Better Kochi Response Group (BKRG) will work with the government to make Kochi a better place to live under the leadership of the Chief Secretary of Kerala .
A meeting in this regard was held at the KMRL conference hall with all the stake holders from the city and government departments and BKRG expert members. The meeting was chaired by the Chief Secretary Tom Jose assisted by S.Gopakumar, President, BKRG, along with other members of BKRG and government and local body
A BETTER KOCHI BY 2/2/22
BKRG came out with a report covering various aspects which will make Kochi one of the best cities in India with a time target for each task. The targeted time is very easy to remember such as 2/2/22 that is 2nd February 2022 which will give more than two and a half years.
Cooperation from all departments, political parties, NGOs, business and professional organisations is highly essential. The report was presented to the Chief Secretary Tom Jose and it was decided to take up this great initiative under his the leadership since involvement of the government is most essential.
The report covers the following points.
FREEDOM FROM HARTAL
A growing city like Kochi cannot afford hartal. A political consensus is the only permanent solution. While we respect the right to call a harthal we must respect our right not to participate in the Harthal. Chief Secretary explained that govt is not encouraging Harthal and necessary action has been already taken.
MEMU TRAIN SERVICE
While we wait for big dreams of High Speed or Semi High Speed trains we can immediately go for a MEMU train service on the existing tracks and a new signalling system which will reduce load on our High ways and reduce pollution. Doubling of Kottayam line will get over by the year 2021 and regarding the Allepey route proposal has already been submitted. With the present line Railway cannot take up MEMU since the existing lines has been fully utilised. It was decided that there will be meeting with the Railway Board Chairman in introducing the automatic signaling systems and introduce MEMU service..
Though there is a proposal for Water Metro we must bring it into a time limit for a major network operation by 2/2/22. It was informed that Water Metro Tenders are floated. Last day for the proposal April 4th. KMRL will issue the work order by May 15th for 19 boats. The total project is for 76 kms with 78 boats with 45 Terminals. The first boat can be delivered by Jan 2020.
Mordern Boat terminal to be launched near fine arts hall by KSINC. Entire water metro project can be finished by 2/2/22.
CLEANING CANALS BACK WATERS
A separate organisation working on continuous cleaning with modern equipments and trained personnel. 1000 Cr has been alloted for the project under Bhavanam Foundation to rehabilitate 1500 families who are canal encroaches.
The only way of coming out of ever increasing heat ways in summer is to plant trees. We have to target 2 lakh trees every year in Kochi. Miyawaki forest model to be implimented in the city. Funds can be raised from Ayankali Urban Employment Guarantee project. BKRG will also help in identifying the space for the same.
CLEAN PUBLIC TOILETS
One of the points by which a tourist evaluates a destination is by the Clean Toilet it Keeps. City needs many more such toilets. 20 toilets to be built this year itself under the guidance of BKRG & Credai. Land availability is the real problem for the construction. BKRG was asked to identify locations and government will make it available from respective department.
ACCESSIBLE AND WIDER FOOT PATHS
Foot paths must be give as much importance as roads and as per the central govt directive we have to make them accessible. Kochi Corporation to identify vending and non vending streets so that it will be easy for constructing the footpaths. Smart City and Amruth Scheme has already identified 40 areas for footpath development. BKRG to report on unauthorised use of foot paths for vending and other purposes.
MORE SCIENTIFIC PARKING FACILITIES
Unauthorised parking on roads , small lanes and service roads in highways make traffic blocks very often. Multilevel parking the solution and the land for the same has to be identified. Multilevel Parking facility at Kacheripady is proposed by the Kochi Metro.
Even though there are methods of filling up potholes even during rains like cold bitumen which is now available in Kerala it is hardly taken up. So far PWD and Kochi Corporation are not taking appropriate action maintaining the roads withouts potholes. Involvement of private agency was suggested like Trivandrum model.
MORE CONNECTIVITY BY METRO
KMRL should come out with a master plan of making an elaborate metro system straight away so that the areas are demarcated. Actual Plan till Petta will be over by December 2019. A new line has proposed from Aluva to Angamaly linking airport and one line from Kaloor to Infopark in next 4 to 5 years.
ART , FOOD STREETS , FARMERS MARKETS
Should locate places to establish this so that the city is live especially after evening hours. Smart city to take up PT Usha Road project.
ERADICATING MOSQUITOES SCIENTIFICALLY
Mosquito is the biggest curse of Kochi. Handling this issue scientifically using top consultants and scientists should be taken up seriously with budget provisions. Salt water by tidel inflow and use of scientific larvisides can help in eradicating mosquitoes.
A matter discussed very often without any permanent solution. Plastic waste is another serious issue. Right now there is no proper solution in the horizon. Corporation is to lease the land to the selected company like in other cities urgently to construct the Waste to Energy project.
POSTERS , HOARDINGS, SIGNAGES
The city is marred by innumerable posters and hoardings. Also many of the beautifully designed buildings are covered with name boards and signages. There is no official signage control. Corporation is to act on this.
Though Kerala especially Kochi is surrounded by backwaters and rivers a large percentage of people do not know swimming. We must aim for 100 percentage proficiency in swimming like we did for literacy. RSC can join the bandwagon. Survival swimming proficiency should be made compulsory. Decided to identify land for building a swimming pool.
MORE PUBLIC PARKS
Every namesake public park we have is crowded with people. We have to make use of every bit of land to be converted to parks to make the city visually appealing too. Some of them can be converted to health rejuvenation centres especially for senior citizens. Vallarpadam Container road to be utilised.
It is very difficult to locate an address by street names building names etc. It is high time we that we follow a numbering system for streets and buildings. Residents association numbering system to be taken up across the city – Corporation to act.
Kerala is somewhat well branded on tourism sector as God’s own country. As a city of opportunities Kochi should go for a separate branding. This will help investment and tourism arrival to Kochi
RING ROADS AND BYPASSES
There were many ring roads planned by GCDA at one point of time to avoid unnecessary traffic entry into the city. These are to be revived.
There are a lot of confusion in the naming of places in Kochi. Examples are Town and junction for stations, Jew street and Jew town and the name Kochi itself which is confused with west Kochi , Junction names by that of cinema theatres etc. A high level committee to work on this.
LIGHTING AND ELECTRICAL
Haphazard overhead electrical wiring, in adequate lighting levels in the streets, roadside transformers etc are not befitting to a modern city. Heritage monument lighting is totally missing. Project is already ON under Smart City which will get over by 2022 on areas covered by Smart City. Department to work on other areas.
CLEAN DRINKING WATER
It is still sad we cannot use the tap water directly like old times but have to filter it now for drinking purpose. We have failed in reusing waste water in large scale. Treatment capacity is not fully utilised due un availability of link Pipe line from Maradu to Thammanam and the proposal is under process. Rainwater harvesting is also to be encouraged for clean drinking water.
It is surprising that a city growing towards metropolitan status do not have proper sewage treatment system. It is more disturbing to know backwaters of Kochi is still misused.
The new avatar of UMTA as Kerala Metropolitan Transport Authority is still waiting for Cabinet Clearance.
VANISHING CHINESE FISHING NETS
Probably because of viability issues the historical Chinese fishing nets are fast vanishing. Being a symbol of Kochi, subsidies, sponsorships and incentives to be in place before it is too late. It is reported that 11 traditional nets are coming back in the next 7 months from China.
It is evident that more than the awareness of traffic rules it is the driving etiquettes, respecting the other drivers etc are the main cause of traffic blocks and accidents. A compulsory attendance of a Video presentation on the matter will totally improve the situation.
Since the government is struggling for land acquisition for road widening, introduction of TDR (transfer of development rights) can solve the problem. The existing rule of additional fees for additional F.A.R should be scrapped which will make the builders buy TDR from people who have surrendered land.
Small committees for each of the point to be constituted to go forward and take action so that the development can be made faster and we achieve results in a time target of 2/2/22
It was decided by the Chief Secretary to give power to President of BKRG an M.D. of KSINC to do follow up action with the department and local bodies. T.K.Jose, Additional Chief Secretary incharge of LSGD suggested a permanent committee to be formed officially between Citizens and stake holders to speed up matters.