Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) is all set to fund some major beautification projects for Kochi based on a proposal prepared by the town and country planning department.
The proposal, on the lines of Singara model in Chennai, includes multiple projects for infrastructure development and also aims at improving the basic amenities, which may boost the tourism sector.
The beautification of Kochi city will involve improving pedestrian amenities, easing traffic movement through improving road infrastructure, developing parks, playgrounds, beautifying streets and areas with paintings, renovating old markets, conserving heritage buildings and cleaning up clogged waterbodies.
“The proposal, which is in the preliminary stage of discussion, will be presented before the chief minister, and an order on this proposal is expected in two weeks,” a town and country planning official said.
A senior official with the local self-government department (LSGD) said KIIFB will fund the project. “They have presented the proposal before the LSGD and it has been decided to present it again before the chief minister. It has been envisaged to embellish the city area including Fort Kochi and Mattancherry keeping in mind the development of the city for the next 50 years. We have to redesign the city by adding numerous factors including pedestrian amenities. Chief minister’s office (CMO) is also interested in taking up the city beautification since the project itself was put forward at the CMO level,” said the official.
The town planning official said since the project involves funds to the tune of several crores of rupees, the government will have to formulate a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for implementing the project.
“Already there is a competition at the national level to beautify cities in the respective states. The department will have to conduct detailed studies, identify workable projects, and find an agency to implement the project in a systematic way,” said a senior official.
Experts said that any beautification project of a city should not be implemented for the sake of beauty alone. Instead, it should improve road infrastructure and take steps to pass on the history of heritage structures to the next generation.
“There are many heritage structures along the Park Avenue Road leading up to Marine Drive. But nobody knows the history of the structures. If we remove the shacks which have come in front of these structures, people will get a clear view of the structures. We can install plaques detailing the history of these structures in front of it. History of the city should also be included in the city beautification project,” said Ajayakumar, retired chief town planner, said.
Beautification of Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode cities will also be taken up by KIIFB.