KERALA

FRAT joins chorus on `neglect' of city

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 17. The Federation of Residents' Associations, Thiruvananthapuram (FRAT) has expressed solidarity with the campaign against the alleged neglect of the State capital in the development agenda of the State Government.

At a press conference here today, the FRAT president, George Vennikulam, and the general secretary, Pattom Sasidharan Nair, alleged that the capital city had been given a raw deal as the Government went ahead with promoting Kochi as an investment destination.

"While projects estimated at Rs.20,000 crores have been cleared for Kochi, the capital region is struggling to ensure that the Government does not go back on promoting investment proposals of Rs.120 crores," Mr. Sasidharan Nair said.

The federation urged the Government to enhance the outlay for the development of the capital region and check the spending on consultancy and commission.

It demanded the construction of a bus sub-station at Kochuveli before the commencement of train services from the new railway station.

Restore cancelled flights

The FRAT leaders wanted the Government to hand over the land acquired for the development of the international airport terminal and restore the flights which were cancelled. They called on the Government to drop the move to delink panchayats from the city and demanded immediate steps be initiated to develop the capital as a metro.

The leaders said FRAT would join hands with other non-governmental organisations to highlight the neglect of the city and exert pressure on the Government for a greater share of mega projects.

The federation will organise a rally and a dharna in front of the Secretariat on Saturday in protest against the lack of basic amenities for the city residents. Residents' associations across the city will participate in the agitation demanding extension of the water supply network, improvement in power distribution and rehabilitation of the sewerage system.

The stir will also highlight the need to check the discharge of raw sewage into open drains and canals, and improve garbage collection and disposal.

Mr. Vennikulam added that the federation was strongly opposed to the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme taken up by the City Corporation for sterilisation of stray dogs. Many localities are terrorised by stray dog menace and the ABC programme will not help check attacks by rabid dogs, he said.

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