It is always great to get feedback from all of you out there, because it helps me understand the pulse of the people and also identify aspects and details that I may never have though of.
Prasant has identified and enumerated 22 infrastructural improvements that he feels Trivandrum urgently needs. Anish (scorpiogenus) has added his perspective to the items in the list. I think both these gentlemen have done an insightful and intuitive job which sadly seems to be difficult for our urban planners to emulate.
My personal favourites are:
#1. Creation of a 6/8 lane IT corridor along the Mangalapuram - Vizhinjam axis: Earlier we had been taking of a 6 lane road from Kazhakkoottam to Kovalam. But with the arrival of the Rs 6000 Crore Technocity at Mangalapuram and the even more massive deep-water port at Vizhinjam, the length and capacity of the corridor has to be expanded. With GoK and NHAI finally agreeing on the BOT model for the 4-laning of the NH-47 from Trivandrum to Cherthalai and Kanyakumari, 4-laning of the IT Corridor will happen by 2010. By then, 4-lanes will be woefully inadequate and it will be prudent for GoK to either request NHAI to 6/8 lane this stretch or add the additional lanes by itself.
#2. Highway to Tirunelveli & Tuticorin: Trivandrum has always had strong trade links with the hinterland of Southern Tamilnadu. There is already a proposal for a road via Ambasamudram. With the coming of the Vizhinjam port, these areas could provide the land needed for setting up SEZs and port-based industries.
#3. and #22. - Ring roads and other improvements - They are already covered under the Mobility Plan proposed for JNNURM. Hopefully, with 80% Union funding, things should happen faster than the often-still born projects of the State Government.
#8. & # 9. - Setting up a professional Urban Development Authority: Totally agree to that one, as I had gone into in detail in an earlier post.
# 10. - Airport Expansion: This is a trouble-some item in view of the land constraints faced by any city-based airport. Trivandrum International Airport is right in the middle of the metropolitan area, which makes for very quick and convenient commuting but which also precludes acquisition of large extents of land. A possible solution is forming in my thoughts, and I will try to put it down in my next post.
# 15. - Railway expansion: Expansion of Trivandrum Central and Kochuveli stations is well underway. The suburban train service from Kollam to Neyyatinkara (till Trivandrum Central in Phase I) is already under implementation. Suggestions by Prasant and Anish to create a ring-railway will work in parallel with a ring-road system to decongest the core urban area and speed up the city's outward expansion.
There is a recommendation for an elevated Light Railway System in the Mobility Plan, which can be combined with the EMU-based ring railway line. The line from Punalur can pass via Venjaramoodu and Nedumangad to meet the main line at Nemom/Balaramapuram, bypassing the congested Trivandrum Central. A line from Kazhakoottam to either Venjaramoodu or Nedumangad would close the loop in the ring line. This alignment will minimise land acquisition within the urban area, which would prove very costly and difficult. Nemom is already proposed as a Coach Care Facility and suburban terminus. Thus it could be an ideal junction. Kazhakkoottam will be the other junction and probably will handle a greater passenger load considering its proximity to Technopark, Technocity, various Kinfra industrial parks and the upcoming residential hub of the city.
# 21. - Creation of a new Central Business District: Great idea! This could already be in motion along the Chackai - Kazhakkoottam stretch of the IT Corridor. With mall, IT space and hospitality projects by DLF, Plaza Centres, Unitech, Rahejas, Columbia Asia, Tamara and other international & national majors, in addition to those by regional majors coming up along this stretch, there will soon be a ultra-modern CBD coming up in parallel to the existing one.
Hope to get more great feedback like this in the future too. Keep your suggestions coming and thanks in advance!