A slew of development projects got wheels in 2013; but the year had in store woes and shocks too for Kochi
Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed’s comment in jest at a function held here on Sunday that development of the State is not about the development of Kochi alone perhaps captured the kind of year 2013 was for the city.
During the year, the city did benefit from a slew of development projects, many of which had been in the pipeline for quite sometime.
The prestigious Kochi Metro Rail project moved on from the preparatory works mode with the construction getting launched in June. A 1,095-day countdown was kicked off on the occasion for the commissioning of the project, which has now come down to 888 days. E. Sreedharan, the Principal Advisor to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, has said that the project is on track for a time-bound commissioning.
Earlier in May, DMRC completed Salim Rajan road overbridge, the first of the five preparatory works, as part of Metro Rail at an investment of about Rs. 38 crore. North road overbridge, the second major preparatory work, was completed in two years at an investment of Rs. 50 crore and opened to the public on Sunday. Work on the long delayed flyover at Edappally along with a pair of bridges and walkway at an estimated cost of about Rs. 140 crore was launched in November. DMRC has set an 18-month period for the completion of the flyover.
The perennially delayed SmartCity Kochi project gathered some momentum with the construction of the first phase of the project spread over 50 acres getting underway in September on receiving environment clearance. The first IT building, conceived as one of the largest LEED Platinum-rated IT buildings of India, is expected to be ready within 18-22 months at an investment of about Rs 170-180 crore.
The launch of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in August proved a crowning glory for the city-based Cochin Shipyard.
The Cochin International Airport Limited removed one of the shortcomings in its otherwise glittering record when a new state-of-the-art radar system was installed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at a cost of Rs. 16 crore in September. It has considerably reduced the take-off and landing time thus minimising fuel consumption.
The severely underutilised waterways of the city received a fresh impetus when the State Water Transport Department launched the Vyttila Mobility Hub-Kakkanad boat service in November. The service is expected to become a vital feeder service for the Kochi Metro in future.
The district got a coveted title when it was declared the State’s first e-district in February. The IT-enabled public service implemented through the State IT Mission helps the public to avail 23 services through Akshaya centres.
The campaign to save the Kochi Cooperative Medical College had the desired effect, as it was taken over by the State government.
Earlier this month, the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) kick-started the construction of the much-delayed Bund Road project. The new road running parallel to SA Road connecting Thevara and Champakkara through Thykoodam on NH Bypass is expected to help motorists avoid the traffic snarls on SA Road and Vyttila Junction. It may be thrown open to the public by next year-end.
The work of Moolamppilly-Pizhala Bridge and Valiyakadamakkudy-Chathanad Bridge part of the larger Moolamppilly-Chathanad Road was launched at a collective investment of Rs. 96.50 crore on Sunday. An 18-month deadline has been set for the completion of the project, which is likely to fulfil the longstanding demand of the islanders of Kadamakkudy for connectivity.