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  • Wednesday, February, 2024| Today's Market | Current Time: 04:49:37
  •  Kochi, Kerala: The Kochi Corporation failed to recognise waste as a business opportunity. It is  our responsibility as waste producers to understand what happens to our waste and where it ends up. Cities such as Indore see waste as a business opportunity, according to Dr. M. Ramachandran, former secretary in the Ministry of Urban Development with the Government of India. He was attending the CPPR’s Urban Fellowship Closing Ceremony in Kochi. He was delivering the opening remarks at a panel discussion titled “Urbanisation in Kerala: How is the state evolving and what are the challenges.” K J Sohan, Former Mayor of Kochi Municipal Corporation; Vineetha Hariharan, National Public Policy Expert and Former Chief of External Missions, MSME, and Dr D Dhanuraj, Chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research, participated in the discussion.

    Dr M Ramachandran, IAS said:

    “Although the majority of Keralites have high levels of education and civic engagement, the state still has not established itself as a frontrunner in providing effective urban governance to its citizens. We still have not figured out what to do with waste in Kochi City, despite all the discussions.

    The lack of revenue generation alternatives for the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) in Kerala has been the reason for their inability to leverage its local services. ULBs need to tap into alternative sources of revenue generation. Kochi City has the potential to generate revenue through advertising or parking policies, thereby leveraging the financial autonomy of the ULBs.

    A new model of citizen participation is necessary in Kerala. Most citizens do not participate in existing models of citizen participation, such as ward level meetings, so they are inefficient.”

    Lack of digitisation of local level data has made urban service delivery a hassle. Kochi has been prey to frequent urban flooding. However, there is lack of data generation when flooding happens. The rainfall data is relied upon for various estimates, leading to an inaccuracy.

    ULBs should have dedicated personnel working under each function, such as waste, flooding, transport, etc., to ensure effective implementation of policies.

    K J Sohan Said:

    “Despite the implementation of the 74th CAA, Kerala has not devolved most of the functions to the ULBs, and they vest with the state. When citizens approach their local bodies due to issues in water supply and electricity, the local authorities do not have any power to take a decision on the same, as the respective functions do not come under them. No political party that comes to power in the state wants to devolve these functions to the ULBs and multiple agencies undertake these functions in Kerala.”

    Aside from the panel discussion, the CPPR’s Urban Fellowship Closing Ceremony was also held. Centre for Public Policy Research launched the Urban Fellowship with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom South Asia in March 2023 for youngsters in Kerala. The objective of the fellowship was to familiarise the selected fellows with the various aspects of urban policies and develop an understanding of key techniques that are necessary to critically evaluate public policies in cities. To mark the end of the Urban Fellowship, Dr M Ramachandran handed over completion certificates to the fellows. Urban Transport Expert G P Hari, FNF South Asia Programme Manager Tenzin, Former Senior Depurty Transport Commissioner B J Antony, Federal Bank Former Chairman C Balagopal, Prof K C Abraham and others were present for the ceremony.

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