₹166 crore earmarked for scheme in Fort Kochi may lapse if unused
The ₹166 crore that was earmarked by the Cochin Smart City Mission Limited (CSML) to establish a modern, multi-storey sewage-treatment plant (STP) near the taluk hospital at Kunnumpuram in Fort Kochi might lapse if the opposition to the plant continues from a section of the people living in the region.
This was the biggest among the 82 projects envisaged by the CSML in phase one development works, for which 16% of the total funds of ₹1,000 crore was set apart by the agency. This huge amount was aimed at tackling sewage in five corporation divisions in the area. It may simply lapse if not used. All that the plant needs is 45 cents of land and will not in any way inconvenience people in the locality, Jafar Malik, CEO of CSML and KMTA and the MD of RBDCK said here on Thursday.
He said everyone was for the plant, but did not want it anywhere in their vicinity. Subsequently, most people let out untreated sewage into drains and canals, in violation of the norms of the Pollution Control Board and National Green Tribunal. Hefty fines may be imposed on them for this. These bodies might take suo motu action or direct the corporation to impose the fine, he warned.
Referring to the ₹68-crore project to build a modern four-storey structure to house the Ernakulam market, he said a temporary shed to relocate merchants would be readied by January 2021. The multi-level market and parking space would be readied in another two years. A skywalk had been envisaged from the market to the road in phase two, for which permission was awaited.
Cycle tracks planned
Mr. Malik said that all smart roads being built by the agency would have cycle tracks, aimed at promoting non-motorised transport. The tracks could be hewed out of four-lane roads, as for example, the Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road. The aim was to have an inclusive, accessible, safe and green city.
Efforts were on to develop corridors such as P.T. Usha Road into walking streets. Over 75% of projects taken up by CSML were in different stages of completion. The pandemic had contributed substantially to the delay. A total of 8.50 km of smart roads in the city would have ducts to carry utilities, including power cables. Smart LED lights were being installed in even other road development works that were underway. Solar panels had been installed atop 28 government offices to produce 1 MW of power, he said.
Elaborating on proposals that the Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority (KMTA) is considering, Mr. Malik said there was a demand that the agency ready a parking policy wherein owners of premises could volunteer to spare their premises as pay and park lots. These spaces could be mentioned in an app aimed at guiding motorists who wanted to park their vehicles. An automated system could be installed in each such facility to levy parking fee, a part of which could go to the KMTA. The entry of buses from Goshree Islands into the city too was a long-pending demand. A common multi-modal card and upgradation of pollution-testing centres too were on the anvil, he said.
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