Special Correspondent

UDF flays revised property tax system

Sewage treatment plant to be ready by December 2009

Rs.1 core for Putherikandam maidan renovation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The annual budget of the city Corporation presented in the Council on Wednesday proposes two mini garbage treatment plants to be located in the outlying areas. An amount of Rs.50 lakh has been earmarked for the construction of the plants.

Deputy Mayor V. Jayaprakash said the Corporation was yet to decide on the processing technology for the two plants. “We are looking at various options, including incineration,” he told press persons.

The construction of a modern sewage treatment plant will be launched this year. The Rs.40-crore project is expected to be commissioned by December 2009, Mr. Jayaprakash said.

The budget has earmarked Rs.1 crore for the renovation of the Putherikandam Maidan at East Fort. A sum of Rs.25 lakh has been set apart for vector control and pre-monsoon sanitation activities.

The Corporation headquarters at Palayam is to be networked to six circle offices in a move aimed at decentralising services.

Education

A Rs.80-lakh scheme will be launched to encourage primary education in government and aided schools. All children admitted to Class I will be provided with a free bag and umbrella.

The South Palace at Shanghumukham will be restored and converted into a heritage museum. The Attukal township project gets an allocation of Rs.25 lakh.

UDF leaders Johnson Joseph, Beemapally Rashid and Veli Varghese said the budget failed to address the pressing needs of the city. Terming the budget as a package of empty promises, they said most of the projects announced last year had not been implemented. They said the new property taxation system would amount to a three-fold increase in some wards.

Addressing press persons, Mr. Jayaprakash said the proposed taxation system would be based on floor area and selected indices. “While citizens in the wards annexed to the city from the suburban panchayats may have to cough up more, those in the old city wards will benefit from reduced tax.”

The budget has provided an outlay of Rs.1.65 crore for modernising the markets in the city. The Capital City Clean City programme will be extended to all the wards. The network of public comfort stations in the city will be expanded and three mobile units pressed into service this year.

An amount of Rs.5 crore has been earmarked for construction of an effluent treatment plant and Rs.10 lakh to create a green belt along the perimeter. An outlay of Rs.37 crore has been provided for water supply projects.

A Rs.25-lakh scheme has been mooted for rehabilitation of hawkers. The Corporation’s ambulance service will be improved with the acquisition of two new ambulances and a mobile mortuary.

The budget proposes the establishment of a Women’s Resource Centre at a cost of Rs.25 lakh.

A tree plantation scheme is to be taken up under the Capital City Green City project.

Projects bogged down

Mayor C. Jayan Babu said several projects in the last year’s budget could not take off because contractors were reluctant to take up the work at the rates specified in the tender. “The spiralling cost of construction materials is a major deterrent,” he said.

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