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A new master plan for Kochi city

26-08-2010

A new master plan for Kochi city, thought about 10 years ago, is only now beginning to take shape. But there are doubts if the plan will be able to deliver the goods.

An important question is how the plan is supposed to help a city saddled with congested roads and haphazard growth.

“The growth of the city has been unimaginable,” says K.J. Sohan, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Development of the City Corporation.

Had the plan taken shape 10 years ago, public transport and housing would have got an impetus.

Water-supply is a major problem facing the city now, he says.

Water sources should be public property.

A good portion of the waterfront areas in Kochi is in the hands of private developers, he says.

The councillor says the topography of the city will help evolve a wonderful waterway, which, if integrated with the road and rail transport systems, will decongest the roads.

Transport

Mr. Sohan speaks of transit-oriented development in his report on the “Transport system for the people of Kochi.”

The transport corridors should back high-density growth in a city area. There should be a surcharge on such type of growth to meet the transport costs, he says.
There is no city in the country that has such a network of waterbodies as Kochi does.

These link the suburbs to the city, Mr. Sohan says. In fact, Kochi boasts three national waterways, which, however, remain unutilised for public transport.
The National Waterways Authority of India promotes only cargo transport through these waterways, he says.

Boats are so obsolete and the water-transport infrastructure so crude that people find road transport much safer and faster.

He says the master plan, for projected growth up to 2025, can give a direction to the city's development, especially with focus on transport mechanisms and infrastructure.

Over the past 10 years, nearly 25 apartment complexes with over 10 storeys each have come up in the city, he says.
A master plan would have gone a long way in determining the water-supply and power requirements of the city.

Zoning

Zoning of residential, commercial and industrial categories help specify the needs of water, power and transport facilities in a given area.
The development of the city has taken place along the railway line from north to south, but with only two over-bridges connecting the two areas separated by the tracks, the entry points into the city has become choked.

This points to a lack of spatial planning, Mr. Sohan says.

The recent changes in the building rules have been good in limiting the built-up area according to the road width. Huge constructions will now move out of the city area, he says.

The blueprint of the master plan will be notified for the people to raise objections.

The Hindu Property Plus – 31.07.2010

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