Urban Affairs Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali said that a suggestion to form a Kochi Metropolitan Regional Development Authority included in the government’s 100-day programme would be taken forward by the state government.
The Greater Cochin Development Authority has already submitted a draft in this direction. The minister was replying to the calling -attention by Hibi Eden MLA in the Assembly on Monday.
“The government has transferred it to the chief town planner. By making slight changes, the state government has included areas like Mala, Kodungalloor, Piravom, Thalayolaparambu, Vaikom, Angamaly, Perumbavoor, Kolenchery and Cherthala for the development of Kochi’s adjacent areas. Likewise, the Corporation has also prepared a plan in this regard as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission project since the villages of Kerala are fast merging with the cities, he told the House.
“Now, 48 percent of population lives in cities. As far as Kochi is concerned, except Kothamangalam and Muvattupuzha, all the other areas are a part of the agglomeration of Kochi city. The neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka depend on Kochi’s port and Vallarpadam terminal for its commercial purposes. Hence Kochi deserves the status of a metro,” he said.
Earlier, emphasising the need to elevate Kochi to the metropolitan status, Hibi Eden MLA has sought the intervention of the state government in the matter. Hibi said the city has a favourable climate to achieve the metropolitan status. “Kochi has already been ranked 17 in the million-plus cities of the country,” he said.
Only Kochi has the multi-model system that has the conglomeration of road, rail and air modes of transport. An international airport endowed with vast opportunities, an international stadium, Kerala High Court, Cochin Port, Cochin Shipyard, Smart City, Electronic City, LNG Terminal, Vallarpadam container terminal, Kochi Infopark, Southern Naval Command headquarters, Vyttila Mobility Hub are a few to mention which can help Kochi garner the coveted status. Kochi Metro rail project and Cochin Stock Exchange also deserve special mention.
To coordinate and extend the benefits of the development activities to other parts of the district, a uni-fed system has become the need of the hour.
“There are many areas which need immediate attention especially waste management and acute water shortage. Besides, the development of Kochi is mostly concentrated in the heart of the city. But it should be extended to areas like Angamaly, Perumbavoor, Muvattupuzha, Chalakkudy, Kodungalloor, Vypeen, Paravur, Kolenchery, Thodupuzha, Kothamangalam, Aroor and Cherthala. For this, Uni-fed system is the need of the hour,” he said.
Though there are GCDA and Corporation, Uni-fed system has become a prerequisite at this point of time.
Hibi said that once the city is made a metro, its residents can also avail themselves of the metropolitan project.
“It would definitely bring in economic, environmental, and traffic development. Among the other districts, Ernakulam is developing at a fast pace. People as well as people’s representatives irrespective of their political affiliations are in favour of elevating the status of Kochi,” he said.