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Old Posted May 30, 2008, 1:18 PM
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Cochin(KOCHI) Infrastructure Development and The Build Succeed Expand Initiative

Build Succeed Expand Initiative
The Build Succeed Expand initiative involves the concept of macro vision, micro implementation and planned expansion of an initiative involving public participation, government private partnerships. Kerala stands to benefit a lot from this model because of the homogeneity of the population in the state, inter connectivity between towns and existing natural resources. Infrastructure projects the world over have been and continue to be the single largest contributor for the economic stimulus of an economy. It creates opportunities for more jobs, drives ancillary business opportunities, promotes spending and helps in the circulation of money in the market, which is the single most important element for growth.

Kerala is starting late on the growth band wagon, but that does not necessarily mean a bad thing. It has the opportunity to assess and learn from mistakes in other states and cities and plan for those contingencies and beyond when executing these projects. It is important to have public participation in projects that are envisioned because it helps to understand people's concerns, plan and address the relevant concerns and discard non-relevant issues there by sharpening vision with facts on ground for the common success of the project.

Cochin is well poised to be the ideal test bed for the infrastructure initiative without which, it will witness one of the biggest market corrections when all the hype is leveled out with ground realities of incapable infrastructure.


Fundamental requirements:

Infrastructure - Water, Electricity, Roads, Communication, Sewage
Connectivity - Air, Land, Sea
Infrastructure
Cochin can never realize any of its potential until it can clear its existing choke points that are left un-completed. Sadly, these become a testament to success or failure of an idea or vision when projects are mired by inexcusable delays, cost overruns and lack of political will. There are numerous projects in this category that have taken a toll on development. They need to be addressed immediately and in a time bound fashion to instill trust in the public and in investors who would like to invest in Cochin. Talking about Kochi metro or 4 lane road expansion is laughable and incomprehensible when projects that should have long been completed years ago stand in our face as ghost reminders of poor vision, execution and will.


Examples are:
Sahodaran Ayyapan road expansion
Pullepady bridge and road connectivity
Edapally bridge and connectivity
Road surfacing conditions of Kaloor Kadavanthara road.

There is no other place in the world where a contractor lacks accountability for his work as much as we see in Kerala. Standards and Accountability needs to be the paramount emphasis of a change in mentality that must come prior to even conceptualizing a vision. There should be one common standard established for road surfacing requirements with stipulations and heavy fines on contractors not meeting requisite standards. In addition, the roads and associated maintenance must be guaranteed by bond at least for a period of 5 years. Pathetic state of Kaloor Kadavanthara road which was meant to be an efficient by pass for diverting congestion in the city became a nightmare and health risk for innumerable citizens, while the politicians and contractors did nothing. There is no excuse for such apathy in a city that is responsible for bringing in almost two thirds of state revenue collected in taxes. Road construction and management must be left to private national builders with reputation of success rather than local contractors who sideline accountability and do not execute such projects professionally. In addition, there must exist one common standard for road surfacing as is with rest of the world. Repetitive road maintenance on poorly constructed roads has resulted in incalculable losses in overspending with no benefits to the city and its general public.

Cochin needs to focus on the following 4 areas on war footing with sufficient planning to account for growth in the next 25 years.

1. Clean drinking water availability - This is one of the major infrastructure undertaking that must happen at all costs to ensure that KWA in association with or without private entities can put together a project plan to leverage natural resources to supply water for greater cochin for the next 25 years or more. This is a mammoth task, but it has been done and can be done with the vision and will. Los Angeles would have continued to be a desert if not for the vision of an engineer that channeled water from snow peaked mountains more than 200 miles away and it continues to be one of the most significant aqua duct water project for the city even today!

2. Roads - "Build it and they will come". The famous words of Theodore Roosevelt continue to have profound impact in the world and visionaries around the world. Transportation infrastructure will change the face of a city like no other. Transportation infrastructure requires planning for express ways, uninterrupted highways, feeder lanes, fly over’s and having a common standard for road surfacing. Distance becomes a stigma only when accessibility becomes a barrier. Open the possibilities for accessibility and barriers to distance will be broken. No other state in India can have a profound impact with better connectivity of roads than in Kerala because, Kerala with better and faster interconnectivity between cities and towns will provide the best options for an investor with 4 international airports (including one proposed, and interconnected string of towns and cities).

A proven model for "Build it and they will come" philosophy in Kerala is Veegaland. Despite the lack of poor road connectivity and the distance from the city, the "experience" factor of veegaland draws in crowds from far and near and is a testament to repeat phenomenon accomplished by Walt Disney.

3. Communication Infrastructure - This is one area we have made some significant strides and also have a strategic advantage because of the location, and international gateway connectivity. Cochin should focus on providing low cost/free wi-max connectivity within the entire city or even the whole state.

4. Sewage/Garbage - Solid waste management, environment friendly landfills and recycling, hazardous waste separation and management


Original Author JOE THOMAS or CTJOSEPH SSF COCHIN
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2008, 12:24 PM
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Cochin(Kochi's) traffic snarls byproduct of agencies lack of coordination

Kerala - Kochi

Ineptitude of civic agencies causing traffic snarls



Staff Reporter



Widening of North, South bridges remains a far cry





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Demand to relocate bus stops, auto stands away from busy junctions

Many medians do not have proper reflectors, street lights, leading to accidents


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KOCHI: Lack of coordination between civic agencies and the traffic police to ensure smooth flow of traffic in the city during the monsoons has made commuting a nightmarish experience.

The reopening of schools and colleges has made things worse, with vehicles jostling for space in congested roads. The delay by the PWD and the Kochi Corporation in widening the North and South overbridges; the Greater Cochin Development Authority’s inability to relay the badly damaged Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road and the apathy of the Railways in building a 25-metre portion connecting the approach spans of the Pullepady overbridge have seriously affected traffic flow and eroded the credibility of these agencies.

On its part, the National Highways Authority of India has not even initiated the preliminary works to build flyovers at Palarivattom, Edappally, Kundanoor and Vytilla, despite motorists having to wait for around half an hour to cross these junctions during peak hours. The completion of these road, bridge and flyover projects would have eased traffic congestion in the city.

Police initiative


With the Corporation, PWD and the NHAI which are flush with funds not installing sign boards, bus bays and electronic signal systems, the traffic police began putting them up with the help of sponsors. Then came opposition from the Corporation, on the ground that it has the sole right to permit sponsors to display their advertisements.

A police officer termed this as dog-in-the-manger attitude. Motorists are not always happy with the traffic reforms being tried out by the police. The barricades put up at the western side of the South overbridge to prevent vehicles from side roads from entering the bridge, has come up for criticism. The police have been unable to prevail on civic agencies to relocate bus stops and auto stands away from junctions.

The fall in visibility because of the monsoons has also led to vehicles ramming into unlit medians at night. The Corporation has not cleared the slush that its workers dug out from drains, causing inconvenience to pedestrians.
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2008, 12:28 PM
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Cochin Corporation to credit rating route to raise funds from the public

Kerala - Kochi

Civic body told to go in for credit rating



Staff Reporter



In a bid to raise funds by tapping markets





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Kochi Corporation has a triple B Minus rating

‘Rating can be improved with reforms’


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KOCHI: The Corporation of Cochin which is facing a severe fund crunch in implementing its infrastructure projects could soon take the credit rating route to raise funds from the public.

Union Urban Development Secretary M. Ramachandran said here on Monday that Kochi, which is now ranked somewhere in the middle category in credit rating with a triple B Minus rating, could improve its standing with performance on the reforms front. This can lead to a stage at which the Corporation would be able to go to the market to raise funds for its projects. The Kozhikode Corporation had raised money by issuing bonds way back in 1969, pointed out Mr. Ramachandran.

If Kozhikode could do it in 1969, Kochi can do it now, he said as he pointed to more recent examples of urban bodies in several parts of the country tapping the market to raise funds for their projects using their rating. The official said that the Union Urban Development Ministry had started preparations for a meeting of the Prime Minister with Chief Ministers later this year on issues related urbanisation.

The meeting would address concerns of various States and review of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), said the official.

He said that issues such as cost escalation, a major problem facing projects that have reached the implementation stage, would be addressed. The JNNURM programme had been envisaged to ensure participation from the local bodies and the State governments, said Mr. Ramachandran. He pointed out that had it not been for the JNNURM, several new projects would not have taken shape.

Mr. Ramachandran was speaking to reporters after he addressed a special meeting of the Kochi Corporation Council on the role of local bodies in implementing JNNURM. During the interaction, councillors raised the issue of escalating costs, problems related to land acquisition, etc. which were hurdles to implementing some of the JNNURM projects.
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