File photo | Photo: Ramanath Pai/Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala will soon have a comprehensive urban policy, announced KN Balagopal while presenting the state budget on Friday.
A new commission will be formed to prepare the policy. An international consultancy agency will be engaged to prepare master plans for the cities of Kozhikode, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
The initial phase will involve works worth Rs 300 cr. This year, Rs 100 crore has been set aside for primary works. Protection of heritage sites and locations, pedestrian safety, establishing public spaces and entertainment spaces, and better waste management are the focus areas.
Local self-government minister MB Rajesh had earlier hinted that an urban policy would be developed soon. He said it was difficult to differentiate urban and rural areas in Kerala as the state is 'urbanising' very fast. He said a comprehensive policy was necessary to move forward.
The union government's AMRUT project for urban development is entering its second phase in April this year. Though most of the projects in Kerala are moving at good pace, the sewage treatment plant in Kozhikode remains a headache for the state government due to the opposition from the locals. Rajesh had urged the municipal corporation to convince the opposition parties and natives and start the work soon. Meanwhile, Kozhikode mayor Beena Philip hinted that the corporation may have to push the project to AMRUT 2.0.