hopes of infrastructure development in the two cities are pinned on the financial assistance to be received from the mission.

Though all other States have made tremendous progress in receiving the funds, Kerala is yet to go full throttle in this regard, said Deputy Mayor of Kochi C.K. Manisankar.

Deputy Mayors and town planning committee chairmen of the two corporations will also attend the June 19 meeting, convened by Minister for Local Self-Governments Paloli Mohammed Kutty.

The Kochi Corporation had earlier communicated its anguish over the delay in formation of a State-level steering committee and appointment of a nodal agency for the mission, as directed earlier.

The Chief Minister is the chairman of the steering committee. However, the committee has not met, causing concern among civic administrators.

Messages highlighting the need for making the funds available for the cities from the mission were earlier faxed to the Chief Minister and the senior Government officials concerned, Mr. Manisankar said.

The State Government, on its part, would have to convene a meeting of agencies, such as the Kerala State Electricity Board and the Kerala Water Authority, implementing various projects in the two cities.

An integration of the projects implemented by these agencies and their future programmes in the mission was required, Mr. Manisankar said.

The cities selected for receiving assistance from the mission will have to prepare development plans and the development projects implemented by various agencies will have to be integrated into the plan.

While Chief Secretaries and Ministers are pursuing the case of the other cities selected for the mission, no such initiative has happened in the case of the cities from Kerala, it has been pointed out.

Another meeting

A meeting of all the five Mayors of the State will follow the meeting of the two Mayors with the Minister.

The Mayors will raise the issue of alleged usurping of powers of the civic body by the Government and the unilateral changes brought in regarding Government assistance to the corporations.

The future of the proposed Asian Development Bank assistance to the corporations is also expected to surface at the meeting.