Thiruvananthapuram

Broadening growth horizons

The State capital is set for a giant leap with plans to expand its boundaries and tap the potential of the ever-burgeoning city.

Largely known as the Information Technology hub of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram could have a more diversified portfolio during the next few years through the implementation of the second phase of the Capital Region Development Programme (CRDP).

Vizhinjam port

A growth corridor, proposed as a key component of the project, is touted to position the capital city among the fastest growing cities in the country. Aimed at optimising the benefits of the Vizhinjam international seaport, the corridor will be developed on both sides of the proposed 79-km-long six-lane outer ring road from Vizhinjam to Navaikulam.

Envisaged as a special investment region, the corridor will be driven by a separate legislation that will serve to circumvent legal and bureaucratic hurdles and transform the region into an attractive destination for investments. For this, the government is considering the viability of investment modes implemented in industrial and special economic zones such as the proposed Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and Shenzhen in China.

Earmarked for business activities, the region will have demarcated zones for IT, manufacturing, marketing and other industrial units.

To make the area habitable, the government also plans to dedicate separate zones for hospitals, educational institutions and residential complexes.

Official sources point out that the benefits of the seaport can be realised only by developing the city’s hinterlands. The absence of a dedicated industrial zone will render the installation a standalone infrastructure.

The completion of the seaport project along with its allied infrastructure, including the rail connectivity to the facility, will make it possible to import raw materials for the industrial units from across the world.

Besides, the convergence of various modes of transport offers the government an opportunity to establish a logistics park close to Vizhinjam.

The proposed facility will serve the purpose of lowering freight and warehousing costs.

The government also hopes to establish the Knowledge City, proposed to link the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and various space research centres, in the region. Besides, the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University will come up at Vilappilsala.

The government expects to attract investments worth ₹25,000 crore in the proposed investment region and provide jobs for 20,000 people directly and 1.2 lakh indirectly.

With most bases covered in terms of planning, the government now faces the herculean task of acquiring land required for the outer ring road and the growth corridor, which will extend to 2.5 km on either side of the road.

Rough estimates

Going by rough estimates, the road will require around 1,500 acres of land and the investment zone much more. The options of issuing land bonds and creating a land pool scheme are being considered in view of the financial hurdles. A draft report has been prepared for implementing the land bond scheme.

In addition, a consultant has been selected through a global tender process to create a master plan for the project and evolving the land use policy for the region.

The aerial survey of the land required for the road development was done by adopting the LiDAR (light detection and ranging) remote sensing technology for the first time in the State.

Efforts were under way to commence the survey for demarcating the zones for the growth corridor.

Essentially, the CRDP will focus on creating a satellite city and integrating the region with the ‘mainland’ at a later stage, possibly drawing parallels with Old Delhi and New Delhi.

The project also aims at plugging any existing infrastructural inadequacies in the city.

Various schemes for developing a comprehensive drinking water and sewerage network, sanitation, underground cabling, parking, cleaning water bodies, and heritage circuits have also been proposed under the programme.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 6:04:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/broadening-growth-horizons/article30917054.ece

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