Major corporation projects in limbo


Of the 990 new projects worth over ₹148 crore, only 67 are complete

Projects worth crores of rupees hang in the balance as political upheavals spanning several months have brought work at the Kochi Corporation to a near standstill.

Housing and canal rejuvenation projects under Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML) continue to await corporation approvals. The CSML proposal to take up construction of the second Rajiv Awas Yojana tower at Thuruthy has been pending before the corporation for the past three months.

“The corporation was also asked in August to give CSML a priority list of slums that could be taken up under the mission’s Integrated Redevelopment of Slum Housing project. We are yet to receive one,” said a CSML official.

The Smart City agenda has not come up at council meetings at all in the past three months, the official added. “All project work must be tendered latest by December, so that work can be awarded by March. The extension of deadline to 2021 is likely to apply only to implementation of projects on which work has begun by March next year.”

The corporation is also required to finalise agreements with Broadway market shop owners to settle on a rehabilitation strategy during the market’s renovation under the CSML project.

Septage treatment plant

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) officials are also awaiting the corporation’s approval for another septage treatment plant at Elamkulam.

“The contractor is willing to begin work, but the recent council meetings have not seen any discussions besides calling for the Mayor’s resignation,” said an AMRUT official. The project’s deadline in 2020 is around the corner. Of the 990 new projects worth over ₹148 crore listed under the corporation’s Plan Fund for 2019-20, only 67 were complete, either fully or partially. Only 276 projects of the 525 that spilled over from the previous financial year were taken up. The total Plan Fund expenditure till November amounted to only 21.53%.

“This last leg of the financial year is when work under the Plan Fund should be taken up on a war footing,” said Gracy Joseph, chairperson, standing committee for development. “But with the Opposition’s protests, no discussions have been taken up in the council lately, and now there will be fresh chaos with elections to the vacant standing committee chairpersons’ positions due in the next two weeks. The corporation’s engineers and overseers are also being deployed for Operation Breakthrough, stalling some of the work,” she added.

LDF councillors will stage a protest on December 2 against the stalling of work in the corporation, said LDF leader V.P. Chandran.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 6:18:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/major-corporation-projects-in-limbo/article30127022.ece

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