The fate of the Ring Road project mooted by the Greater Cochin Development Authority remains uncertain owing to the huge investment cost and the hurdles in getting environmental clearance.
Though discussions are on between the GCDA officials and Cochin Port Trust (CPT) authorities to include the Ring Road project under the latter’s development plans, it is yet to be bear fruit. However, GCDA Chairman
N Venugopal said that they have not scrapped the project. “Talks are on with the CPT authorities for including the project among their plans so that we will get the required environmental clearance. The plan is yet to be approved by the Port,” he said.
Meanwhile, experts are of the opinion that the project is likely to be scrapped even before its takeoff as it will be difficult for the GCDA to get the necessary environmental clearance. The major reason according to them is that nearly 600 acres of backwater and wetland will have to be reclaimed and filled for the construction of the Ring Road which will have a width of 36 m. The wetland needs to be filled mainly between Pachalam and Varappuzha. The Ring Road will begin from Marine Drive and will connect with Seaport Airport Road through Vaduthala, Cheranallor and Varappuzha to reach the NH 47 through the Container Road.
The state government gave the clearance for the Ring Road project two years ago Underground Exhibition Centre
The GCDA has also mooted other ambitious projects, including the construction of an underground exhibition centre. Though the fate of Ring Road project remains uncertain, the GCDA will go ahead with the other projects, Venugopal said.
“We have already submitted the design of the underground exhibition centre to the Central Town Planning (CTP) office. We are awaiting the sanction from the CTP which is likely to be given this month. The estimate has been finalised and submitted to the Local Self-Government Department. Once the sanctions are obtained, we will float the tender for the underground exhibition centre,” he said.
It will come up at the open space in front of the Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium. Internationally-designed, the world class exhibition facility will stretch to an area of 1.5 lakh sqft and the expected cost of construction is `60 crore. The facility can accommodate 500 exhibition stalls and can host mega events like international auto expos.