Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: The State Government has initiated the groundwork on a set of priority projects aimed at the development of the capital city, Minister for Law M. Vijayakumar said here on Friday. Replying to a reception accorded to him by the Capital City Development Forum, he said the proposals to construct an international container terminal at Vizhinjam, establish a High Court Bench, develop the international airport, promote the information technology and biotechnology sectors and elevate the Government medical college to the status of a national-level institute would be taken up in earnest.

Forum secretary K.T. Roy presented Mr. Vijayakumar an action plan for the development of the capital region. The forum has suggested the creation of a separate Ministerial portfolio for capital city development. It demanded that the Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority be renamed as Capital City Development Authority and equipped with more powers.

The forum called on the Government for steps to secure political and security clearance from the Centre for the Vizhinjam container terminal project. It also demanded the transfer of six hectares of land to Air-India for a maintenance hangar and fast-track acquisition of 48 hectares for the development of the airport.

The action plan identified the establishment of a High Court Bench and a Central Bureau of Investigation court in Thiruvananthapuram as a pressing demand. Special economic zones for the IT industry, establishment of a biotechnology park and development of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology are some of the other projects highlighted in the paper.

In the education sector, the forum highlights the potential to transform the capital into a knowledge city by establishing higher education centres, such an Indian Institute of Technology, a Central Board of Secondary Education regional centre, a technical university and a maritime academy at Valiathura. It focusses attention on the need to develop a tourist circuit comprising Poovar, Kovalam, Shanghumughom, Veli, Akkulam, Kadhinamkulam, Varkala, Kappil, Ponmudi, Peppara, Neyyar and Aruvikkara. It calls for the development of religious institutions and places of worship, such as Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Beemapally, Vettukad church, Varkala ashram, Aruvipuram and Kurisumala.

The action plan demands the revival of the Theerapatham project and initiatives to develop the bus stations at Eenchakkal and Thampanoor. It also urges the Government to consider a Metro Rail project for the city.

Another major proposal is to revive the Balaramapuram spinning mill.