The Kochi Corporation is lagging far behind the other urban civic bodies across the country chosen for the implementation of the Solar City Programme being conceived by the Union Ministry for New and Renewable Energy.
Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram Corporations are among the 60 municipalities chosen for the programme in the initial stage during the 11th Five Year Plan. While the preparation of the master plan for the implementation of the programme is in the final stage in other States, it is yet to get under way in Kerala, said Aneesh S. Prasad, joint technical director of ANERT (Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology) during a presentation held at the Corporation Council on Friday.
The programme was conceived by the Union government to meet the exponential growth in energy consumption in urban areas owing to rapid urbanisation taking place across the globe. ANERT is the nodal agency for the implementation of the programme in the State.
Mr. Prasad said that unlike many other projects, the planning and implementation of the Solar City Programme will be decided by the stakeholders in the urban pockets concerned including the civic bodies, industry, people's representatives, and private partners. The government needs to be approached only for the funding of the implementation, he said.
Of the 60 cities, four will be selected as model cities and 10 as pilot cities. The two urban civic bodies identified for the programme in the State can explore the possibility of being included in either of these categories if they intensify the completion of ground works.
The Union government will allot Rs.9.50 crore for a model solar city with matching grant to be found by the State government and the local body concerned, whereas for a pilot city the grant component will be Rs.2.50 crore by the Centre to be matched by the State government and local body.
To begin with, the corporation will have to form a Solar City Cell with senior administrator of the local body, city engineer, representatives of the State nodal agency, and other agencies capable of participating in the planning and implementation of the programme. A stakeholders committee should also be formed. A master plan should be drawn up for which the corporation should forecast the energy need at least for the next 10 years.
Later, a special council of the corporation reviewed the progress of the pilot project of Rajiv Awas Yojana and approved the draft detailed project reports for Thuruthy Colony in West Kochi and Udaya Colony near the South railway station. A City Sanitation Plan drawn up by the German International Corporation (GIZ) was also presented at the meeting.