KERALA

Growth will be hit: Mayor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, NOV. 29 . The UDF recommendation to delink the five panchayats merged with the city has evoked a strong protest from the CPI(M) district leadership.

The party district secretary M. Vijayakumar, and the Mayor, J. Chandra, told reporters here today that the UDF decision was politically-motivated, illegal and unconstitutional. They said any move to hive off the panchayats would undermine the future development of the city and deprive it of the Centre's special assistance package for metros.

The two leaders urged the Government for urgent steps to merge the Kudappanakunnu, Vattiyoorkavu and Vizhinjam panchayats with the Corporation.

Mr. Vijayakumar said the delinking would make it difficult to support major city development projects. "If the UDF recommendation is accepted by the Government, it will leave the proposed IT corridor on the Kovalam- Kazhakuttam route and the civil station at Kudappanakunnu outside the city limits." He alleged that the decision on delinking was based on political compulsions alone.

Mr. Vijayakumar said the previous LDF regime had merged the five panchayats with the city with the objective of elevating the capital city to the status of a metro with a 10 lakh population. The proposal was unanimously approved by the panchayat committees, he observed.

The Mayor said the five panchayats had witnessed a spurt of development activities after the merger. "Before the merger, the five panchayats together had a Plan fund outlay of Rs. 3.53 crores, out of which they could earmark only 30 per cent for infrastructure development. Over the last four years, the Corporation spent Rs. 41.86 crores on development activities in the new wards," she explained.

The LDF leaders appealed to the Government to reject the UDF recommendation and drop the move to delink the five panchayats.

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