"Urban Typhoon workshop in Elamkulam witnesses huge Turnout"
The Urban Typhoon Neighborhood Workshop reached its third destination today at Fatima Matha Roman Catholic Latin Church in Elamkulam, Ernakulam. The workshop was organized by international consultants Urbz on behalf of the Kochi Municipal Corporation and supported by GIZ as a part of the ongoing “EnteKochi” campaign in Kochi.
The workshop continued to be a success on the third day of the series, organized in the Elamkulam area of Kochi. Residents turned out in large numbers, and the general participation is growing by leaps and bounds. The workshop was attended by RWA members, Kudumbashree members, local experts, volunteers, and the Urbz and GIZ teams. The participants showed great interest in understanding the motivation behind the project, and the expected roles and capacities of the organizing institutions.
In the last three workshops, a prominent trend has been observed in the issues faced by the residents. Yet again, the challenges related to solid waste disposal, liquid waste management, stagnant state of neighboring canals and deteriorating conditions of roads were raised. The team of residents and experts dealing with liquid waste management visited the sewage treatment plant in the area and walked around the adjoining canals and neighborhoods. This plant which was set up in 1950 still runs with the same machines and the same old systems. It was found that because of damaged pipelines along the way, the incoming water is already diluted.
Sewage waste in the city is directly or indirectly expelled into water bodies such as canals among others. The traffic group observed the poor construction quality of the roads, accessibility issues, improper or nonexistent drainage along the roads, encroachment by waste and construction materials, etc. which made these paces hard to use.
In the afternoon, during the round table discussions of the focus groups, the Mayor of the Kochi Municipal Corporation, Soumini Jain graced the event. She introduced EnteKochi as a process designed to reach people’s voices from grassroots levels to upper levels. She expressed that the biggest issues are related to waste management and overall cleanliness. The sewage treatment plants are nonfunctional, broken pipelines lead to the mixing of clean and dirty water and hazardous health situations.
The inefficiency of several organizations, ranging from the government bodies to implementation agencies has led to the current state of affairs. Rahul Shrivastava from Urbz said, “Government and other established organizations cannot fulfill all the needs of the neighborhood.” The mayor mentioned an incident where she had to coordinate between different institutions for a project of the KWA to ensure its successful completion.
Some enthusiastic RWA members agreed that they would be willing to take the ownership for the execution of some projects if empowered by the authorities. The significance of participation, not just in events such as this, but in everyday challenges of the community is an important learning in this regard. The Mayor also spoke about utilizing the expertise and knowledge of the citizens about contextual issues. Additionally, it is necessary to inculcate a strong civic sense in the upcoming generations through educational programs in schools.
On a positive note, the resident association and locals are already very active in the area and are trying to upgrade local amenities. Three parks have been upgraded by the people so far. The RWA also has schemes for planting trees in the area. Each new tree in the park is dedicated to a local resident, with his or her name etched on it. This small program builds a sense of belonging and facilitates a sense of responsibility. The “Urban Typhoon” series next travels to Pallathu Raman Memorial Park in Veli, Kochi on Friday, June 7th.
“EnteKochi” – coming soon to your street!