Team led by Mayor calls on Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi
The civic administrators of Kochi have sought the support of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the implementation of major infrastructure projects in Kochi, including the metro railway.
The Kochi team led by Mayor Tony Chammany urged the Prime Minister to clear the metro railway proposal when it comes before the Union Cabinet. The delegation sought his support for the implementation of flyovers at Edappally, Palarivattom, Vyttila and Kundannoor and also establishing a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority.
Union Minister K.V. Thomas and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy led the Kochi delegation in its meeting with Ms. Gandhi. The Congress president was also apprised of the preparatory works carried out in the city for the project. Her support for the early clearance of the project was also sought, Mr. Chammany said.
During the meeting with Saugata Roy, the Minister of State for Urban Development, the civic representatives sought measures for the formation of a Kochi Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority.
The services of the Institute of Urban Transport, New Delhi, may also be used for consultation and optimising and co-ordinating the multi-mode public transport system for the city, the civic administrators requested.
Though the original plan was to meet Union Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath regarding the formation of the authority, the meeting did not take place as the Parliament session was cut short, Mr. Chammany said.
The Kochi delegation included T.K. Ashraf, Soumini Jain, R. Thyagarajan, Essy Joseph and Ratnamma Raju, chairpersons of various standing committees of the Kochi Corporation; K.J. Jacob, leader of the CPI(M) in Corporation Council; and N. Anilkumar, a CPI (M) councillor. Charles Dias, MP, also accompanied the delegation.
With three National Highways passing through the city in five directions, three National Waterways, 14 State Waterways and rail lines going in three directions, Kochi needs a multimode public transport system. The system can be put in place only with the expert technical assistance from institutes such as the Institute of Urban Transport, the civic authorities argued in a representation submitted to Mr. Roy.
The National Urban Transport Policy of 2006 envisaged the setting up of a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority in all million-plus cities to facilitate coordinated planning and implementation of urban public transport systems. The population of Kochi Urban Agglomeration was estimated to be 13.60 lakh according to the 2001 census. A statutory framework was also needed for the authority to be effective, it was pointed out.
Citing the instances of formation of such authorities in various cities across the country, the Kochi administration said that the Institute of Urban Transport had supported some municipal corporations for setting up the authority.
The national policy had also offered that the “Central government would encourage the setting up of professional bodies that have the capacity to make scientific assessment of the transport demands of the cities. This would encourage the setting up of umbrella bodies that regulate the overall working of all public transport systems and ensure that the city has a comprehensive public transport system providing integrated and seamless travel facility to the people,” the representation said.