Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The future of the integrated bus terminal at Vytilla, mooted by the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), will be decided at a meeting to be convened by the Minister for Agriculture Mullakkara Ratnakaran.

Chairperson of GCDA M.C. Josephine, Secretary Johnny Sebastian and Senior Town Planner V. Gopalakrishna Pillai met the Minister last week to discuss the handing over of land at Vytilla, presently owned by the Department of Agriculture.

Even though the Minister promised to convene a meeting of all concerned, nothing has been heard from his office since then. The GCDA shot off a letter on Monday to the Agriculture Minister, urging him to convene the meeting at the earliest.

“If it materialises, this terminal will be pivotal to the future development of the city,” said Ms. Josephine. However, the project is hanging fire due to the Ministry of Agriculture’s reluctance in handing over the land.

The Ministry has been citing reasons that the land, presently owned by Kerafed, is to be used for constructing an outlet for agricultural produce. It has also pointed out that there are Union Government restrictions in handing over land identified for agricultural purposes.

On their part, the Authority is learnt to have volunteered to acquire some land for Kerafed elsewhere in Greater Kochi limits. Vytilla, it is pointed out, holds the advantage of being the hub of development activities and thus is the right point to have a bus terminal.

The Authority had done preliminary work on the project. It suggested that the proposed terminal will connect the National Waterways and the Metro along with city and long-distance bus services.

Earlier, the district panchayat made an attempt to take up the case of the bus terminal. It was suggested that the district panchayat would provide 2.8 hectares of land for the project. The project report, which was prepared by ICICI-Kinfra and discussed at the meeting convened by the district panchayat, had provisions for 60 bus bays and other facilities initially.

The idea for an integrated bus terminal was mooted to integrate the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation’s central terminal in Ernakulam South and the boat jetty and Kaloor stands so that traffic of heavy vehicles inside the city could be reduced.