Master plan for Kochi taking shape; to be presented before council in October

Though there are 21 sanctioned town planning schemes for the city centre, most of them have reached their limits.
Image for representational purpose only. (File/ EPS)
Image for representational purpose only. (File/ EPS)

KOCHI:  The master plan for Kochi city, which has been on the table since 2002, is finally taking shape. Last month, the draft proposal was placed for public discussion, where a lot of changes were suggested. The scheme is being revised based on the submissions, and the corporation expects to present it before the council by the first week of October.

“The master plan is a comprehensive policy guide designed to create a vision of what the city will look like in the future. This will require a lot of discussion and suggestions from experts. Our focus is to complete the discussions and submit it to the corporation council by the first week of October, and the final plan to the state government by December,” said mayor M Anilkumar.

The master plan (2019-2040) will endeavour to enhance the quality of urban life while proposing measures to strengthen the city’s base in line with objectives outlined in the central government’s Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme. “During the public hearing, we received many concerns and suggestions, which were taken up for review,” said the mayor.

“The majority of complaints were regarding zone-level division of areas. For example, Thanthonni Thuruth island was listed as a conservation zone. Citizens demanded that it be listed as a residential-commercial zone. Similarly, it was suggested that the area adjoining JLN stadium be listed as a recreational zone. The inputs on zoning were reviewed by the master plan committee,” a corporation official said. 

Following the meeting, local legislators suggested dropping unfeasible road development projects, which the committee did not approve. “It was decided to share details of road development projects with them. They have been asked to submit their suggestions within 10 days, following which decisions will be taken,” said the mayor. 

Meanwhile, a state-level monitoring committee reviewed the progress of the draft plan on Tuesday. According to the draft proposal, the city is experiencing rapid growth but unfortunately lacks comprehensive spatial-planning schemes. Though there are 21 sanctioned town planning schemes for the city centre, most of them have reached their limits. The absence of a scientific framework for development leads to environmental decay and the inefficient use of land and other resources. The inadequacies of the road network and the need for improvement of the transportation infrastructure have come home to roost as the city faces regular traffic congestion during peak hours.

The attempt through the geographical information system (GIS)-based master plan is to focus on comprehensive long-range development in terms of the provision of basic infrastructure (eg, water supply, sewerage and urban transport) to households and build amenities that will improve the quality of life for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged. Another aim is to develop a common digital geo-referenced base map and land-use map.

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The New Indian Express