In the year 1996, Govindan Parayil, Dean and Professor of Patel College of Global Sustainability & Professor, School of Interdisciplinary spoke about The’Kerala model’of development: development and sustainability in the Third World. Mr Parayil clearly stated that if achieving radical reductions in infant mortality and population growth rates and eliminating acute poverty without significantly eroding the ecological balance are corroborating evidence for practising ‘sustainable development’, then the Indian state of Kerala should be counted as an early example of a state/society which practises ‘sustainable development’. He further adds that the ‘Kerala Model’ of development should be counted as a possible idealisation of a sustainable development paradigm.
25 years since then, the districts of Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi have figured in the top five spots in the inaugural Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Urban Index and Dashboard 2021-22 released by the NITI Aayog. Both Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi were adjudged achievers (100 points) in ‘climate action.’ Kochi stood first in gender equality and second in quality education; clean water and sanitation; and peace, justice and strong institutions.
Through the different programmes put forward by the Central and state governments, the Kochi municipality has made serious efforts to strengthen its position and achieve its objectives in terms of social development indices.
Multi-Family Housing Project
In Fort Kochi’s Turuthi Colony, the largest multi-family housing project in the municipality’s history will be built for the underprivileged. The residence will be ready for about 400 families when the two towers are completed. It is a proven truth that the greatest rehabilitation project developed and finished by the municipal corporation in India has given the residents of Kochi cause for optimism.
Hunger-Free Kerala Program
In order to further the goals of the State Government’s Hunger Free Kerala program, the Kochi Municipality’s Samriddhi
@Kochi, a well-known hotel, has been chosen to provide lunch at a reasonable price. More than 3000 individuals may benefit from this plan, and moreover family-oriented women could be assured of job and income. The fulfilment of at least one person’s hunger, which is the second stage of the council’s greatest project, is being put into practise in West Kochi and Fort Kochi.
The municipal e-governance project is the council’s proudest accomplishment. Online birth and death certificates are now accessible. Then came the Marriage registration followed by profession tax, and now, a year later, Kochi Corporation is entirely online thanks to the eagerly anticipated construction tax and the ability to pay building tax online. In addition to this, it is important to note the actions made by the Honourable Mayor to address the issue of people having trouble submitting online applications for post-mortem financial assistance for those who passed away from Covid within the limits of the Kochi Corporation.
Urban planning plays a very important role in urban development.
Moreover, the motto of the municipality is to enable development by including the weaker sections. For such development to be possible effective land-water-resource planning is required. Keeping this in mind, different programs are being organized under the leadership of C-Head, the academic wing of the municipality, in collaboration with the famous SEP University of Gujarat with the help of the German technical agency GIZ. The training program will help the employees of institutions including Kochi Municipal Corporation, State Town Planning Department, GCDA, Town Planning Department and Cochin Shipyard to create awareness about the latest trends and regulations in town planning.
Street venting zones, identification card for them, venting license, waste management by law, Renovation of Cultural Centers, Parks etc., Mosquito and Flood Control Projects, Arts Space Kochi, Re-Imagining Fort Kochi Cycle @ Kochi etc. have been initiated as well.
Green Energy Projects
Many policy projects of the Kochi Municipal Corporation are envisioned by incorporating the importance of green energy and energy efficiency in sustainable development. In this context, Kochi Municipality with the help of WRI India and C-HED conducted a study to evaluate and compare the energy efficiency of 50 office buildings in Kochi. This study will be useful to identify buildings that are in poor condition in terms of energy efficiency and scientifically compare them with others.
While this is the first city-centric benchmarking program in India, Kochi Municipality and Sea Head are a model for other cities in terms of building energy efficiency. Further, the Corporation will continue its efforts to conduct such studies related to energy efficiency and prepare plans based on them.