‘Boom barrier’ proposed for Fort Kochi beach to prevent waste from washing up on the shore
Environment, climate resilience, and basic infrastructural proposals to strengthen water supply and sewerage network featured prominently in the Kochi Corporation’s Budget for the 2021-22 financial year.
A sum of ₹60 crore has been set aside to augment water supply. New pipelines and pumping stations will be set up in areas relying on water tankers. Water quality will be monitored, and testing laboratories will be set up. Pipelines lying near drains and dysfunctional connections will be replaced, and construction of overhead tanks at Edakochi, Karuvelipady, Kaloor, Pachalam, and Kunnumpuram will be completed.
Kochi is one of the 10 cities where the Union government’s Jal Jeevan Mission will be implemented, focusing on providing water and sewerage connections to all households. Additional funds will be made available to the Corporation for this scheme.
The Budget proposes a decentralised sewage treatment system, besides modernising the existing treatment plant at Elamkulam, in collaboration with the Kerala Water Authority. Using Central and State government funds as well, a total of ₹65 crore is the proposed outlay for a well-connected sewerage system.
With its proximity to the sea and being surrounded by waterbodies, Kochi is particularly vulnerable to climate change-related disasters, making the protection of waterbodies, mangrove patches, canals and groves important, the Budget notes. A detailed study will be done in each division to identify areas, homes, and institutions that are vulnerable to the detrimental effects of climate-related changes. A sum of ₹5 lakh has been set aside to update the incomplete biodiversity register for the Corporation. For preliminary work on a biodiveristy park near Mangalavanam, where the Kerala State Housing Board had proposed an exhibition centre, the budget proposes an amount of ₹25 lakh. To increase green cover, protect public spaces, and remove encroachments on them, ₹10 lakh was proposed.
The Budget also proposes a “boom barrier” for the Fort Kochi beach. It is expected to prevent waste from washing up on the beach, but will collect it for recycling. A localised study is in the offing to assess the existing mechanisms to deal with natural disasters, identify communities that are vulnerable and weak, and the help they might need. This “resilience assessment” will take off in Tharebhagam, Manassery, Gandhinagar, and Island South.
The outlay for solid waste management in the Budget is ₹20 crore, with focus on decentralised management and treatment at source, along with a scientific centralised system. Apartments, hotels, and hospitals will have to set up decentralised waste management units, and an organic compost plant will come up at Thevara.
A total of ₹56 crore has been proposed for waterlogging alleviation measures, including a master plan and study to pinpoint problem areas, a plan to protect the Vembanad lake, and map and protect public land along the banks of the canals.
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