Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Sep 24, 2002
Industry & Economy
Masterplan on cards to develop Thiruvananthapuram
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Sept. 23
A MEETING of the Sub-Committee of the Council of Ministers chaired by the Chief Minister, Mr A.K. Antony, has decided to draw up a masterplan for the comprehensive development of Thiruvananthapuram city in line with its status as the State capital.
An official spokesman said that the decision was taken at the end of discussions held last week over a draft document on urban development prepared by a committee of officials.
Apart from the Chief Minister, the meeting was attended by his Ministerial colleagues, Mr K. Sankaranarayanan, Mr Cherkalam Abdullah, Mr T.M. Jacob, Mr M.K. Muneer, Mr G. Karthikeyan, Mr M.V. Raghavan and Mr M.M. Hassan, the Additional Chief Secretary, Mr N. Chandrasekharan Nair, the Public Works Secretary, Mr Babu Jacob, the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr Gopalkrishna Pillai, the Water Resources Secretary, Mr K.J. Mathew, and Secretaries, Mr Thomas C. George, Mr T. Balakrishnan and Mr Elias George.
The preliminary report deals with the entire developmental spectrum ranging from the need to build ring roads and link roads within the city, rearrangement of the traffic grid, drinking water supply, treatment of effluents, sewerage network, parking facilities, remodelling of the Chalai market, building of the Vizhinjam port, the Theerapatham walkway project, sprucing up of tourist destinations such as Varkala, Ponmudi and Kovalam and development of the international airport.
The Chief Minister suggested that meetings be held and ideas on developmental aspects be exchanged with representatives of the people, councillors of the Corporation, members of political parties, voluntary organisations and experts from various fields so as to arrive at a long-term vision.
A high-level committee will be constituted for overseeing preliminary work in this direction.
A formal decision on these matters will be taken at a routine meeting of the Cabinet of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday. Required seed funds are sought to be mobilised from various departments.
The masterplan will be prepared by experts with global exposure and vision in urban development.
They will be asked to submit the draft latest by February 1, 2003.
It has also been decided to enhance Budgetary allocations for developmental works of the city the next time onwards and seek the assistance of the Centre and the World Bank for the same.
Renovation of heritage structures: In a separate development, the Water Resources Minister, Mr T.M. Jacob, who is in charge of the Department of Archaeology, said that the renovation work on heritage forts and their ramparts in the city will be launched on October 2.
A Rs 2-crore project for the purpose has been submitted to the Centre for clearance, an official spokesman quoted the Minister as saying.
The renovation work is being taken up as part of the `Conservation of Fort Areas and its Environs, Thiruvananthapuram' project, approved by the Eleventh Finance Commission.Envisaged to be completed over a four-year period, the first phase of the project has been scheduled to receive Rs 80 lakh as funds, which will be supplemented with amounts of Rs 40 lakh each every year for the rest of the period afterwards.
Under the overall scheme of the project, repair and renovation work will be taken up on the East Fort Gate, Vettimuricha Kotta, the Pazhavangadi Gate, the West Fort, the Puthen Theru Fort and the Hospital Fort, which form part of/extensions to the main East Fort complex.The fort walls leading from Vettimuricha Kotta to the South Palace would also be taken up for renovation.
The Department of Archaeology has already identified weather-beaten and vulnerable parts in the structures that need replastering.
The cornices, mouldings, decorations and other facade details will have to be recreated in lime mortar.
The joinery of the structures has weakened and the plastering has worn out. The flagpoles, posts, electric lines and cables running close to the structures need relocating.
The mortar used for constructing the fort was a combination of lime, jaggery and egg. The right blend has to be ensured for plastering the cornices and edges.
The volume of traffic in the adjoining areas is rather heavy, exposing vulnerable stretches of the structure.A buffer area of at least one metre would have to be maintained in order to protect the monument from further damage.
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