THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The city is all set to welcome the next corporation council. But the journey will be far from easy for the new council that will assume office at a critical point in the city’s growth. From the timely completion of smart city projects to a long-term solution for waste management, challenges are aplenty. As many as 43 projects under the Smart City programme have been sanctioned and must be implemented by 2022. Or else funds worth Rs 1,538 will lapse, taking down projects which people have high hopes on.
“Implementing projects in a timely manner is important and that too within a short period of time. These projects are key to the future plans of the city,” said K Sreekumar, incumbent mayor.While waste management is a major issue in all cities, in Thiruvananthapuram, it is connected to the iconic Vilappilshala protests which shut down the city corporation’s centralised waste management project.
Years later, the corporation is mostly reliant on a decentralised waste management system where waste is either processed at source or is collected by the corporation and shipped off elsewhere through contractors.
“I can’t foresee a centralised waste management plan in the city though it would be an ideal solution. People are reluctant to even let us place aerobic bins in their locality. A centralised waste management system would remain a pipedream,” Sreekumar said. Rafis Muhammad, founder of the Facebook page Trivandrum Indian, which has over 2.6 lakh followers and serves as a platform for development-related issues, said centralised waste management is the future, especially in a city like Thiruvananthapuram.
“Similar cities, like Singapore, are managing waste effectively. The next council should come up with innovative ideas for a long-term solution,” he said. Another pressing concern is the delay in the completion of a master plan. The city currently follows a nearly four-decade-old master plan. Work on the master plan had almost reached the draft stage during the last council.
“We can’t plan the future with an outdated plan. Completion of the master plan is key to all steps the next council or any body concerned with the city would initiate for infrastructure development. Pattom is a residential area in the old master plan. We are all aware how it is a bustling commercial area,” said Robin Panicker, a city-based entrepreneur and a vocal social media figure.
The next council will have to present the master plan for public approval first before bringing it to the council. All these challenges converge in one of the major talking points in the last local body poll - Greater Thiruvananthapuram Corporation.
“All of us want the city to be developed into a metro. Even as we call for development, the people should also have a futuristic vision. Some red zones may remain red zones and construction may be restricted. Our city is growing. We can’t make plans taking only the immediate aspects into consideration,” Sreekumar said.
Robin agreed that development work should focus on the possibility of becoming a metro city in the near future. “The transport system, infrastructure projects and everything else should be designed with the vision of a metro rather than by sticking to the limitations of the city. Our plans must be futuristic,” he said.