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Twin City pact for ward level mapping to be revived

India, 9 June 2007: The Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, Kerala, is preparing to renew an agreement with the London borough of Newham for a ward-level mapping programme. The mapping project involves generation of a detailed database that will serve as the baseline information for poverty alleviation and informed decision-making.

The programme that was mooted under a Twin City pact between the two local bodies was bogged down for more than a year due to the failure to mobilise technical and manpower resources. The Newham Council had committed an assistance of £40,000 to Thiruvananthapuram Corporation under the agreement. The financial assistance was to be used for a detailed survey of the 2,000 households in the Sasthamangalam ward. The two-week survey was aimed at creating a database of all the premises in the ward. The city-based Centre for Environment and Development (CED) has been selected as the implementing agency for the revised project to avoid further delay.

The original project was entrusted to the Information Kerala Mission (IKM). “The IKM was partly responsible for the delay. Despite pressure from the Corporation and the Newham Council, they failed to put the systems in place,” said a civic official.

The selection of the Sasthamangalam ward for the pilot project is also likely to be revised to accommodate the need for better representation of economically backward families.

The first phase of the project includes a ward-level survey of all the premises within the city. In the second phase, the physical maps will be digitised for integration into GIS. According to Corporation officials, the digitised map will make detection of zonal violations easier and minimise the procedure for issue of building permits.

Under the proposal, the implementing agency will draw up a questionnaire and data collection strategy. Newham officials will train their counterparts from Thiruvananthapuram in analytical skills and decision support for the mapping programme. They will provide guidance in preparing reports and handling GIS information.