City projects fail to soar as Kerala ‘emerges’

The just-concluded high voltage Emerging Kerala, aimed at big time state development, could not, however, address some of the vital issues which Kochi very badly needed.

The sewage treatment plant proposed at Mundamveli could not be initiated due to the objection by the Coastal Regulation Zone Management Authority (CRZMA).

The corporation’s plan was to construct a modern plant on the five acres owned by the Greater Cochin Development Authority.

However, the corporation’s efforts to clear the mangroves there landed it in court for violating CRZ norms. The Coastal Zone Management Authority objected to the project and a case is pending in the high court.

The authority opposed the project as experts pointed out that the area was part of the Vembanad backwaters and was defined as a critically vulnerable area in the CRZ notification.

The Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP)-funded scheme could have resolved the issues of sewage treatment in the city.

“The corporation should initiate steps to exert pressure on the Union Environment Ministry to get the project cleared by CRZMA”, said minister K. Babu.

Meanwhile, it may be a daunting task for the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) which recently announced a slew of mega developmental projects as part of its prestigious Vision 2030 programme, to get environmental clearance for them.

The GCDA authorities failed in identifying an agency which could conduct an environment impact assessment (EIA) study on the second phase of development of the Marine Drive which featured on the Emerging Kerala website.

According to environmental experts, it would be legally impossible to get environmental clearance for the Marine Drive second phase development as reclamation of the Vembanad Lake, a Ramsar site, cannot be permitted.

Many other projects, funded by both the KSUDP and JNNURM in transport, water supply, sewerage, drainage and road-development have fallen by the wayside due to issues relating to land acquisition, environmental clearance, impractical proposals and local-level opposition.

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