AS Anuja, Municipal Commissioner, Cochin Municipal Corporation
Kochi is a developed city in Kerala where one can enjoy tranquil backwaters and verdant vistas as well as the most modern amenities. It is home to Asia´s largest mall - Lulu Mall - and is a major IT hub for business houses across the country. The mandate to provide infrastructure for this fast-growing city belongs to the Cochin Municipal Corporation, which undertakes all activities related to town planning, road works, revenue and health, among others. AS Anuja, Municipal Commissioner, Cochin Municipal Corporation, speaks to AHLAM RAIS about the latest developments and future plans for this vibrant city.
How long have you been associated with the corporation? What has been your value addition to the city?
I have been the municipal commissioner for the past two years. Prior to this, I was associated with the Cochin Municipality for 13 years. In terms of value addition, earlier, the city did not possess a solid waste management system and to establish one was a major challenge. However, now land has been acquired for the same and we will soon create a solid waste management plant for the city.
The corporation is planning many road projects; when are the tenders expected to be floated?
Under the corporation, there are 74 wards and, every year, we allot Rs 75 lakh for each ward. Of the total amount, Rs 65 lakh is dedicated for the construction and maintenance of roads. Tenders will be floated soon for more than 150 road projects. The corporation is also planning to use plastic to tar the roads and strengthen them.
Please highlight your ongoing initiatives.
We look after basic infrastructure projects and have constructed numerous stadiums, roads and buildings along with installing street lights. Some ongoing projects include the solid waste management plant, town hall development and the construction of a slaughter house. Also, in Kochi, the land is marshy as it is a low lying area. There is no proper sewerage; thus, we are planning to construct a sewerage system too. In terms of street lighting, the corporation has ensured that the city is always lit up. For smooth operation, we pay about Rs 93-95 lakh every month as electricity charges. We are actually planning to increase street lights to ensure that no area is left in darkness.
What are the hot spots within the city for real-estate development?
Kochi has recently witnessed the emergence of many big IT projects. This has resulted in people investing in the region´s real-estate segment. The hot spots in the city are Edappally, Vaitila and Kaloor.
Which are the JNNURM-funded projects in the city?
At present, JNNURM projects such as sewerage systems, drainage systems, water supply systems, solid waste management systems and road works are being implemented. We are also in talks to construct a unified transport system that will include all modes of transportation such as waterways, roadways, the Kochi metro and railways.
Is there any budgeted support coming from the government or other agencies?
We receive budgeted support in a 50:30:20 ratio. Of this, about 50 per cent comes from the Central Government, 30 per cent from the state government and 20 per cent from the corporation.
Any upcoming initiative that you would like to share?
For Kochi, we are planning to explore an e-waste treatment and plastic recyclable plant as the use of plastics has become a menace. We have already established a plastics shedding unit but, even then, there are some plastics and waste materials that cannot be recycled at all. Hence, we are planning to set up a plastic recyclable plant and reuse the plastics for tarring during road construction.
Year of establishment: 1967
Total city area: 98.4 km
Current city population: Nearly 6.5 lakh
Municipal councillors: 74