The key candidates contesting the Lok Sabha polls in the Ernakulam constituency talked to The Hindu about what the development-related priorities should be for the region. And interestingly, there is a resonance among some of the concerns figuring on the top of their agenda.
Congress: solution for ever-thirsty city
Kochi needs to look for new drinking water sources and tap alternative water sources for quenching its thirst in the coming decades, feels K.V. Thomas, the Union Minister for Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs who is seeking re-election to Parliament from Ernakulam Constituency.
Spelling out the key development issues that he has placed at the top of his agenda, Prof. Thomas says the city planners and administrators should realise the fact that Kochi can no longer rely on the Periyar alone for its drinking water requirements. The ground water storage is fast depleting and at the same time, water needs are also increasing and one needs to plan for the next 25 years ahead, he says.
Projects for bringing water from Muvattupuzha River should be planned and rainwater harvesting should be widely promoted, he says.
The senior politician wishes to address the perennial issues of waste management, tackling the mosquito menace and water logging as one complex issue.
None of the cities in the State have been successful in putting in place an effective waste management system. Kochi immediately needs to develop a comprehensive waste management system. The National Warehousing Corporation has been directed to conduct a pilot study to address the pest menace. It has also been asked to take note of the earlier research works done in the sector and come up with a solution. Addressing the issue of water logging will also go a long way in managing the pests, he says.
Sewage treatment and water transport are the other two sectors that call for immediate attention when it comes to the development dreams of the city, says Mr. Thomas.
Recollecting the water transport schemes introduced during his tenure as the State Tourism Minister, Prof. Thomas says the urban transport sector will benefit from the development of waterways using modern and fast vessels. The boat service that was launched from the Vyttila Mobility Hub could not raise to the expected levels, he says.