If all goes well, another Smart City is likely to come up in the city. It may come up at Cochin Port Trust land in five years. In February, Union Ministry of Shipping announced an ambitious plan to build one Smart City each at the countrys 12 major ports at an estimated total investment of Rs 50,000 crore.
Each of these Green Smart Cities will be built at an expenditure of about Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 crore. Also more modernisation proposals are on the anvil to change the face of ports in the country including making them into companies from existing format of trusts.
According to Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry president C S Kartha, building a Smart City on Cochin Port land will be a big boon to Port Trust as it is facing severe financial crisis. Kochi port has around 383 hectares in its possession.
Kochi will be an ideal location to develop a Smart City. It will be a major area to generate revenue for the port. Around 152 hectares on the southern strip of the Willingdon Island has already been reclaimed. At present, the Port is spending a lot of money on activities which will result in revenue loss. Unlike other major ports, Kochi does not have large areas of land for development and therefore the available land needs to be utilised properly in accordance to the environmental rules and regulations, he added.
According to the ministrys proposal, these cities will be built in accordance with international standards and will have wide roads, green energy, advanced townships, house schools, commercial complexes and ample amount of vegetation. In addition, these Smart Cities and ports will have e-governance links, international standard facilities, special economic zones, ship breaking and ship building centres besides allied things. The 12 major ports in the country which have been identified for the Smart City project are-Kandla, Mumbai, KEPT, Marmugao, New Managlore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia), it is learnt. These ports under Central Governments control have between them an estimated 2.64 lakh acres of land. Mumbai Port Trust alone has about 753 hectares of land with it, valued at about Rs 46,000 crore.
Source: The New Indian Express
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14 June 2017