Kochi

Japanese delegation offers help in civic, environmental issues

A team of Mayors and others from Japan at the Kochi Corporation councilhall on Friday. Photo: Vipin Chandran

A team of Mayors and others from Japan at the Kochi Corporation councilhall on Friday. Photo: Vipin Chandran   | Photo Credit: Vipin Chandran

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The 38-member delegation, including 5 mayors, is in Kochi

: A visiting Japanese delegation which includes Mayors of five cities evinced interest in helping Kochi tide over problems like sewage treatment, water and disaster management and environmental issues.

They might offer technical and other assistance if all goes well with the mutual cooperation pact expected with Kochi Corporation. The 38-member Japanese delegation also included members of Lake Nakaumi, Lake Shinji and Mt. Daisen Area Economic Council and the Sanin India Association. Sanin is located 900 km from Tokyo.

Mayor of Matsue City Government Masataka Matsuura probed ways to forge mutual cooperation and economic development in water management, handling industrial waste, recycling and IT.

“In step two, post the visit, we will discuss how to apply for overseas development assistance programmes like project formulation survey under Government Commission on Projects for ODA, Overseas Economic Cooperation and JICA Partnership Programme.”

Making a presentation before the guests at the corporation council hall here on Friday about Kochi’s SWOT – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats — Rajan Chedambath, Director of Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (C-HED) of Kochi Corporation said the city’s sewage-treatment plant catered to hardly five per cent of the residents. Solid waste treatment too was a major problem, despite having a treatment plant at Brahmapuram.

Deficit water supply in many parts of the city was another issue, he said. Very narrow roads and transportation issues too are hurdles to road users.

Climate change is posing a major challenge since sea level along the coast is expected to rise by 30 cm in two decades, submerging large parts of the city. A proper disaster management warning and response system too is lacking. Unplanned development has led to plenty of environmental problems too.

The corporation also sought Japan’s technical assistance in preserving the city’s rich and pluralistic heritage since many centuries-old buildings have either degenerated or are facing demolition threat.

Mayor Tony Chammany said Kochi had inked sister-city agreements with a few European and US cities. “We look forward for technical support from Sanin’s areas of expertise.”

Having visited many infrastructure projects in the city, the Japanese team would visit Brahmapuram garbage treatment plant.

Mr. Matsuura said solutions to Kochi’s problems could be found one by one, through discussions and initiatives taken at appropriate government level. “We visited Infopark here and we have many common areas of interest.”

Speaking at a media interaction later in the evening, T. Balakrishnan, the MD of Inkel Limited and president of India-Japan Chamber of Commerce-Kerala (INJACK), said Kerala firms had tie-ups with Japanese enterprises even before Maruti Suzuki began producing cars in India.

The delegation’s mission is to identify areas of cooperation with Kerala with special focus on Kochi. Japanese city governments are looking for projects which can be funded with Japan’s ODA. Business persons in the team are looking for doing business in fisheries and marine products, tourism, healthcare and IT.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 4:50:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/japanese-delegation-offers-help-in-civic-environmental-issues/article6577868.ece

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