There is a need for greater coordination among the Kochi Corporation, Smart City Mission and various other stakeholders for implementing the projects included under the Centre’s 100 Smart City programme, Ernakulam MLA Hibi Eden told the Assembly on Monday. In a submission, the MLA said lack of coordination had resulted in various issues like water logging and road development in the Smart City jurisdiction area. “Hence, more caution is required. It will only be possible with greater coordination among the various stakeholders. Hope the government initiates positive steps in this regard,” said Eden.
It was in July 2015 Kochi was selected as one of the cities under the Union Government’s ambitious Smart City plan. The SPV, Kochi Smart City Mission Ltd, was formed in March 2016. The tender for the appointment of the consultancy was floated in May 2016. However, the final approval of the SPV was given only on August 8, 2017.
“We have lost nearly a year-and-a-half for the appointment of the consultancy alone. In stark contrast, all the other cities selected under the project made a big leap in the implementation phase. The first phase of the Kochi Smart City will be implemented with financial support from the Centre, the state and the Corporation’s own fund. However, we were not able to launch even the preliminary works and could not even spend a single penny in this regard,” said Eden.
The MLA also requested the government to allot funds for laying Astro Turf at the Maharaja’s College Ground. “One of the biggest convention centres in the city will be soon opened near High Court-Goshree Junctions. As a result, the traffic congestion at the High Court Junction will worsen. Hence, the renovation of the road at the High Court Junction should also be included under the Smart City Mission projects. A modern sky walk with escalator facility should be set up at the High Court Junction to help those coming from Vypeen. Crossing the road here is a nightmare for everyone. These projects should be implemented along with the Smart City Mission projects,” said Eden.
Minister A.K. Balan, who stood in for the Chief Minister, said the tendering process for projects is progressing. “The government is planning to complete the tendering process of projects worth 150 crore under the Smart City Mission before March 31 2018. A high-level committee chaired by the Chief Secretary was constituted for the timely implementation of the projects. The government will also consider the request for setting up a skywalk at High Court Junction. A meeting of people’s representatives and various other stakeholders will also be convened soon,” Balan said.