‘Council not empowered to take decision'
: The former Mayor C. Jayan Babu on Wednesday joined issue with Shashi Tharoor, MP, over the stalled proposal for a Twin City pact between Thiruvananthapuram and the Spanish city of Barcelona, maintaining that the Corporation Council was not empowered to take a decision on many of the topics mentioned in the draft agreement submitted by Mr. Tharoor.
Mr. Babu said he had informed Mr. Tharoor that the council was not in a position to finalise a pact with its counterpart in Barcelona on issues outside its purview. “Mr. Tharoor knows that the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation does not have a role in the Technocity project, the proposed container transhipment terminal at Vizhinjam and major projects in the health and tourism sectors identified for collaboration in the draft proposal”.
He said the previous Corporation Council had put aside political differences and continued the discussions initiated by Mr. Tharoor with representatives of the Barcelona city council. “As the former Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. Tharoor has a clear idea of the powers wielded by various institutions under the federal structure of the country. The Corporation Council is also aware of its powers and limitations. A local self-government institution cannot enter into an agreement with a foreign country on its own,” Mr. Babu said.
“The delegation from Barcelona gave indications that the agreement would not entail financial commitment on their part. Yet, the LDF showed interest in the proposal, considering the possibility of collaboration for development. The new council's approach would be no different.” Mr. Babu said the draft proposal was forwarded to the State government for approval before being taken up for discussion in the council. “There has been no lapse on the part of the Corporation,” he asserted.
Recalling that a Twin City pact with the London borough of Newham finalised before his tenure had brought no dividends for Thiruvananthapuram, he said the LDF was of the opinion that such pacts should be thoroughly analysed for their benefits. “It is always better to evolve city development projects on the basis of our resources and activities,” he added.