‘We should look beyond political interests for the common good of city’

A new outlook is required for taking the city forward to developments conceived for 2030, said G. Karthikeyan, Speaker of the Assembly.

He was speaking after inaugurating the Vision 2030 Kochi and New Initiatives of GCDA, the development seminar organised by the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) here on Thursday.

“Urban development cannot be done by a handful of engineers and officials. Our concept of urban development is stuck there. On the other hand, models available in developed nations have artists, historians and cultural activists being part of the urban planning process. Efforts made by the business community should be promoted to evolve a new development culture. Also, the attempts being made at individual sectors should be coordinated with a comprehensive vision,” Mr. Karthikeyan said.

We should be able to look beyond constricted political interests and work for the common good of the city, he added.

In his presidential address, Manjalamkuzhi Ali, Minister for Urban Affairs, said that steps will be initiated to start development authorities in all districts. The authorities in Kozhikode, Thrissur and Kollam, which were stopped earlier, will be reinstated.

“Cities in the State are developing very fast. While only 27 per cent of the population in the State was in urban areas a decade ago, it is now 47 per cent,” he said.

Complex issues

Delivering the keynote address, K. Babu, Minister for Excise and Ports, said that the development issues of the city were complex. All development efforts needed a conducive socio-political climate. The GCDA should be restructured as a Metropolitan Authority with more administrative powers, he said.

S. Sarma, MLA, said that policy decisions like the amendments to the Cabotage Act would increase the flow of surface transport through the city by boosting the import and export traffic. All development activities meant for the city should consider aspects like these.

Suitable concept

Benny Behnan, MLA, said that concepts borrowed from outside might not suit the requirements of the city. The idea of having Metro Rail could be a disaster, if there were no vision about parking facilities and road connectivity. Jose Thettayil, MLA, supported this view by saying that stress should be given to suburban railway system. The proposed Metro Rail is not enough to solve the issues of those commuting to the city from suburbs on a daily basis.

Ludy Luiz, MLA, and P.I. Sheikh Pareed, District Collector, were present. N. Venugopal, chairman, and V.K. Prathapachandran, secretary, GCDA, also spoke.

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