According to reports, if all goes as per plans, Kochi will be the first solar city in the state. However, the Opposition of the Kochi Corporation feels that more clarity is needed regarding the project and its feasibility.
Criticising the Corporation Town Planning Committee for not providing adequate data to the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), which has been entrusted with preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the project, Opposition councillor M P Maheshkumar said some of the information provided to the consultants were false.
“The first meeting of the stakeholders of the Solar City project was held in Kochi last month. The draft of the DPR was presented before the stakeholders. But, during the presentation, we noticed that some data provided to ICLEI were inaccurate. For instance, it was mentioned that 80 per cent of the shops in Kochi were using LED lights. Similarly, the info provided by the Town Planning Committee said there was a crematorium in Kochi that uses solar energy. These are all false,” Mahesh alleged.
He said though the presentation was meant for the entire councillors, only 16 or 17 were present. “The DPR has to be approved by the Council. With a majority of them not participating in the stake holders meet, how can they approve it. And regarding the presentation, it lacked clarity on certain elements like servicing, guarantee, the providers and sectors where the project should be implemented first,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, Kochi Corporation Town Planning Committee chairman K J Sohan said the allegations were baseless.
“As per the guidelines put forward by the Centre, we have formed the core committee and a stake holder committee for the project. As per the decision taken by the Council, we have entrusted ICLEI with the DPR preparation. The draft of the DPR was presented before the stakeholders and if the Opposition councillors needed any clarification, they could have cleared it at the time of presentation itself. And, personally, I believe that the agency have come up with a comprehensive draft,” he added. The Solar City project is being launched as part of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s (MNRE) plan to develop 60 Solar Cities in India.