GCDA Collaborates with Panchayat to Develop Detailed Town Planning Scheme for Sports City in Chengamanad, Ernakulam

Aerial view of Chengamanad showcasing the proposed site for the international cricket stadium and sports city development, highlighting the collaborative efforts between GCDA and the local panchayat.
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Chengamanad, Ernakulam: In a strategic move towards realizing the vision of an international cricket stadium and sports city near the Cochin International Airport, the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) has announced its collaboration with the Chengamanad panchayat to draft a comprehensive town planning scheme. This development was revealed by GCDA’s K. Chandran Pillai during the presentation of the agency’s Budget on Monday.

The proposed sports city, which aims to be India’s first carbon-neutral sports hub, is a joint initiative of the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Spanning 40 acres of land identified by the GCDA in Chengamanad, the project is estimated to cost around ₹400 crore and is expected to be completed within four years. Key components of the plan include road connectivity and an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to ensure sustainability.

The decision to establish the sports city in the northern part of Kochi stems from the necessity for the city to expand eastward and northward, given the vulnerability of its western coast to rising sea levels.

The KCA had presented the proposal for the sports city, aligned with its mission ‘Beyond 2020,’ along with initial designs to the Chief Minister in January. BCCI president Jai Shah has already visited the site and approved the ₹750-crore proposal, which includes the construction of a stadium with a seating capacity for 40,000 spectators. Additionally, the stadium will boast indoor and outdoor practice facilities, training grounds, sports academies, research centers, an eco park, water sports park, sports medicine and fitness centers, an e-sports arena, entertainment zone, and a clubhouse.

Furthermore, the GCDA has outlined plans to enhance the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kaloor. Under an ₹8-crore initiative, the GCDA intends to install UV stabilizer turf protection tiles made of high-density polyethylene. These innovative tiles, which allow sunlight to filter through, will facilitate the growth of grass on the football turf. This initiative aims to diversify the stadium’s usage, enabling it to host public meetings, award shows, musical concerts, and other cultural events, thus generating revenue for the GCDA and positioning Kochi as a cultural hub.

Regarding concerns about the stadium’s roof, Pillai affirmed that experts have deemed it safe, requiring only partial rectification work. Additionally, plans are underway to establish the Tinu Yohannan Cricket Academy on a 55-cent plot near the stadium with private participation.

At the Ambedkar Stadium, plans are in motion to develop a comprehensive sports complex, featuring courts for various sports, cricket nets, an archery center, a 200-meter athletic track, a swimming pool, and a gymnasium. A budget of ₹2 crore has been allocated for the preparatory work, which includes rebuilding galleries, shops, and other dilapidated structures within the stadium premises.

The collaborative efforts between the GCDA, local panchayat, and sports associations underscore a concerted push towards transforming Chengamanad into a vibrant sports and entertainment destination, catering to both local and international audiences.

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