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GCDA Dreams Big

Cochin School of Planning, Tunnel Marine Aquarium, Skywalk and walkway top the list of projects in the GCDA annual budget.

Published: 14th February 2014 08:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2014 08:57 AM   |  A+A-

The Rs 8.10-crore surplus budget of Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) for 2014-15 projects an income of Rs 205.95 crore and an expenditure of Rs 197.85 crore.

The annual budget of the Authority was presented on Thursday.

“We have given thrust to some new projects that can be implemented by overcoming our limitations. The GCDA has also initiated various projects mentioned in the last budget. The already launched and the new projects will be carried out on a priority basis,” GCDA Chairman N Venugopal told reporters here after the Executive Committee approved the budget.

He said the agency will soon initiate steps to retrieve the GCDA-owned land encroached upon by others.

“We have identified certain encroachments on GCDA land and will initiate steps to retrieve it,” he said.

Tunnel Marine Aquarium

As part of its efforts to convert Marine Drive into a major tourism entertainment zone, the GCDA has proposed a Tunnel Marine Aquarium. The facility will come up at the 1.2 acre-land owned by GCDA near the Tata Canal behind the High Court building. The facility will be designed in such a way that visitors can view different species of organisms under the sea. A 7-D theatre, restaurant, aquarium of various sizes and play area for children are also planned. “The bid for the Aquarium will be finalised by February-end. If the existing rules and regulations permit, we are also planning to launch a penguin park as part of the project,” Venugopal said. The total project cost is estimated at `85 crore.

Skywalk

With the city witnessing huge traffic congestion, even pedestrians find it difficult to walk and cross the roads. “The density of pedestrians is normally high at Marine Drive and Menaka. Hence we have decided to construct a Skywalk connecting Marine Drive commercial centre with Penta Menaka.

In order to help the pedestrians, escalators will be installed at both ends of the Skywalk and refreshment joints will be set up. The total cost for the facility is estimated at Rs 2 crore,” said Venugopal.

Cochin School of Planning

One of the major and novel proposals mooted in the budget is setting up of Cochin School of  Planning. It aims to impart training on Urban Management and Town Planning by offering graduate and post-graduate courses in the subjects. At present, similar courses are offered only in big cities such as Chennai, Mysore and Amritsar. The budget allocation for the project is Rs 50 lakh. The GCDA Chairman said the GCDA has the 5-acre land required for the institution.

Edappally Railway Station Road

Though the Edappally Railway Station was renovated, the station is yet to be connected to Ponekkara Road. The 40-metre stretch in between that is in a dilapidated state needs to be levelled and a new road constructed for the purpose. A `-16 lakh fund allocation was made in the budget for the project which will be implemented by utilising the MLA fund.

Thangal Road Walkway

The 750-metre walkway will start from Koyithara Park - Panampilly Nagar and end at Kasthurba Nagar. The walkway will be built parallel to the TP Canal and residents can go for relaxed morning and evening walks.

The other major proposals include Baker Foundation Cultural Centre at Thottakkattukara, Aluva, shopping complex-cum- residential apartment at Kadavanthra and remodeling of the bridge across the TP Canal, near Kadavanthra market.

Shopping Mall near Ambedkar Stadium

After the renovation of the stadium, the GCDA will get nearly 1.8-acre spare land. A modern shopping mall on public-private participation mode was proposed in the budget and `25 lakh earmarked for meeting the preliminary expenses.

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