The salient features of TRIDA's budget announced yesterday are:
- Three multi-level parking plazas to be built along M.G.Road to ease parking congestion
- A 35.25 Km long Outer Ring Road from Kazhakkoottam to Vizhinjam.
- A 8 Km Inner Ring Road.
- Commercial complexes on BOT basis at Palayam and Medical College
- Complexes to rehabilitate traders at Pettah, Pazhavangady, General Hospital junction, Peroorkada and Vazhuthacaud
- Reconstruction of Chalai market
- Completion of ongoing TRIDA road-widening schemes like Vazhuthacaud - Thycaud.
- Mixed use complex at Kazhakoottam which will include a bus terminal, shopping complex, fire station and office space.
- Classifying the area around the Secretariat as a Special Zone for speedy development.
- Preparation of detailed town planning schemes for Kochuveli, Kudapanakunnu and Attukal.
Parking plazas have been talked about ever since I can remember, but the difference this time is that TRIDA has made it the top priority for the year, in view of the massive congestion felt in the Central Business District and other core areas. Perhaps in view of the steady revenue that Multi-Level Car Parks (MLCPs) would provide, TRIDA plans to go ahead with the development of these facilities on their own, if a BOT model takes time. Also, TRIDA has dropped plans of identifying public land - which never took off - and now plans to acquire private land in the best locations, if need be.
The Outer Ring Road (ORR) actually follows the alignment of an Intermediate Ring Road. The route is Kazhakkoottam - Thundathilpoudikonam - Mannanthala -Peroorkada -Vattiyoorkavu - Peyad - Thachottukavu - Pottayil - Naruvamoodu -Punnamoodu - Peringamala - Vizhinjam. While this covers more than 35 Km, it merely strings up the outer suburbs of the current area and does not add outlying areas to the fold. As suggested by many of the you in response to my previous posts, a true ORR would have been aligned across Mangalapuram - Pothencode - Venjaramoodu - Nedumangadu - Neyyatinkara - Vizhinjam. But considering that TRIDA is going to start land acquisition for this current alignment, the first time they have progressed this far, this is a good first step at putting in place a true radial-and-ring road network. Let's hope that the land acquisition, mostly through suburban areas, will be faster than that for the TRDP work, which is yet to be completed 3 years after it took off.
TRIDA is finally understanding the value of its prime land bank by developing commercial space on it at strategic locations. The use of the BOT model will be a real change in policy, especially in view of the relative lack of success in managing existing complexes such Saphalyam and Kedaram. A BOT operator will ensure that the complex gets the best tenants and is well maintained.
Chalai market occupies valuable real estate near the centre of the city, space which can be partially freed up for other development by reorganising the market more efficiently. Currently, the city's main wholesale market is disorganised and congested. A total redesign along with provision of peripheral infrastructure like wider roads and a new truck terminal, will help to make it a better shopping and commerce destination. The Chalai Re-development Project has been pending for many years now and has resulted in the needless freezing of a lot of land, when it finally takes off this year it will bring an end to many of the area's woes.
TRIDA's road widening schemes have been blazing along at a pace which would put a snail to shame. This year, TRIDA has decided to inject some fresh life to many of these schemes which are in limbo as roads to nowhere. With the road projects under CCDP and JNURM grinding to life, it seems to be raining road projects. This could be a positive development if the work can be smartly planned to result in a well integrated city road system.
Technopark is planning to hand over about 4 acres of its land adjoining Kazhakkoottam to TRIDA to set up a bus terminal and commercial complex. Although KSRTC has been mooting this model for a long time, as a means to utilise its high-value land bank to extricate it from its debts, the proposal from TRIDA looks like the first one which will actually be developed. Being a greenfield project, it is unlikely to run into any of the administrative, political and operational hassles which projects like the Thampanoor bus terminal, which has been stuck for more than five years.
Expanding modern urban planning to key growth areas like Kochuveli, Kudapanakunnu and Attingal will help to promote balanced growth in the future. TRIDA will do well to include even faster growing areas like Kazhakkoottam - Mangalapuram and Vizhinjam in the urban planning exercise. This will avoid complaints later that too much has been built on too little land, with the required infrastructure ten years behind the development boom.
After many years, TRIDA has come out with a forward looking budget which seeks to have a positive impact in many areas at the same time. I wish Mr. Ajayakumar - the TRIDA chairman - and his team all the very best in implementing the plans - which is where the agency will have to prove its real mettle. In a period when Trivandrum is witnessing the fastest growth in its history, a farsighted development agency is a key component to success.