The State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) has recommended environment clearance for the first phase of the SmartCity Kochi project on condition that reclamation of paddy fields will not be permitted.

The promoters had requested the filling up of some area coming under the 4.5 hectares identified for the first phase of the project.

But the SEAC made it clear that no reclamation of paddy fields will be allowed as it will result in violation of provisions under the existing rules and regulations. The committee is yet to ascertain the extent of paddy fields and wetlands in the area handed over to the promoters.

Paddy cultivation was active in the region for years but farmers later left their jobs following indiscriminate reclamation of wetlands and paddy fields in Kakkanad and nearby areas for real estate development.

SmartCity Kochi will come up on three parcels of land of 100 acres, 131 acres and 14 acres.

The first phase comes under the 131 acres.

The SEAC has recommended environment clearance for the 63,945.50 sq.m built-up area of the first phase of SmartCity on condition that 15.5 per cent of energy be saved using alternate energy sources. Sewage water should be used for non-drinking purposes and temporary storage. Only indigenous plants should be used for the green area development.

SmartCity promoters informed the SEAC that they would be transporting the e-waste to the collection facility operated by the Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Limited, which runs the Common Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (CHWTSDF) at Ambalamedu. They have also clarified that there will be no generation of biomedical waste in the first phase.

For solid waste management, an on-site treatment plant would be set up by the promoters.

The SEAC has suggested that the promoters look for alternate sources of water including the option of open wells to meet their requirements. Over 4,300 persons are expected to use the facilities coming up as part of the first phase of the project.

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