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Kochi Realty Market News

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  • Re : Kochi Realty Market News

    Qualitative improvement sought in public transport

    John L. Paul
    KOCHI, MAY 14, 2018 00:00 IST
    UPDATED: MAY 14, 2018 03:58 IST

    The extremely low-shoulder seats and leg room and scant regard for ergonomics are said to be the reasons for passengers to shun commute by buses.File photom_lakshmiarun Transportation experts lay stress on comfort, safety, and crew behaviour

    Qualitative improvement in comfort and safety levels must go hand in hand with awareness programmes to popularise bus services in the State, experts have said. With approximately three buses withdrawing service each day, such a move alone will help bus services regain the ground they have lost to private vehicles, they feel.

    The demand for improvement in safety and comfort levels is gathering momentum, with stakeholders observing the first Friday of every month as Public Transport Day in Kochi. “A major reason for passengers to shun commute by buses is the extremely low-shoulder seats and leg room for passengers.

    The hard suspension of most buses, rash driving, and rude behaviour by the unscrupulous crew have further eroded commuter patronage, as can be seen from the declining popularity of buses,” said M.N. Prabhakaran, former Deputy Transport Commissioner, who is now joint director of the Institute of Driver Training and Research, Edappal, Malappuram.

    “According to rules, each seat in private and KSRTC buses must be 38 cm wide. This much shoulder room is insufficient since people are putting on weight as years pass by. Even worse, some bus operators lessen the width of each seat to 33 cm, to hew out space to accommodate more standing passengers than is permitted. This results in the shoulder of the person sitting on the aisle seat being rammed by the conductor who criss-crosses, or standing passengers. The window seat passenger too is crammed between the co-passenger and the bus body,” he said.

    Air suspension

    Moreover, little care is given to ergonomics of seats, further inconveniencing commuters. “Another critical issue is that most buses in the State rely on leaf-spring suspension. This is much harder than air suspension which has a cushioning effect. It is not much costlier than leaf springs. Some bus operators add more leaf springs than permitted to carry more passengers than is permitted. Apart from providing a bumpy ride, this causes discomfort to passengers whenever the driver applies brake,” Mr. Prabhakaran observed.

    The practice among drivers to swerve steeply and unnecessarily apply brake are other issues affecting passenger comfort. Drivers of low-floor buses too have this tendency, leaving commuters baffled. Such drivers must be taught “defensive driving” skills. All this contribute to people opting for private vehicles. On their part, KSRTC and private bus owners have to spend more on fuel and wear and tear.

    The new Bus Body Code – AIS 052, adopting which new buses have to be built, takes care of most of these issues. But the code insists on glass windows even for city buses. This is not suited for Kerala’s warm and humid climate, he said.

    Mr. Prabhakaran called for demarcating space for women in city buses by fixing a partition, so that they are less vulnerable to harassment.

    Soft skills

    Meanwhile, D. Dhanuraj, chairman of the city-based Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), which is a co-organiser of the monthly Bus Day, said the NGO had roped in urban and traffic planners to help streamline public transport. “Bus operators are open to spare their crew to undergo soft-skills training, so that they behave amiably with commuters,” he said.

    “We are focused on qualitative, tangible deliverables, for which we are getting positive support from stakeholders, including government departments and residents’ associations,” he added.

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    • Re : Kochi Realty Market News

      Ro-Ro resumes service sans glitches

      KOCHI: The Ro-Ro service in Fort Kochi-Vypeen sector, which was stopped on the inaugural day on April 28 itself, resumed on Monday. According to Kochi corporation authorities, the service was conducted without any hassle on Monday.
      The Ro-Ro resumed service at 9am and continued till 6pm. “One of our engineers was a passenger in the vessel on its first trip today. According to the feedback given by him, there wasn’t any glitches. There was heavy rush which indicates that service can be profitable as well,” mayor Soumini Jain said.

      Opposition leader K J Antony, who earlier raised apprehensions regarding resuming Ro-Ro, also expressed satisfaction over the service conducted on Monday. “The service on Monday was successful and this gives a hope that the service can be operated successfully in the coming days too,” Antony said.

      Leaders of Vypeen-Fort Kochi Janakeeya Koottayma, a forum which has been demanding for starting Ro-Ro services for the past one year, also were present at the Vypeen jetty. “There wasn’t any problem in berthing the vessel at Vypeen jetty,” said Majnu Komath, convener of the forum. Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation, the agency which has been entrusted by Kochi corporation for operating Ro-Ro vessel, availed service of the same driver who operated the vessel on the inaugural day.

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      • Re : Kochi Realty Market News

        Minister stresses on solar power generation

        KOCHI, MAY 16, 2018 00:00 IST
        UPDATED: MAY 16, 2018 04:00 IST

        Power Minister M.M. Mani

        Power Minister M.M. Mani said here on Tuesday that the State, short on its own power generation and constrained to fully utilise its hydel sources, planned to generate 1,000 MW of solar power using public buildings including schools and college, dam reservoirs, irrigation canals as well as fallow land.

        The State produces about 100 MW of solar power now, of which about 50 MW is in Kasaragod. It had also potential for generating wind power in Idukki and Palakkad, the Minister said. The State also had the potential to produce about 350 MW of power from small hydel projects and planned to exploit these sources. At the same time, there were big hurdles to establishing big hydroelectric projects including the Athirappilly project. The Minister was inaugurating a seminar here on safety in the electricity sector, organised by the KSEB Workers’ Association, CITU. The Union government’s policies on electricity brought up new challenges before States, the Minister said. He said that safety continued to be a major problem in the electricity sector and congratulated the organisers of the seminar.

        President of the KSEB Workers’ Association Elamaram Karim presided at the inauguration of the seminar. State secretary of the CITU K.N. Gopinath welcomed the gathering. General secretary of the KSEB Workers’ Association K. Jayaprakash made a presentation on safety in the electricity sector and issues involved.

        Power outages

        Participating in another event, Mr. Mani chaired a meeting which decided to resolve complaints related to power failure in several places following the summer rain.

        The meet decided to monitor the progress of the work under the guidance of Deputy Chief Engineers concerned. An official release issued here said that maintenance work should be carried out in places, where its required, before the monsoon. Mr. Mani urged officials to purchase equipment, whatever necessary, as part of the pre-monsoon maintenance work at various places.

        Control rooms will be set up at the level of the office of the Chief Engineer to monitor the work aimed at resolving sudden power failures in the State.

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        • Re : Kochi Realty Market News

          Lack of proper feeder connectivity a dampener

          TNN | May 17, 2018, 07:41 IST Commuters travel in Kochi metro.

          As access to feeder services is crucial in ensuring last-mile connectivity for commuters, Kochi Metro authorities have been working aggressively towards this. But responses from commuters received by TOI show that lack of adequate feeder services and difficulty in accessing Metro stations from interior regions of the city acts as a major deterrent for potential Metro users.

          “Kochi Metro should make sure that all feeder services including KSRTC buses stop at Metro stations,” said Haridas, a regular Metro passenger. Citizens also insisted on extending Kochi Metro network to other places like Fort Kochi, Angamaly and Cial to improve connectivity.

          Readers also highlighted the need to provide feeder services from Aluva Metro station to Aluva railway station and town KSRTC bus stand. They also pointed out the need to introduce similar feeder service connectivity between Maharajas Ground Metro station and transit spots like Ernakulam South Railway Station, Vyttila hub and the Ernakulam KSRTC bus stand.

          Regular commuters also have issues with the Kochi 1 card, the prepaid smartcard introduced by KMRL.

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          • Re : Kochi Realty Market News

            Extension of water transport along Kadambrayar likely

            M.P. Praveen
            KOCHI, MAY 17, 2018 00:00 IST
            UPDATED: MAY 17, 2018 03:58 IST

            One of the first beneficiaries of the proposal to construct a permanent regulator across the Kadambrayar will be the ferry service being operated between Vyttila and Chittethukara. Administrative nod for construction of permanent regulator across river

            The Irrigation Department’s proposal to construct a permanent regulator across Kadambrayar may help tap the hitherto unexplored potential of water transport along the waterbody.

            The construction of the regulator may take up to 18 months. One of the first beneficiaries of the proposal will be the ferry service being operated between Vyttila Mobility Hub and Chittethukara.

            Once the regulator materialises, it will facilitate water transport upstream, making possible extension of the service up to Infopark Phase II round the year. This is likely to increase the patronage of the service manifold considering that it is being used predominantly by employees of Infopark. The occupancy had fallen steeply ever since Kochi Metro Rail Limited suspended the feeder service from Chittethukara to Infopark owing to audit objection about ten months ago. The State Water Transport Department (SWTD) had then written to the Major Irrigation Department to deepen the water channel to facilitate the service up to Infopark Phase II.

            A senior official with the Major Irrigation Department told The Hindu that administrative sanction had already been received from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for the construction of the permanent regulator at Kozhichira across Kadambrayar. Now, all that remains is technical sanction upon receiving which the tender will be floated.

            Boat service upstream of Kadambrayar remains impossible for almost half the year now as the Irrigation Department is constructing a temporary bund for prevention of saline water intrusion to facilitate drawing of fresh water from the waterbody by about ten companies.

            “It is not possible to operate boat services breaching the bund. There is also precious little water flow downstream when the bund is in fact leaving the waterbody replete with water hyacinth,” said the official.

            In fact, once the regulator is constructed, it will facilitate the operation of the service well beyond Infopark up to near a major amusement park at Pallikkara by deepening the water channel by maintaining the draft at 1.50 metres.

            SWTD sources said that the service between Vyttila and Chittethukara can be extended up to Infopark Phase II once it receives a clearance certificate from the Irrigation Department. The service is now being operated using a 75-seater ferry, which can also accommodate up to 10 two-wheelers.


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            • Re : Kochi Realty Market News

              Kochi smart city works may kick off in August

              The Union government, Hanish said, is insisting on four specifics – development of an integrated command & control communication centre, market redevelopment, smart roads and navigable waterwaysGreeshma Gopal Giri | TNN | May 18, 2018, 17:00 IST

              KOCHI: With the Cochin Smart Mission Ltd (CSML) initiating the process for inviting tenders worth Rs 440 crore, construction works as part of the project are expected to begin in August.

              CSML chief executive officer A P M Mohammed Hanish said the tenders will be finalised by June-July this year. “In my opinion it is possible to start project implementation in August,” he said. The Union government, Hanish said, is insisting on four specifics – development of an integrated command & control communication centre, market redevelopment, smart roads and navigable waterways. “The government wants the four aspects to become the motifs of the city,” said Hanish. In 2015, the plan was to implement 85 projects worth Rs 2,076 crore under the Smart City project. Later, the ministry of urban development (MoUD) reorganised them as impactful projects, thus finalising on the four mandates.

              The CSML target is to implement projects worth Rs 1,500 crore during the period 2018 -2019.

              The various projects implemented under the Smart City project include installation of LED lights, smart poles that provide mobile connectivity and Wi-Fi, walkways, pedestrian facilities, cycling paths, solar rooftops, smart metering of water supply and electricity, multi-level car parking, bicycle sharing, redevelopment of schools, colleges and hospitals.

              “We are spending Rs 17 crore for development of Ernakulam general hospital. We have also taken up projects to improve government hospitals in Mattancherry and Fort Kochi and the Kalvathy school. Hibi Eden, MLA, has suggested renovation of SRV School and Maharaja’s College. It’s possible for us take up these projects also,” said Hanish.

              As part of making the roads smarter, Shanmugham Road, Banerji Road, MG Road and Durbar Hall Road and three roads in the heritage zone in West Kochi -- KB Jacob Road, Amaravati Road and Bellar Road --would be refurbished. Cycling paths will be developed along all these roads. There will be appropriate road signages, street furniture like benches and streetlamps, traffic barriers, bollards, traffic lights, traffic signs, bus bays, public lavatories and public sculptures. Underground utility ducts will be provided for water supply, sewerage, optical fibre communication cables, power cables and the like. There will be better pedestrian facilities, footpaths and crossings. The project also includes boulevards along the roads and landscaped areas in the multi-utility zones. The entire road development project is estimated to cost Rs 230 crore.

              CSML has planned a multi-level car parking at an estimated cost of Rs 50 crore at Kacheripady. This project is coming up at the land owned by Kochi corporation. It will free-up road space and will provide safe driving experience for commuters. The multilevel parking with a central control system would use Kochi 1cards for fare collection.

              The integrated command & control communication centre (IC4) apart from being the hub of intelligent traffic management systems and security surveillance will provide facilities for payment of utilities like power, water and taxes to local bodies. IC4 requires coordination of various government departments and agencies. This project is estimated to cost Rs 100 crore.

              The navigable waterways project would take up renovation of Kalvathy canal and Market canal. This project is linked to the implementation of Water Metro project. The market redevelopment project aims at rejuvenating Broadway, Ernakulam market and the spices market in Mattancherry.

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              • Re : Kochi Realty Market News

                Dedicated utility ducts still a distant dream

                TNN | May 18, 2018, 10:22 IST

                KOCHI: The issue waterlogging in the city could have been manageable, if there had been dedicated utility ducts. Though there were proposals for constructing drains with utility ducts on major roads as part of projects like the Kochi Metro and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut), they had to be scrapped.

                When the state government awarded the preparatory works for the Kochi Metro, like widening of MG Road and Banerji Road, to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in 2011, the project had envisaged construction of utility ducts as well.

                But, the DMRC didn’t construct dedicated utility duct citing lack of adequate land for the purpose. Later, the construction of dedicated utility duct on MG Road was envisaged as part of the Amrut project. “The DMRC constructed a wide drainage but left little space for a duct. Though we mooted a proposal to construct a duct utilising the drain, it had to be abandoned due to protest. Residents of areas where the drain passed through did not want to reduce the width of the drain,” an official associated with the Amrut project said.

                Most of the telecom operators are now migrating to 4G services. So, they are in a hurry to lay optical fibre cables across the length and breadth of the city.

                If a dedicated utility cable duct is constructed, the civic body can collect floor rent from the telecom service providers. The KSEB is also laying underground cables for providing safe and uninterrupted power supply.

                Construction of a dedicated utility duct would be beneficial for the both corporation and the telecom operators. If there is a dedicated utility duct, the telecom operator will not have to dig up roads in the city. This will help them save the cost for road-digging and the amount to be spent on their restoration.

                Besides, the delay in digging up the roads and traffic snarls can also be avoided. “We will soon prepare a proposal for constructing a dedicated utility duct,” said P M Harris, chairman, standing committee for work, Kochi corporation.


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                • Re : Kochi Realty Market News

                  A cleaner Mullassery canal can reduce waterlogging

                  TNN | May 18, 2018, 10:30 IST Waterlogging on MG Road and the central business district (CBD)

                  KOCHI: The cleaning of Mullassery canal undertaken at the behest of Metroman E Sreedharan could reduce waterlogging on MG Road and the central business district (CBD) areas to a great extent. The work which started almost three weeks ago would be over in a weeks’ time.

                  According to mayor Soumini Jain, the cleaning work is almost over. What is remaining is the installation of a high-power pump to flush out water from the canal during heavy rains. “The DMRC officials carrying out the work are now dismantling Pettiyum Parayum (a mechanism which had been installed in four points in the canal for regulating water level during ebb and flow) as it has become defunct. It will take a few more days to install the high-power pump,” Soumini Jain said.

                  Foundation for Restoration of National Values (FRNV) led by E Sreedharan is funding the project. K Chittilappilly Foundation floated by Kochouseph Chittilappilly had given Rs 10 lakh for the project, personally monitored by E Sreedharan.

                  Mayor said that Sreedharan has suggested connecting Vivekananda canal to backwaters near Marine Drive cia a another canal. “An agency called Wapcos had conducted a study to solve waterlogging in the city a few years ago. On the basis of it, Esteem Developers prepared a detailed project report. One of the components in the project was desilting Mullassery canal,” Soumini Jain said.

                  Vivekananda canal joins Thevara-Perandoor canal through a railway culvert near KSRTC bus station. As the culvert cross railway line, a pipe has been laid strengthening the culvert, she said. “But the pipe is too narrow and affects the flow. When water reaches Perandoor canal the nearby P&T colony and Udaya colony would be inundated. If the proposal is implemented, it would help resolve waterlogging in these area also,” she said.

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                  • Re : Kochi Realty Market News

                    Unauthorized cables choking Kochi drains

                    M K Sunil Kumar| TNN | May 18, 2018, 09:54 IST
                    Deshabhimani junction

                    KOCHI: Cables laid by Kerala State Electricity Board, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and private telecom service providers, which obstruct the flow of water through drains, are the major cause for waterlogging in several parts of the city. Renovation and cleaning of drains have been affected because of the unauthorized activity. Shifting them has become impossible in the absence of dedicated utility ducts.

                    In Deshabhimani Junction, the drain along the Banerji Road ends abruptly because of presence of cables. Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), which is responsible for renovation of drains from Mathrubhumi to Edappally Junction, were unable to start the work on the mouth of the Deshabhimani Road because of this. “We have contacted agencies like KSEB to discuss shifting of cables. We hope to find a solution soon,” said a KMRL official.

                    According to the officials with the KSEB, they had laid the cables when there were no drains in the area. “When Metro authorities started construction of drains in the area, our cables got damaged several times. We had a meeting with Metro authorities and requested a slight deviation in the alignment of drain. Or else, there should be dedicated ducts for utilities,” a KSEB official said.

                    In front of St Martin's Church, Palarivattom, a bunch of telecom cables is obstructing the work on the drainage. “It is not an isolated case. The drains on most of the byroads are clogged with telecom cables, mostly laid by private telecom providers. This makes cleaning of drains a difficult job,” said P M Harris, chairman, works standing committee, Kochi corporation. “In some locations, we had removed the cables. The civic body also filed police complaints against the owners of such cables. But they haven’t acted on it so far,” Harris said.

                    On MG Road, near Jayalakshmi Silks, there are several unauthorized wayside eateries that dump their waste into the drain. “A person who secured licence from Kochi corporation for collecting parking fees in the area illegally rented out the space to wayside eateries. Though I submitted complaint to the corporation in this regard, the local body officials are delaying action against the offender,” said Sudha Dileepkumar, councillor from Ernakulam Central division. In many stretches along Metro corridor, the contractors dump construction waste in to the drains, clogging them. Another issue is the absence of adequate pits for the storm water on roads to flow in to the drains. “We have already put some holes on the sidewalls of the drains so that storm water would flow in. But, most them have been clogged with plastic and other waste dumped on the road. Storm water will carry such garbage and it will get trapped in the pits obstructing the flow of water to the drains,” a KMRL official said.

                    On the report that there are no sufficient pits to drain storm water into drains, he said this can be checked only during rainy season. During summer rains, we identified one of such location adjacent to a bar near Changampuzha Park and rectified it by drilling a hole,” the official said.


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                    • Re : Kochi Realty Market News

                      Now, Metro stations to offer dormitory facility

                      KOCHI: If you are looking for a fully-airconditioned dormitory facility in the city, head straight to the MG Road Metro station. Come June 5, the dormitory with a locker facility, free Wi-Fi, 24 hours check-in and check-out and round-the-clock security surveillance will start functioning at the station. The facility is being planned as part of the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd’s (KMRL) initiative to lease out commercial spaces at the stations.

                      “There will be 250 bunk beds. In each cabin we can provide accommodation for six people. The rates have been fixed as Rs 395 per day,” said Prabhu Koshy Rajan, reservation manager of the facility. Though the promoters have announced the project, they are yet to finalise a name for the dormitory. “In the coming days we will come out with more details,” he added.

                      All the 16 stations from Aluva to Maharaja’s College Ground, have world-class commercial spaces that can be utilized. The KMRL has over 1.35 lakh sq ft within the metro stations, which they plan to lease out. Apart from this, they have an additional five acres outside the premises of the Metro stations. Commenting on the response to the initiative to provide commercial spaces on lease, KMRL managing director APM Mohammed Hanish said, “We received excellent response. Promoters of various retail outlets, banks, library service providers have all come forward to occupy spaces at Metro stations. Many people have shown interest in the commercial areas available at MG Road station,” he said.

                      The KMRL hosted a property expo to promote the commercial properties available with them on May 8. “The show helped to push our efforts to attract business houses and traders to associate with the Metro,” he added. According to him no metro in world operates successfully from the revenue generated through ticket fares, and hence it is important for the agency to create realty assets, which can take them forward. The agency is open to the idea of having commercial and business institutions setting up direct connectivity to the Metro stations, similar to what has been initiated by Lulu Mall.


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