THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The district is likely to see various initiatives which would make life better. Thiruvananthapuram Express takes a look at the big project on menu
Taking giant strides
The year 2018 is a big one as far as the City Corporation is concerned with the civic body all keyed up to implement a number of citizen-friendly projects. The capital city will take giant strides in the development arena in 2018, Mayor V K Prasanth said on Sunday. “2018 will see the start of the Smart City Project. Works amounting to Rs 1,500 crore will be completed in the Smart City project. The completion of the LIFE mission (housing scheme) of the government is envisaged in 2018,” said the Mayor.
“Also, we have obtained approval for projects worth Rs 112 crore under the AMRUT scheme which also is slated to be implemented in 2018,” he added. The implementation of most of the programmes in people’s plan will be finished in the months of January and February, he added. Moreover, in January the streets under city corporation limits will be bathed in new brilliance with the street lights getting replaced by LED lights. “The first phase of the replacement of the lights with LED will begin in January. Around 50,000 street lights will go the LED way in January,” the Mayor said. With the launch of LED lights, the Corporation expects to redeem itself. In 2017, the civic body had been at the receiving end for failing to maintain streetlights thereby plunging several pockets of the city into darkness.
Other programmes that are expected to be implemented in 2018 include the launch of ‘smart’ bus stops. As many as 135 smart bus stops featuring WiFi, display boards, drinking water and toilet facilities will be launched. The waste management programme of the corporation also is expected to receive a major fillip with the popularisation of aerobic bins and kitchen bins.
Slew of development projects
The district panchayat is gearing up to welcome 2018 with a slew of development-friendly projects. The main thrust in 2018 will be on the conservation of water bodies, district panchayat president V K Madhu said on Sunday. “We have already launched ‘Jalashree’ project which aims at conserving water bodies. Plans have been put in place to rid the water bodies of waste,” said Madhu.Recently, the district panchayat had announced plans to recharge 1,000 wells in the panchayat limits ahead of the summer. A majority of the wells identified for the scheme are on school and hospital campuses.Under ‘Jalashree,’ the district panchayat had already started digging new wells and ponds in 2017. Further, a host of child-friendly programmes such as scholarships for students and medical aid for autistic students has been envisaged.
Smart City: A face-changer
Entry into Smart City list has perhaps been the most important achievement of the city last year. After having lost the chance in the first two rounds, the city made a remarkable come back to top the list of 30 cities selected in the third round. The city-zens actively participated in providing suggestions for the Rs 1,500 crore-mega project that is going to change the face of the city in the next five years.
Having made all necessary preparatory works in the year gone by, this year marks the beginning of the activities on the ground. Smart City got a new CEO when the government appointed KSID MD M Beena to take forward the work. A consultant will be appointed soon to prepare the Detailed Project Report for each of the projects in the original plan.
Locations in and around East Fort has been chosen for Area Based Development, one of the components of the Smart City. This area will have projects for improving basic urban services, effective utilisation of land, maintaining cultural heritage, eco-friendly initiatives and make the city inclusive in social and economic aspects. Pan city solutions involve using information and communication technology for municipal service and infrastructure.An integrated centralised control room will be set up to integrate ICT solutions in smart water network, traffic and transportation, smart mosquito density system, safety and security, disaster management, solid waste management. Another pan-city aspect that uses ICT is the setting up of an e-governance portal to connect with citizen and administration.
The development of roads is essential for a developing city. The road infrastructure development in the city is expected to get a boost in 2018. This year will see a few flyovers, underpasses and road over bridges at NH-66 bypass from Kazhakoottam to Karode stretch. The development is likely to ease the traffic flow considerably.Second phase development of Karamana-Kaliyikkavila stretch is likely to begin early this year to ease the traffic bottleneck. After months of uncertainties, the project received some momentum towards the end of 2017.
The tender process will pick up soon after Kerala Infrastructure Investment Board (KIIFB) approves the revised Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the stretch from Pravachambalam to Kodinada in Balaramapuram.Five roads in the district- Kallara-Adappupara road, Elikunnamukal-Pullikuzhi road, Powdikonam-Swamiarmadam road, Pazhakutty-Mukkolakkad road, Kalatharamukku-Oonniinkallu road- will be developed.
Perhaps the most anticipated road development project is the Capital Region Development Programme (CRDP) which involves a 55 km long outer ring road. The road interconnecting NH 66, state highways, and MC Road starts from Mangalapuram in the North to Andoorkonam, Vattapara, Aruvikara, Ooruttambalam, Balaramapuram and touch Vizhinjam by-pass. In the second phase, it will directly connect Kaniyapuram and Neyyattinkara.
The corridor is expected to spur economic growth of the outer areas of the city and create jobs for people here. Four economic areas are proposed — logistic zones from Mangalapuram to Ooruttambalam, IT/ITeS zone in Andoorkonam, media/entertainment zones, and Rehabilitation and Resettlement zones.
The project is envisaged as 55 per cent brown field and 45 per cent green field (from the scratch) and it will lead to the rehabilitation of a number of people. Besides bringing economic development to the suburbs and creating jobs for people in these areas the outer ring road is expected to manage traffic effectively.
Vizhinjam Seaport project: Making up for lost time
The new year will see the Adani Group make up for lost time in the implementation of the Vizhinjam seaport project. In the outgoing year, the company had lost valuable man-days due to a local outcry over alleged damage caused to houses due to drilling near the coast and the Ockhi cyclone. In 2018, work is expected to speed up to make up for the lost days. According to sources in the Adani
Group, work on two major components of Phase I will continue in the New Year. They are the works on the 800-metre berths and the construction of the breakwater. Work is also expected to begin on a 500-metre fisheries harbour on the north side of the breakwater. This is a CSR initiative.
The company is also expected to address the problems faced in the procurement of rocks for the breakwater. Sources said the company planned to hire a ‘bottom-opening’ barge for placing the rocks with more precision on the seabed. Of the 72 lakh tonnes of rock required, 36 tonnes will be procured from Kanyakumari district and 22 tonnes from Kollam, sources said.
The rest will be sourced from various quarries in Thiruvananthapuram district. The Adani Group and the state had inked the concession agreement on the Vizhinjam project on August 17, 2015. Construction was inaugurated on December 5 the same year. Ports Minister Ramachandran Kadannapally had later informed the Assembly that commercial operations will begin on December 4, 2019.
The mass urban transport system project in the city has been a major disappointment so far. The Rs 4,219-crore Light Metro Rail project connecting Technocity-Karamana corridor was expected to pick up after the successful commissioning of Kochi metro. But the project suffered a set back after new metro rail policy introduced by Union government last year made public private participation mandatory for obtaining Central assistance.The ministry of urban development has been sitting on the state’s plan since 2015. Yet it is too early to rule out the termination of project. This year is likely to see a last-bid attempt to revive it.