The State government is yet to take any solid steps towards the aim of declaring Kochi as a Metro city. In response to a calling attention motion moved by Hibi Eden, MLA, in the Assembly in February, Manjalamkuzhi Ali, Minister for Urban Affairs, had said that the proposal had been included in the ‘100-day programme’ of the UDF government.
The Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) had earlier submitted a proposal to form a Kochi Metropolitan Regional Development Authority for a total area of 4,574 sq.km. with a population of 46 lakh. The jurisdictional area was increased by including Vaikom, Thodupuzha, Cherthala, Chalakudy and Kodungallur from neighbouring districts along with entire area of Ernakulam.
However, this was revised by the Chief Town Planner by removing Kothamangalam and Muvattupuzha from the Ernakulam revenue district and excluding Thodupuzha from the GCDA’s proposal.
The revised plan stood at 2,033 sq.km. with a population of 35 lakh after including Mala, Kodungallur, Angamali, Perumbavoor, Piravom, Kolenchery, Thalayolaparambu, Vaikom and Cherthala to the present city area.
The proposal was welcomed by MLAs from neighbouring districts, including A.M. Arif of Cherthala and T.N. Prathapan of Kodungallur. “However, nothing much has happened after that move by the GCDA”, Mr. Eden said.
The minister had also clarified that boundaries of revenue districts would not be an obstacle in the notification process and that the State government would consider the request.
No clash of interests
Responding to the issue, N. Venugopal, GCDA chairman, said the proposal needed to be approved by the Cabinet and forwarded for concurrence of the Union government before the State government could notify it.
He also ruled out clash of interest between the proposed Metropolitan Authority and other civic bodies involved, like Kochi Corporation, municipalities and panchayats in the neighbourhood.
“The Metropolitan Development Authority can focus on development projects, while the civic bodies can proceed with the revenue generation and administrational activities, as it is doing now,” he said.