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Rs.459.51 crore for JNNURM projects

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Special Correspondent

Corporation budget earmarks ADB aid of Rs.121.64 crore

Thiruvananthapuram: The City Corporation's annual budget presented in the Council on Wednesday proposes an outlay of Rs.459.51 crore for projects to be taken up under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

These include Rs.107.7 crore for sewerage, Rs.52.3 crore for water supply, Rs.125 crore for roads and traffic, and Rs.8 crore for solid waste management. An amount of Rs.70 crore will be spent on drainage, Rs.5 crore on modernisation of markets and Rs.36 crore on tourism development.

Of the total Asian Development Bank (ADB) assistance of Rs.121.64 crore, the largest outlay of Rs.39.74 crore has been earmarked for a sewerage treatment plant.

A sum of Rs.27.54 crore has been allocated for roads and traffic, and Rs.26.91 crore for rehabilitation and extension of the sewerage network.

In his introductory remarks, Mayor C. Jayan Babu said the development needs of the city had forced the corporation to seek external funding. He said the budget reflected the need to protect the cultural and heritage values of the city even as it assumed the profile of a developed metro.

`Improving service'

Addressing the council, Deputy Mayor V. Jayaprakash said the budget proposals were aimed at improving the quality of municipal services, maximising revenue and ensuring a transparent accounting system.

He said a core committee would be set up to provide technical support for Plan projects. Working groups would be reconstituted, he added.

United Democratic Front (UDF) council party leader Johnson Joseph and Indian Union Muslim League leader Beemapally Rashid alleged that Opposition-held wards had been ignored in the budget. They said the budget neglected the development needs of the coastal wards. "There are no schemes for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes," they added.

New tax likely

Later, talking to reporters, the Mayor said an additional tax may be levied from the public from next year for the maintenance of water supply pipes to be laid by the Kerala Water Authority under the JNNURM.

Mr. Babu announced that Green Clubs would be set up to promote tree planting in public land. Two expert committees would be set up to document the history of the city and to submit proposals for its beautification.

The budget has earmarked Rs.10 crore for the extension of the Capital City Clean City project to all the 86 wards and Rs.20 crore for the EMS housing scheme for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. A sum of Rs.50 lakh is to be spent on construction of public comfort stations.

Self-help groups or Kudumbasree units will be encouraged to take up fish farming in public ponds, under a scheme estimated to cost Rs.1 crore.

Stadia

The budget has allocated Rs.5 crore for renovation of stadia at Poojappura, Kulathur, Priyadarsini Nagar, Sathyan Nagar and Mudavanmugal. A Civic Centre and Mayor's Bhavan will be constructed at Jagathy at a cost of Rs.1.5 crore.

An amount of Rs.50 lakh will be spent on the construction of a private bus stand near the Attakulangara- Killipalam bypass road. Rs.40 lakh has been set apart for an emergency road repair service.

The budget announced a rabbit-rearing scheme for women's self-help groups, with a buy back arrangement.

The corporation's slaughter house at Kunnukuzhy will be modernised at a cost of Rs.50 lakh. An amount of Rs.25 lakh will be spent on constructing decorative arches at all the entry points to the city.

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