ALUVA: Stuck in the honey trap of petty politics, Aluva Municipality often misses the train to development. Soon, this satellite city of Kochi will get a metro tag too. As far as infrastructure development goes Aluva is yet to be equipped to reap the benefits. One of the smallest municipalities in the state, it is spread across 7.17 sqkm area with a population of 24,500, but the exuberance of Kochi city overshadows Aluva and limits its dreams of development.
Another major problem faced by the municipality is the huddling of natives in nearby panchayats as people from Kochi city are fast settling down in Aluva town. Interestingly, the population here has reduced by 1,000 in 15 years.
“Aluva town is divided into three by Periyar river, National Highway and Railway line. Hence, the area for further development is limited. Due to increased commercialisation, people sell their property and move to adjacent villages. Though the municipality has five acres of land at Naalam mile and Choondi, fund crunch for development activities is the major problem faced by us. Like any other town waste disposal and infrastructure woes are our major concerns. Renovation of the market for `10 crore is the flagship project taken up by the municipality. The foundation stone for the project will be laid by the Chief Minister on August 29. Another mega project is constructing a 26,000 sqft godown worth ` 6 crore on 2.5 acres of land at Choondi. Both the projects will be funded by the loan from Federal Bank,” said M T Jacob, chairman, Aluva Municipality.
Living on a shoe string budget, the municipality expects a revenue of `53.60 crore and the expense stands at `47.65 crore for 2014 to 15. The actual revenue of the municipality is around `6 crore per year and the expense tallies with it.
The UDF-led council, which has a majority (22-4), is out to implement mega projects on a war footing even though the term of the council will end next year. The earlier LDF council also followed the same pattern and they tried to carry out some projects in their fourth year of administration and majority of them were left unfinished.
The inauguration of Lohithadas Smrithi Mandapam at Aluva Manappuram and EMS Open Air Auditorium at Municipal Park, both named by the LDF council, are yet to be inaugurated, only because of political reasons.
“Aluva does not have any good roads, hotels, shopping malls and multi-speciality hospitals. There are no big educational institutions either in the government or private sectors. Though a flyover was built the traffic conjunction is yet to be eased. An additional span has to be added to the existing flyover and to be extended to Bank junction. Another bridge has to be built parallel to Marthanda Varma bridge across Periyar river. Two ring roads connecting Government Hospital-High School and Aluva Palace-Thottumugham should be constructed. The Seaport-Airport road has to be stretched to Aluva. Another project that could reduce the traffic bottlenecks are constructing bridges over railway line near Muslim church and St Xavier’s College,” suggested M O John, former chairman, Aluva Municipality.
He added that two to three waste water treatment plants are slated to be built to make Periyar pollution-free.