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All eyes on council’s first budget, Opposition raises apprehensions

All eyes are once again on the newly elected LDF-led council at the city corporation as it gears up to present its first annual budget on Thursday.

Published: 25th February 2021 06:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2021 06:57 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: All eyes are once again on the newly elected LDF-led council at the city corporation as it gears up to present its first annual budget on Thursday. With the majority of the members being youngsters and first-timers, the Opposition parties have already raised apprehensions over the budget even before its presentation. The revenue generated by the civic body had come to a grinding halt during the last financial year because of the pandemic outbreak and the subsequent lockdown. A participatory budget was presented by the previous council had last year with the involvement of the public. 

Deputy mayor and finance committee chairman P K Raju will present the budget which is likely to give thrust to all the ongoing projects launched by the former council. According to the Opposition parties and residents, a number of issues faced by the city including proper sewer system, drainage network, waste management, availability of clean drinking water and stray dog menace remain unaddressed. 

Federation of Residents’ Association, Thiruvananthapuram (FRAT) patron Paraniyan Devakumar said that motorable and pedestrian-friendly roads are the major demand by the residents. “Stray dog menace is another issue which needs to be addressed. We hope the new council would make efforts to make Thiruvananthapuram a pollution-free city. There also need to be more green spaces so that people can breathe fresh air,” he added. 

Senior BJP leader and councillor P Ashok Kumar claimed the council is inexperienced and the party has little expectation from the impending budget. “For the past 42 years, both the LDF and UDF governments have failed to bring any meaningful development or interventions to address issues faced by the city. Initially, there were only 30 wards under the city corporation. This was later expanded by 70 wards. All new 70 wards are deprived of even basic amenities. Clean drinking water is still unavailable and there is no drain network,” said Ashok. 

He said the government and the corporation have failed to implement a ring road project which is crucial to decongest the city roads. “The project still remains on paper which is unfortunate. The Centre has allocated a minimum of `2,500 crore during the past term as part of the Smart City initiative but the civic body could spend hardly `350 crore. The corporation took no effort to expand the project area of Smart City and now projects are being confined to just nine wards,” he added. 

Ashok also alleged the new council members have no knowledge to understand the real issues of the citizens. “The LDF has put a 21-year-old at the helm. This was a ploy to directly control the administration within the corporation,” he alleged. Senior UDF councillor Johnson Joseph said the LDF councillors have no clue on how to run a corporation. “LDF has been ruling the city corporation for so many years now. They have always been a failure and, this time too, they are going to disappoint the citizens,” said Johnson. 



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