KOCHI: The City Corporation council has recommended converting Panampilly Nagar to a ‘mixed use zone’ by permitting commercial establishments to operate in the area. A meeting of the Corporation council on Thursday passed a resolution in this regard which will be submitted to the state government for further steps. The civic body’s move assumes great significance as the High Court had earlier asked the Corporation and the Greater Cochin Development Authority to take action against the more than 200 commercial firms in the area which did not have a licence.
Councillors from the area P.D Martin and Antony Painuthara said that there were more than 5,000 families engaged in commercial activities providing employment opportunities to nearly 3,000 persons. “The area should be converted to a mixed use zone while ensuring parking and other facilities for the residents,” they said. Earlier, the Corporation had decided to serve closure notices to 245 commercial firms following the HC directive.
The council members have also raised issues related to waste management, mosquito and stray dog menace, bad condition of roads and dangerously hanging cable lines on city roads. Welfare committee chairman A.B Sabu while supporting a resolution raised by K.R Premkumar on ‘unscientific’ traffic regulation enforced at Vyttila, Palarivattom and Edappally junctions alleged that the traffic police and Kochi Metro authorities were taking decisions without consulting the civic body.
“It is the public and the people’s representatives who have to bear the brunt of such short-sighted measures,” he said. Replying to the debate, Mayor Soumini Jain agreed to convene a meeting of the Traffic Regulatory Committee, which has representatives of various departments, to discuss the issue. The Mayor also informed the council that strict action would be taken against those service operators who had failed to remove the unauthorised and carelessly erected cable lines. Meanwhile, deputy Mayor T.J Vinod said that steps were ongoing to clear bill dues of civic contractors up to March before Onam.
Ban on plastic bags below 50 microns
Based on the new plastic waste management policy announced by the Union government in March this year, the City Corporation has decided to enforce ban on plastic carry bags with a thickness of below 50 microns. A decision in this regard has been taken during a council meeting on Thursday. Mayor Soumini Jain informed that 15 days time will be given to traders and shopkeepers to clear their stock after which its use will not be permitted.
Many other urban local bodies in the state have already enforced the ban. The civic body has been struggling to manage huge tomes of plastic waste generated in the city areas which pose threat to human lives and environment. Earlier, the Corporation health committee has recommended for a complete ban. But the Mayor has announced partial ban. The civic body which earlier announced ban of plastic carry bags less than 40 microns in 2012 following an order of LSGD secretary had failed to enforce it.