Cochin Smart Mission Limited is expected to float the tenders for various works without delay.
The city’s journey towards becoming a Smart City under the Centre’s ambitious scheme for urban rejuvenation is expected to shift to top gear after Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac earmarked Rs.500 crore for the project in the State Budget.
“We could immediately start implementing the detailed project reports in various sectors. Kochi will receive a matching grant from the Centre. The Project Management Consultant will be appointed by the end of this month,” said A. P. M. Mohammed Hanish, State Mission Director.
Cochin Smart Mission Limited is expected to float the tenders for various works without delay. The project management consultant will specifically focus on area-based development, concentrating on the city’s central business district and West Kochi. Priority will be given to waste management, rejuvenation of waterbodies, improving and building pedestrian walkways and cycle tracks.
The other key components for Kochi’s urban rejuvenation are making available tapped water supply, redesigning of streets and laying of ducts, disabled-friendly public spaces, redevelopment of railway stations, augmenting water transport, introduction of e-rickshaws and electric vehicles for last-mile connectivity, creating and managing open spaces, integrating different commuting modes and enabling seamless connectivity among them, seamless Wi-Fi connectivity, tapping renewable energy sources, smart lighting, improving security through CCTV surveillance, waterfront development and development of markets.
The Cochin Smart Mission will mobilise resources within timelines and take necessary measures for capacity-building activities as per the guidelines issued by the Centre. It will have complete operational freedom to execute the Smart City proposals.
The budget has included a proposal to set up a cultural complex in memory of Sahodaran Ayyappan, social reformer and rationalist thinker.
The city will also have an indoor stadium in the name of Olympian Chandrasekharan.
Except for the allocation for the Smart City Mission project, the State Budget has not addressed the paucity of funds for improving the city’s infrastructure needs, said T.J. Vinod, Deputy Mayor of Kochi Corporation.
“We had expected more support from the government for land acquisition for various projects. But the Budget has not included any such fund,” he said.