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The city corporation is nearing its five-year term, and many projects that were announced years ago are still gethering dust. TNIE looks at where the civic body failed, and the room for improvement

The term of incumbent Thiruvananthapuram Corporation council is nearing conclusion. Though the civic body has been drafting action plans focusing on various city development projects, some of the projects remain as mere promises, even after five years. TNIE takes a look at such plans that have never been executed by the council.Waste management decentralisation in vainThough the state government stressed on centralised waste management projects, the civic body continued to focus on decentralised projects like the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and installing aerobic bins in each ward to curb the unscientific disposal of waste.

The state also tried to bring in private players for setting up modern waste management facilities like waste-to-energy plants. But it could never be implemented and some of these projects were caught up in land disputes. Considering the limitations in opening a centralised waste management plant in the city and the absence of door-to-door collection of biodegradable waste, the city corporation focused on other decentralised projects and has set up waste collection hubs and kitchen bins, thereby treating the biodegradable waste at source and recycling non-biodegradable waste.

Modern abattoir plans that never made the cut

The city corporation’s ambition to set up a modern abattoir in the state capital remains on paper. The estimated cost of the project was `9.58 crore. After several years of impasse, during the term of former Mayor V K Prasanth, the corporation roped in KEL (Kerala Electrical and Allied Engineering Co Ltd) for implementing the project. But then, the project, which would ensure the supply of safe and quality meat to the residents, was never implemented.

The civic body even invited an expression of interest (EoI), but it found no takers. The project went for a re-tender since there was only a single bidder. A decision was taken to renovate the existing structure in Kunnukuzhy and procure the machinery and install it. However, the project never took off.The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) had closed down the corporation-owned slaughterhouse due to lack of proper waste disposal mechanism back in 2012.

Since then, several efforts were made by the corporation authorities to reopen the abattoir but it failed. Later, although the civic body got technical sanction and permission from the PCB to go ahead with the proposal, it tanked again. The project was basically to curb the flourishing of illegal units in the city.

The women-friendly city dream

While the capital city is home to the first one-night stay centre for woman travellers, more shelters were planned under ‘Nivasam’, an `1 crore project which aims at creating shelters and recreational hubs for women which are yet to be implemented.Setting up breastfeeding pods was a much-touted project of the city corporation and a fund of Rs 50 lakh was allocated for the project.

But it also never took off. The Rs 10-lakh project to set up women-friendly bus shelters equipped with modern facilities to ensure their safety and security was also planned. A project to set up a women-friendly zone in Manaveeyam Veedhi was also planned by the corporation at an estimated cost of Rs 10 lakh but the project is getting delayed.

Drainage network to prevent waterlogging

Under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme, the city corporation was to complete 110 new stormwater drains by March. However, this project is far from being implemented. A budget of Rs 48 crore was allotted for areas experiencing waterlogging even during light rain. Another project under AMRUT, the sewerage network project covering the Kazhakoottam-Technopark-Medical College area is also progressing.

The not-so-Smart city projects

Various projects planned under the smart city is yet to be implemented. One such is the setting up of smart bus shelters across the city equipped with Wi-Fi facilities. Other projects include an integrated centralised control room to integrate ICT solutions in the smart water network, traffic and transportation, smart mosquito density system, disaster management. Setting up the e-governance portal to connect with citizens and administration linking the 13 zonal offices are also in the pipeline

no privacy

Setting up breastfeeding pods was a much-touted project of the city corporation and a fund of J50 lakh was allocated for the project, which never took off.

Hear it from the office-bearers

A few projects couldn’t be implemented, like the setting up of slaughterhouse. The contract has already been given to KEL. Soon, the works will also start. As for the implementation of effective waste management, there were issues with setting up waste-to-energy plants owing to space constraints. But we have been able to reduce the waste woes through the implementation of de-centralised waste management practices like aerobic and kitchen bins. — K Sreekumar, city Mayor.

Waste management has been an ever-growing concern of the city residents. But the city corporation has not been able to resolve this issue. Although crores of rupees have been spent on setting up aerobic bins and kitchen bins, it hasn’t created a reliable solution. Illegal slaughterhouses in the city are still flourishing, but no action has been taken yet. For the last four years, the master plan is being passed around. J1,500 crore was allotted for implementing the smart city project. But only 10 per cent has been completed. Even the recently opened multi-level car parking is not being used by the residents a week after its inauguration. — Anil Kumar, opposition leader, corporation.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Steni Simon

Quelle/Source: The New Indian Express, 13.10.2020

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