By. Reeny Joseph
The ever enthusiastic Mayor was all optimistic when our Friday Mania team met her at her office in the late hours to have a chat with her. Even after a hectic day Mayor Soumini Jain was so energetic and confident about her plans for making Kochi into a dream city even though she knew it is going to be a Herculean task . In an exclusive interview with Reeny Joseph she unfolded her projects and plans for Kochi .Here is an excerpt of the interview.
Today Kochi has got a Mayor who is well versed with the problems of the city and being given the status of a metropolitan city you have lot of issues in your hand. What will be your priority?
As you know during our last tenure we have given more focus on road works and street lighting We could do the road works on a National highway standard and have spent around 35 crores for the road works in the last five years. Now we have got power for another term and our good works will be carried out as a continuation of what we have done in our earlier council. As a priority this time we will be focusing more on smart city projects and to begin with a stake holders concept approval meeting was already held .I m sure that the smart city projects will give an infinite development for Kochi which is in the take off stage and we have tremendous opportunity to be explored and of course my priority will be to utilize this opportunity to the maximum for the developments of Kochi.
One of the biggest problem we face in Kochi is water logging. What are the measures you plan to check the problem?
Yes, The major problem we face in Kochi is water logging. We have been working on this for quiet sometime and as a result this problem has come down and you can say better .But then people say that this problem is less now due to lack of rain. It’s not that. We have done the drainage works properly and as a result the situation has improved. Now to further face the water logging problem we plan to have a master plan for the drainage system .Also a sewerage system has to be implemented .Kochi is a place with lot of water tanks, canals etc and most of these have contaminated water and we are forced to depend on tankers for drinking water. Our development is centered to a central point and this has to be changed .It has to be focused and spread towards other areas also. We plan for a decentralized sewerage system and a masterplan is being prepared for this especially for the western area of Kochi.
Waste management is one of the hurdles that the corporation has to face. Many cities have adopted latest technologies in waste management. How do you plan to tackle this issue in a better way?
Waste management is an all time problem and we are planning for a waste energy plant which has the capacity of 300 tonnes. This can solve the problems associated with waste removal. We will also make sure that the removal waste is done without interruption. Once the new plant is implemented the dream of waste free Kochi will come true.
The issue of stray dogs have attracted so much of criticism from outside the state and also from dog lovers and animal protectors. In fact this dog menace is an issue to be tackled with. What do you have to say about this?
We have successfully implemented a plan called Animal Birth Control for Dogs and a veterinary multispecialty hospital is functioning at Brahmapuram for this. The hospital has already sterilized 1000 dogs and the hospital is equipped with all scientific facilities, dog catchers and crew van. And moreover this issue did not take place in a day. The process will take time and I m sure we can control the stray dog menace in the course of the time.
Mosquitoes fly around and spread diseases in Kochi unlike any other cities in India. According to you how can we put an end to this mosquito problem?
The immediate measures which can be done is the usual cleaning, fogging and spraying to eradicate mosquitoes. But then to implement more measures we need to go for a scientific study to find out the real cause behind this mosquito breeding in this area. There are places in India similar to Kochi but then mosquito problem is not so severe in those areas. So we have to find out the real cause and then work on it. And I agree that this is one of the haunting problems which Kochites face.
Already Kochi has figured in the world tourist map as one of the most favourite spots for visitors. Any plans on the anvil to upgrade the beauty of Kochi?
Smart City projects will help for an overall development of Kochi. Smart solutions will provide beautification and developmental projects . We have included around 1600 acres of both central and western part of Kochi for this project. And of course Fort Kochi and Mattanchery will be there as a part of heritage protection. This overall development in every area will help the flow of tourists to Kochi .
Corruption has become an evil which is there from top to bottom of the society. What role you want to play to give a corruption free administration for the people and especially to the younger generation?
I will always advocate for a corruption free society and will fight against corruption. But these evils cannot be eradicated in a day. Close monitoring and cross checking can remove corruption to some extent from the administrative level. I want the younger generation to come up with good values and they should be role models in our society.
Do you plan to give access to public for their grievances?
Of Course I plan to give public participation for their grievances. Slowly I will implement a chartered governance to find time for the public also. And I will try to solve their issues on a fast pace.