Fund transferred by the Union government yet to be released to the implementing agency
Kochi: The solar city project of the Kochi Corporation remains a non-starter even a year after the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy extended financial assistance to the civic body.
The Ministry had transferred ₹19.42 lakh to the corporation a year ago for popularising the concept of tapping solar power, formation of a Solar City Cell for implementing the project, and preparation of a master plan document.
The fund was released after the Ministry approved the master plan document prepared by the Centre for Heritage Environment and Development (C-HED) for the corporation.
The corporation council had also named C-HED as the city cell for implementing the project.
However, the funds are yet to be released to C-HED, and they remain unused in the account of the Corporation Secretary.
Incidentally, Kochi was one of the few cities that were picked up for implementing the programme, which was “aimed at creating self-sustaining cities by leveraging the immense solar potential through renewable energy and several other energy efficiency projects.”
The programme also aims at “curbing conventional energy demand by 10% in the next five years.”
The Solar City Cell has to be led by an environmental engineer as specified by the Ministry.
Awareness programmes as mandated in the guidelines of the Ministry could not be taken forward for want of funds, officials said.
Responding to the developments, Mayor Soumini Jain admitted that there had been a delay in releasing funds and taking the project forward.
“An earlier attempt to release funds did not succeed as then Secretary had raised objections to the proposal,” she said.
C-HED could not take the programme forward as funds were not released to the agency.
A meeting of the officials concerned, including the Corporation Secretary and those at C-HED, will be convened shortly for implementing the project, the Mayor added.
Ms. Jain was of the view that attractive incentives, including tax sops, should be offered to people who came forward for setting up solar power plants in the initial phase.