The State Cabinet on Wednesday gave in-principle approval for the Urban Sustainable Land Reconstitution project in Kochi.
The concept project document envisions rejuvenating the existing commercial and residential hub of Kochi, especially the Marine Drive and its precincts. The project envisages developing an extension of the Marine Drive northwards in the direction of Vaduthala. The identified project area starts from the Marine Drive and the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary in the southern part to Cheranalloor grama panchayat in the north, including Vaduthala and Pachalam and Mulavukad island on the eastern side, according to the concept document.
The government plans to constitute a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for taking the project forward in a time-bound manner. A Project Implementation Committee and a general body will be constituted till a detailed project report (DPR) is prepared. A chief executive officer will be appointed to oversee the implementation of the project. The Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) consultancy service unit, which drew up the concept document, will be the project consultant, said a communication issued by the State government after the Cabinet meeting.
“The project seeks to redevelop an area of the urban fabric through scientifically planned and executed land reconstitution,” according to the concept document.
The proposed redevelopment of the area will be made possible through land acquisition and reconstitution. The concept document hopes to get around 210 hectares for development. The identified area is along the shoreline with a total length of approximately 9.1 km. The project will be developed in an “environmentally sensitive, sustainable energy efficient manner taking into consideration the existing communities, who would be the major stakeholders in the project,” according to the concept note.
Meanwhile, T.J. Vinod, Ernakulam MLA, criticised the manner in which the State government pushed the project in the constituency.
Mr. Vinod feared that the project might lead to evacuation of the local population, who had been living in the coastal belt, identified for the project, for generations. “No project that will remove the local population from their residential areas shall be allowed,” he cautioned.
“The State government has not included the Ernakulam MLA, who represents the project area in the State Assembly, in any discussion on the project. All that it did was to invite the Kochi Mayor and the president of the Mulavukad panchayat for a meeting in Thiruvananthapuram a few months ago. The State government shall hold consultations with all stakeholders in a transparent manner and address concerns raised by stakeholders,” he said.