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Kochi

Cochin
Clockwise from top: Marine Drive Skyline, Chinese Fishing Nets at Fort Kochi, Cochin Shipyard, Queen's Way, Hill Palace, InfoPark
Nickname(s): 
Queen of the Arabian Sea[1][2]
Kochi is located in Kerala
Kochi
Kochi
Kochi is located in India
Kochi
Kochi
Coordinates: 9°58′N 76°17′E / 9.97°N 76.28°E / 9.97; 76.28Coordinates: 9°58′N 76°17′E / 9.97°N 76.28°E / 9.97; 76.28
CountryIndia
StateKerala
DistrictErnakulam
Formed1 April 1958[3]
Government
 • Type[koˈtʃːi ] (About this soundlisten)), also known as Cochin (/ˈkɪn/ KOH-chin), is a major port city on the south-west coast of India bordering the Laccadive Sea a part of the Arabian Sea. It is part of the district of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala and is often referred to as Ernakulam. Kochi is the most densely populated city in Kerala. As of 2011, it has a corporation limit population of 677,381[4] within an area of 94.88 km² and a total urban population of more than of 2.1 million within an area of 440 km², making it the largest and the most populous metropolitan area in Kerala. Kochi city is also part of the Greater Cochin region[9][10] and is classified as a Tier-II city by the Government of India. The civic body that governs the city is the Kochi Municipal Corporation, which was constituted in the year 1967, and the statutory bodies that oversee its development are the Greater Cochin Development Authority[11] (GCDA) and the Goshree Islands Development Authority (GIDA).[12]

Called the "Queen of the Arabian Sea", Kochi was an important spice trading centre on the west coast of India from the 14th century onward, and maintained a trade network with Arab merchants from the pre-Islamic era. Occupied by the Portuguese in 1503, Kochi was the first of the European colonies in colonial India. It remained the main seat of Portuguese India until 1530, when Goa was chosen instead. The city was later occupied by the Dutch and the British, with the Kingdom of Cochin becoming a princely state. Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala.[13][14] The city was ranked the sixth best tourist destination in India according to a survey conducted by the Nielsen Company on behalf of the Outlook Traveller magazine.[15] In October 2019, Kochi was ranked seventh in Lonely Planet's list of top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2020.[16][17] Kochi was one of the 28 Indian cities among the emerging 440 global cities that will contribute 50% of the world GDP by the year 2025, in a 2011 study done by the McKinsey Global Institute.[18] In July 2018, Kochi was ranked the topmost emerging future megacity in India by global professional services firm JLL.[19][20]

Kochi is known as the financial,[21][22] commercial[23][24] and industrial[25][26] capital of Kerala. It has the highest GDP as well as the highest GDP per capita in the state.[27][28] The city is home to the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy and is the state headquarters[29][30] of the Indian Coast Guard with an attached air squadron, named Air Squadron 747.[31] Commercial maritime facilities of the city include the Port of Kochi, an International Container Transshipment Terminal, the Cochin Shipyard, offshore SPM of the BPCL Kochi Refinery[32] and the Kochi Marina. Kochi is also home for the Cochin Stock Exchange, International Pepper Exchange, Marine Products Export Development Authority, Coconut Development Board, companies like HMT, Apollo Tyres and Synthite, petrochemical companies like the FACT, TCC, IREL, Petronet LNG, Merchem, HOCL[33] and Kochi Refineries, electrical companies like TELK,[34] and V-Guard and industrial parks like the Cochin Special Economic Zone, Smart City, Infopark and Kinfra Hi-Tech Park. Kochi is home for the High Court of Kerala and Lakshadweep, Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Indian Maritime University, Sree Sankaracharya Sanskrit University and the Cochin University of Science and Technology. Kochi is also home to Kerala's National Law School, the National University of Advanced Legal Studies. Kochi has been hosting India's first art biennale, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, since 2012, which attracts international artists and tourists.[35]

Etymology

Ancient travellers and tradesmen referred to Kochi, variously alluding to it as Cocym, Cochym, Cochin, and Kochi.[36] The Cochin Jewish community called Cochin Kogin (Hebrew: קוגין‎), which is seen in the seal of the synagogue owned by the community.Portuguese in 1503, Kochi was the first of the European colonies in colonial India. It remained the main seat of Portuguese India until 1530, when Goa was chosen instead. The city was later occupied by the Dutch and the British, with the Kingdom of Cochin becoming a princely state. Kochi ranks first in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in Kerala.[13][14] The city was ranked the sixth best tourist destination in India according to a survey conducted by the Nielsen Company on behalf of the Outlook Traveller magazine.[15] In October 2019, Kochi was ranked seventh in Lonely Planet's list of top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2020.[16][17] Kochi was one of the 28 Indian cities among the emerging 440 global cities that will contribute 50% of the world GDP by the year 2025, in a 2011 study done by the McKinsey Global Institute.[18] In July 2018, Kochi was ranked the topmost emerging future megacity in India by global professional services firm JLL.[19][20]

Kochi is known as the financial,[21][22] commercial[23][24] and industrial[25][26] capital of Kerala. It has the highest GDP as well as the highest GDP per capita in the state.[27][28] The city is home to the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy and is the state headquarters[29][30] of the Indian Coast Guard with an attached air squadron, named Air Squadron 747.[31] Commercial maritime facilities of the city include the Port of Kochi, an International Container Transshipment Terminal, the Cochin Shipyard, offshore SPM of the BPCL Kochi Refinery[32] and the Kochi Marina. Kochi is also home for the Cochin Stock Exchange, International Pepper Exchange, Marine Products Export Development Authority, Coconut Development Board, companies like HMT, Apollo Tyres and Synthite, petrochemical companies like the FACT, TCC, IREL, Petronet LNG, Merchem, HOCL[33] and Kochi Refineries, electrical companies like TELK,[34] and V-Guard and industrial parks like the Cochin Special Economic Zone, Smart City, Infopark and Kinfra Hi-Tech Park. Kochi is home for the High Court of Kerala and Lakshadweep, Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Indian Maritime University, Sree Sankaracharya Sanskrit University and the Cochin University of Science and Technology. Kochi is also home to Kerala's National Law School, the National University of Advanced Legal Studies. Kochi has been hosting India's first art biennale, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, since 2012, which attracts international artists and tourists.[35]

Ancient travellers and tradesmen referred to Kochi, variously alluding to it as Cocym, Cochym, Cochin, and Kochi.[36] The Cochin Jewish community called Cochin Kogin (Hebrew: קוגין‎), which is seen in the seal of the synagogue owned by the community.[37] The origin of the name Kochi is thought to be the Malayalam word kochu azhi, meaning 'small lagoon'. Yet another theory is that Kochi is derived from the word kaci, meaning 'harbour'.[38] Accounts by Italian explorers Nicolo Conti (15th century), and Fra Paoline in the 17th century say that it was called Kochchi, named after the river connecting the backwaters to the sea.[39] After the arrival of the Portuguese, and later the British, the name Cochin stuck as the official appellation. The city reverted to a closer transcription of its original Malayalam name, Kochi, in 1996. This change in name was challenged by the city municipal corporation but court later dismissed the plea.[40]

History

Kochi was the centre of Indian spice trade for many centuries, and was known to the Yavanas (Greeks and Romans) as well as Jews, Syrians, Arabs, and Chinese since ancient times.[41] It rose to significance as a trading centre after the port Muziris around Kodungallur (Cranganore) was destroyed by the massive flooding of Periyar in 1341.[42] The earliest documented references to Kochi occur in books written by Chinese voyager Ma Huan during his visit to Kochi in the 15th century as part of Admiral Zheng He's treasure fleet.[43] There are also references to Kochi in accounts written by Italian traveller Niccolò Da Conti, who visited Kochi in 1440.[44]

Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral (who also discovered Brazil) established Portuguese rule in Kochi (Portuguese: Cochim) in 1500, which lasted until 1663.

On the Malabar coast during the early 15th century, Calicut and Kochi were in an intense rivalry, so the Ming dynasty of China decided to intervene by granting special status to Kochi and its ruler known as Keyili (可亦里) to the Chinese.[45] Calicut had been the dominant port-city in the region, but Kochi was emerging as its main rival.[45] For the fifth Ming treasure voyage, Admiral Zheng He was instructed to confer a seal upon Keyili of Kochi and enfeoff a mountain in his kingdom as the Zhenguo Zhi Shan (鎮國之山, Mountain Which Protects the Country).[45] Zheng He delivered a stone tablet, inscribed with a proclamation composed by the Yongle Emperor himself

Kochi was the centre of Indian spice trade for many centuries, and was known to the Yavanas (Greeks and Romans) as well as Jews, Syrians, Arabs, and Chinese since ancient times.[41] It rose to significance as a trading centre after the port Muziris around Kodungallur (Cranganore) was destroyed by the massive flooding of Periyar in 1341.[42] The earliest documented references to Kochi occur in books written by Chinese voyager Ma Huan during his visit to Kochi in the 15th century as part of Admiral Zheng He's treasure fleet.[43] There are also references to Kochi in accounts written by Italian traveller Niccolò Da Conti, who visited Kochi in 1440.[44]

On the Malabar coast during the early 15th century, Calicut and Kochi were in an intense rivalry, so the Ming dynasty of China decided to intervene by granting special status to Kochi and its ruler known as Keyili (可亦里) to the Chinese.[45] Calicut had been the dominant port-city in the region, but Kochi was emerging as its main rival.[45] For the fifth Ming treasure voyage, Admiral Zheng He was instructed to confer a seal upon Keyili of Kochi and enfeoff a mountain in his kingdom as the Zhenguo Zhi Shan (鎮國之山, Mountain Which Protects the Country).[45] Zheng He delivered a stone tablet, inscribed with a proclamation composed by the Yongle Emperor himself, to Kochi.[45] As long as Kochi remained under the protection of Ming China, the Zamorin of Calicut was unable to invade Kochi and a military conflict was averted.[45] The cessation of the Ming treasure voyages consequently had negative results for Kochi, as the Zamorin of Calicut would eventually launch an invasion against Kochi.[45] In the late 15th century, the Zamorin occupied Kochi and installed his representative as the king of the port-city.[45]

According to many historians, the precursor state to Kingdom of Kochi came into existence in the early 12th century, after the fall of the Chera Kingdom.[38] The reign of the Kingdom was hereditary, and the family that ruled over the region was known as the Perumpadappu Swaroopam in the local vernacular.

Portuguese navigator, Pedro Álvares Cabral founded the first European settlement in India at Kochi in 1500.[46] From 1503 to 1663, Fort Kochi (Fort Emmanuel) was ruled by Portugal. This Portuguese period was a harrowing time for the Saint Thomas Chr

According to many historians, the precursor state to Kingdom of Kochi came into existence in the early 12th century, after the fall of the Chera Kingdom.[38] The reign of the Kingdom was hereditary, and the family that ruled over the region was known as the Perumpadappu Swaroopam in the local vernacular.

Portuguese navigator, Pedro Álvares Cabral founded the first European settlement in India at Kochi in 1500.[46] From 1503 to 1663, Fort Kochi (Fort Emmanuel) was ruled by Portugal. This Portuguese period was a harrowing time for the Saint Thomas Christians and the Jews, as the Inquisition was active in Portuguese India. Kochi hosted the grave of Vasco da Gama, the first European explorer to set sail for India, who was buried at St. Francis Church until his remains were returned to Portugal in 1539.[47] The Portuguese rule was followed by that of the Dutch who renamed Fort Immanuel as Fort Stormsburg. In meantime, the Royal Family of Kochi relocated the capital of Kochi Kingdom to Thrissur, leaving nominal authority over Islands of Kochi. In 1664, Fort Kochi Municipality was established by Dutch, making it the first municipality in Indian subcontinent, which got dissolved when Dutch authority got weaker in the 18th century. The remaining part of Kochi were governed by governors of Kochi Kingdom. By 1773, the Mysore ruler Hyder Ali extended his conquest in the Malabar region to Kochi forcing it to become a tributary of Mysore. The hereditary Prime Ministership of Kochi held by the Paliath Achans ended during this period.[48]

Meanwhile, the Dutch, fearing an outbreak of war on the United Provinces, signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 with the United Kingdom, under which Kochi was ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for the island of Bangka, east of Sumatra. However, there are evidences of English habitation in the region even before the signing of the treaty.[49] In 1866, Fort Kochi municipality was reinstalled and its first Municipal Council seating contest was conducted in 1883. In 1896, H.H. Rama Varma XV, The Maharaja of Cochin, initiated local administration by forming town councils in Mattancherry and Ernakulam. In 1907, the Governor of the Madras Presidency, Sir Arthur Lawley and his brother, Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron Wenlock, Governor of Madras, 1891 to 1896, left for an official tour of Cochin and Travancore, which lasted from 25 January to 14 February. On 26 January, they were met by His Highness the Rajah of Cochin who gave a State Dinner in their honour at Ernakulam.[50][51][52][53] By the 1870s, the capital of Kochi Kingdom was relocated again to Kochi Suburb of Tripunithura. In 1910, Ernakulam became the administrative capital of Kochi Kingdom with establishment of Royal Secretariat and State Durbar. The offices of the Diwan and High court were soon moved into Ernakulam.[54]

The Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest active synagogue in both India and the Commonwealth of Nations.

In 1925, Kochi legislative assembly was constituted due to public pressure on the state. Towards the early 20th century, trade at the port had increased subst

In 1925, Kochi legislative assembly was constituted due to public pressure on the state. Towards the early 20th century, trade at the port had increased substantially, and the need to develop the port was greatly felt. Harbour engineer Robert Bristow was brought to Kochi in 1920 under the direction of Lord Willingdon, then the Governor of Madras. In a span of 21 years, he transformed Kochi as one of the safest harbours in the peninsula, where ships berthed alongside the newly reclaimed inner harbour equipped with a long array of steam cranes.[55]

In 1947, when India gained independence from the British colonial rule, Cochin was the first princely state to join India willingly.[38] In 1949, Travancore-Cochin state came into being with the merger of Cochin and Travancore. The King of Travancore was the Rajpramukh of the Travancore-Cochin Union from 1949 to 1956. Travancore-Cochin, was in turn merged with the Malabar district of the In 1947, when India gained independence from the British colonial rule, Cochin was the first princely state to join India willingly.[38] In 1949, Travancore-Cochin state came into being with the merger of Cochin and Travancore. The King of Travancore was the Rajpramukh of the Travancore-Cochin Union from 1949 to 1956. Travancore-Cochin, was in turn merged with the Malabar district of the Madras State. Finally, the Government of India's States Reorganisation Act (1956) inaugurated a new state—Kerala—incorporating Travancore-Cochin (excluding the four southern Taluks which were merged with Tamil Nadu), Malabar District, and the taluk of Kasargod, South Kanara.[56] On 9 July 1960 the Mattancherry council passed a resolution—which was forwarded to the government—requesting the formation of a municipal corporation by combining the existing municipalities of Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, and Ernakulam. The government appointed a commission to study the feasibility of the suggested merger. Based on its report, the Kerala Legislative Assembly approved the corporation's formation. On 1 November 1967, exactly eleven years since the establishment of the state of Kerala, the Kochi Municipal Corporation came into existence. The merger leading to the establishment of the corporation, was between the municipalities of Ernakulam, Mattancherry and Fort Kochi, along with that of the Willingdon Island, four panchayats (Palluruthy, Vennala, Vyttila and Edappally), and the small islands of Gundu and Ramanthuruth.[57] Kochi and Ernakulam district formed on 1 April 1958 carving areas of erstwhile Travancore-Kochi-Malabar kingdoms. Major portion of the district is from the Kochi kingdom.[3]

The city's economic growth gathered momentum after economic reforms in India introduced by the central government in the early-1990s. Since 2000, the service sector has energised the city's economy. The establishment of several industrial parks based on IT and other port based infrastructure triggered a construction and realty boom in the city. Over the years, Kochi has witnessed rapid commercialisation, and has today grown into the commercial hub of Kerala.[58]

Kochi is located on the southwest coast of India at 9°58′N 76°13′E / 9.967°N 76.217°E / 9.967; 76.217, with a corporation limit area of 94.88 km2 (36.63 sq mi).[59] Over the years, the city has expanded considerably outside the corporation limit set in 1967, although the official city limits hasn't yet been increased.[60][61] The city straddles the backwaters, encompassing the northern end of a peninsula, several islands and a portion of the mainland. To the west lies the Laccadive Sea, and to the east is the urbanised region in the rest of the mainland area. Much of Kochi lies at sea level, with a coastline of 48 km.[38]

The current metropolitan limits of Kochi include the mainland Ernakulam, Fort Kochi, the suburbs of Edapally, Kalamassery, Aluva and Kakkanad to the northeast; Tripunithura to the southeast; and a group of islands closely scattered in the Vembanad Lake. The state government and the GCDA have plans to include Mala and Kodungallur in Thrissur district, Angamaly, Perumbavoor, Piravom and Ernakulam, Fort Kochi, the suburbs of Edapally, Kalamassery, Aluva and Kakkanad to the northeast; Tripunithura to the southeast; and a group of islands closely scattered in the Vembanad Lake. The state government and the GCDA have plans to include Mala and Kodungallur in Thrissur district, Angamaly, Perumbavoor, Piravom and Kolenchery in Ernakulam district, Thalayolaparambu and Vaikom in Kottayam and Cherthala in Alappuzha district within Kochi metropolitan limits. The newly formed metropolis would be put under the charge of a new authority called Kochi Metropolitan Regional Development Authority.[62][63] However, The Hindu reported that the state government is yet to take any concrete steps in this regard.[64]

Soil consists of sediments such as alluvium, teris, brown sands, etc. Hydromorphic saline soils are also found in the areas surrounding the backwaters.[38]

Predominant rock types found here are Archaean-basic dykes, Charnockites and Gneisses. An ecologically sensitive area, the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary is located in the central part of the city. It has a wide range of mangrove species and is a nesting ground for a vast variety of migratory birds.[65]

Kochi's water needs are entirely dependent on ground water and the two rivers flowing through the district viz., Periyar and Muvattupuzha. Periyar serves the entire northern part of the city[66] whereas Muvattupuzha river under the JnNurm project covers the western part.[67]

Under the Köppen climate classification, Kochi features a tropical monsoon climate (Am). Kochi's proximity to the equator along with its coastal location results in little seasonal temperature variation, with moderate to high levels of humidity. Annual temperatures range between 23 and 31 °C (73 and 88 °F) with the record high being 36.5 °C (97.7 °F), and record low 16.3 °C (61.3 °F).[68] From June to September, the south-west monsoon brings in heavy rains as Kochi lies on the windward side of the Western Ghats. From October to December, Kochi receives lighter (yet significant) rain from the northeast monsoon, as it lies on the leeward side. Average annual rainfall is 3,014.8 mm (118.69 in), with an annual average of 124 rainy days.[69]

Kochi Corporation, headed by a mayor. For administrative purposes, the city is divided into 74 wards,[70] from which the members of the corporation council are elected for five years. Earlier; Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Ernakulam were the three Municipalities in Cochin area, which was later merged to form the Cochin Corporation. The Corporation has its headquarters in Ernakulam, and zonal offices at Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Palluruthy, Edappally and Pachalam.[71] The general administration of the city is handled by the Personnel Department and the Council Standing committee Section.[72] Other departments include that of town planning, health, engineering, revenue and accounts. The corporation is also responsible for waste disposal and sewage management. The city produces more than 600 tons of waste per day and a large portion of waste is decomposed at Brahmapuram Soild Waste plant into organic manure.[72] The supply of potable water, sourced from the Periyar River is handled by Kerala Water Authority with support of Water works department of Kochi Corporation.[73] Electricity is provided by the Kerala State Electricity Board. The GCDA and GIDA are the government agencies initiating and monitoring the development of Greater Cochin area, mainly in developing infrastructure facilities for the city.[74]

Law and order

Kochi is the seat of High Court of Kerala, the highest judicial body in the state of Kerala. The Kochi City Police is headed by a Police Commissioner, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. The city is divided into five zones and each zone under a circle officer. Apart from regular law & order, the city police comprises the Traffic Police, Narcotics Cell, Riot horse, Armed Reserve Camps, District Crime Records Bureau and a Women's Police station.[75] It operates 19 police stations functioning under the Home Ministry of Government of Kerala. An anti-corruption branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation also operates out of the city. CISF maintains 3 squadrons for providing security to various central and state heavy industries, airport and seaport zones. Other major central agencies are NIA, DRI and Indian Customs due to the presence of major port. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Kochi reported significant increase of 193.7 per cent IPC crimes in 2010 compared to 2009, and reported a crime rate of 1,897.8 compared to the 424.1 in whole Kerala.[76] However, the city police commissioner defended that in major crimes such as murders and kidnapping, the city registered a low crime rate even behind other cities in the state.[77]

Politics

Kochi is part of the Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency in Indian Parliament. The current elected Member of Parliament representing the constituency is Prof. K. V. Thomas of Indian National Congress.[78]

The Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency elects six members to the state Legislative Assembly. Out of this, five constituencies, namely Kochi, Ernakulam, Thripunithura, Thrikkakara and Kalamassery represent the city. The elected representative to the state Legislative Assembly from Kochi is K. J. Maxi, Ernakulam is Hibi Eden, Thripunithura is M. Swaraj, Thrikkakara is P. T. Thomas and Kalamassery is V. K. Ibrahim Kunju.[79]

Economy

Kochi is widely referred to as the financial[21] and commercial[23] capital of Kerala. Kochi was home to Cochin Stock Exchange, the only stock exchange in Kerala. Federal Bank, the fourth-largest Private-sector bank in India is located in Aluva which is a suburb of Kochi. Being a major online trading centre in the country, Kochi has a newly opened SEBI office.[80]

The Greater Cochin Development Authority is the statutory body overseeing the development of the city
Established in 1926, the Cochin Port Trust overlooks the activities of Cochin Port
Wonderla amusement park, Kochi
Kakkanad is a major industrial center and is home to the Cochin Special Economic Zone, Infopark and Smart City

Availability of electricity, fresh water, long coastline, backwaters, good banking facilities, presence of a major port, container trans-shipment terminal, harbour terminal and an international air terminal are some of the factors which accelerated the industrial growth in the city and its adjoining district.[58] In recent years the city has witnessed heavy investment, thus making it one of the fastest-growing second-tier metro cities in India.[81][82] Sales tax income generated in the Kochi metropolitan area contributes heavily to state revenue.[83][84]

High Court of Kerala, the highest judicial body in the state of Kerala. The Kochi City Police is headed by a Police Commissioner, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. The city is divided into five zones and each zone under a circle officer. Apart from regular law & order, the city police comprises the Traffic Police, Narcotics Cell, Riot horse, Armed Reserve Camps, District Crime Records Bureau and a Women's Police station.[75] It operates 19 police stations functioning under the Home Ministry of Government of Kerala. An anti-corruption branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation also operates out of the city. CISF maintains 3 squadrons for providing security to various central and state heavy industries, airport and seaport zones. Other major central agencies are NIA, DRI and Indian Customs due to the presence of major port. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Kochi reported significant increase of 193.7 per cent IPC crimes in 2010 compared to 2009, and reported a crime rate of 1,897.8 compared to the 424.1 in whole Kerala.[76] However, the city police commissioner defended that in major crimes such as murders and kidnapping, the city registered a low crime rate even behind other cities in the state.[77]

Politics

Kochi i

Kochi is part of the Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency in Indian Parliament. The current elected Member of Parliament representing the constituency is Prof. K. V. Thomas of Indian National Congress.[78]

The Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency elects six members to the

The Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency elects six members to the state Legislative Assembly. Out of this, five constituencies, namely Kochi, Ernakulam, Thripunithura, Thrikkakara and Kalamassery represent the city. The elected representative to the state Legislative Assembly from Kochi is K. J. Maxi, Ernakulam is Hibi Eden, Thripunithura is M. Swaraj, Thrikkakara is P. T. Thomas and Kalamassery is V. K. Ibrahim Kunju.[79]

Kochi is widely referred to as the financial[21] and commercial[23] capital of Kerala. Kochi was home to Cochin Stock Exchange, the only stock exchange in Kerala. Federal Bank, the fourth-largest Private-sector bank in India is located in Aluva which is a suburb of Kochi. Being a major online trading centre in the country, Kochi has a newly opened SEBI office.[80]

Availability of electricity, fresh water, long coastline, backwaters, good banking facilities, presence of a major port, container trans-shipment terminal, harbour terminal and an international air terminal are some of the factors which accelerated the industrial growth in the city and its adjoining district.[58] In recent years the city has witnessed heavy investment, thus making it one of the fastest-growing second-tier metro cities in India.[81][82] Sales tax income generated in the Kochi metropolitan area contributes heavily to state revenue.[83][84]

Vembanad Rail Bridge is the longest railway bridge in India
[85] Construction and manufacturing industries combined contributes 37% of the district's total GDP, and trade, tourism and hospitality industries together provides another 20%. Major business sectors include construction, manufacturing, shipbuilding, transportation/shipping, seafood and spices exports, chemical industries, information technology (IT), tourism, health services, and banking. Kochi is recognised as one of the seventeen major industrial cities of India by the World Bank Group. However, in the 2009 rankings of ease to start and operate a business, among the 17 Indian cities selected, Kochi was rated as the second most difficult city to start business and was ranked 16th, above Kolkata.[86]

As in most of Kerala, remittances from non-resident Indians (NRI)s is a major source of income.[87] Eloor, situated 13 kilometres (8.1 miles) north of the city-centre, is the largest industrial belt in Kerala, with more than 250 factories manufacturing a range of products including chemical and petrochemical products, pesticides, rare earth elements, rubber processing chemicals, fertilisers, zinc and chromium compounds, and leather products.[88] Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT), one of the oldest fertilizers and chemical industry in Kerala is located in Kochi.[89] Kochi Refineries of (BPCL) at Ambalamugal is the largest state owned refinery in India. Petronet India has now almost completed Kochi LNG Terminal, for importing and storing natural gas, for energy and fuelling needs.[90] Central Government establishments like the Coconut Development Board, the Coir Board and the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) have head offices located in the city.

Kalamassery which is situated around 16.5 km from the City Center is one of the major Industrial areas. Leading factories like FACT, HMT and IT/Biotechnology park like KINFRA Hi-Tech Park are located here. The headquarters of Neera Development Center is located at Kalamassery . The Cochin University of Science and Technology is located at Kalamassery. Irimpanam is another major industrial area in Kochi. The Seaport-Airport Road (SPAP Road) passes through this place and oil giants like Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have plants here.[91][92][93]

Like elsewhere in Kerala, tourism is one of the major contributors of the local economy. Ernakulam district, in which Kochi is situated, ranks first in the total number of domestic tourists visiting Kerala,[14] and thus contributes to the economy of the city. The tourist enclave at Fort Kochi and presence of several historical monuments, museums etc. as well as natural attr

As in most of Kerala, remittances from non-resident Indians (NRI)s is a major source of income.[87] Eloor, situated 13 kilometres (8.1 miles) north of the city-centre, is the largest industrial belt in Kerala, with more than 250 factories manufacturing a range of products including chemical and petrochemical products, pesticides, rare earth elements, rubber processing chemicals, fertilisers, zinc and chromium compounds, and leather products.[88] Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT), one of the oldest fertilizers and chemical industry in Kerala is located in Kochi.[89] Kochi Refineries of (BPCL) at Ambalamugal is the largest state owned refinery in India. Petronet India has now almost completed Kochi LNG Terminal, for importing and storing natural gas, for energy and fuelling needs.[90] Central Government establishments like the Coconut Development Board, the Coir Board and the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) have head offices located in the city.

Kalamassery which is situated around 16.5 km from the City Center is one of the major Industrial areas. Leading factories like FACT, HMT and IT/Biotechnology park like KINFRA Hi-Tech Park are located here. The headquarters of Neera Development Center is located at Kalamassery . The Cochin University of Science and Technology is located at Kalamassery. Irimpanam is another major industrial area in Kochi. The Seaport-Airport Road (SPAP Road) passes through this place and oil giants like Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have plants here.[91][92][93]

Like elsewhere in Kerala, tourism is one of the major contributors of the local economy. Ernakulam district, in which Kochi is situated, ranks first in the total number of domestic tourists visiting Kerala,[14] and thus contributes to the economy of the city. The tourist enclave at Fort Kochi and presence of several historical monuments, museums etc. as well as natural attractions like the Vembanad lake and the backwaters attract large number of tourists to the city. Presence of several leading hospitality brands have been a major source of employment for locals. The Kochi Port is one of the leading ports where international cruisers call on regularly.[94] The city has the first marina facility[95] in the country, Kochi Marina which attracts large number of yacht-totters. Real Estate industry is also one industry which is contributing a lot to the economy of Kochi. Many players have entered the market and have developed residential properties. Kochi is the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command, the primary training centre of the Indian Navy.[96] The Cochin Shipyard, contributes to the economy of the city.[97][98] The fishing harbour at Thoppumpady is a minor fishing port in the state and supplies fish to local and export markets. To further tap the potential of the all-season harbour at Kochi, an international cruise terminal was also constructed.[99]

Exports and allied activities are also important contributors to the city's economy. The Cochin Port currently handles export and import of container cargo at its terminal at Willingdon Island. The International Container Transshipment Terminal operating out of Vallarpadam, is India's largest transshipment terminal.[100][101][102][103] Cochin Port Trust also planning to build an Outer Harbour near Puthuvype.[104] Kochi's historical reliance on trade continues into modern times, as the city is a major exporter of spices and is home to the International Pepper Exchange, where black pepper is globally traded. The Spices Board of India and World Spice Organisation are headquartered in Kochi.

The IT and ITES related industries are growing up in Kochi. Availability of cheap bandwidth through undersea cables and lower operational costs compared to other major cities in India, has been to its advantage. Various technology and industrial campuses including the government promoted InfoPark, Cochin Special Economic Zone and KINFRA Export Promotion Industrial Park operate in the outskirts of the city. Several new industrial campuses are under construction in the suburbs of the city. SmartCity at Kakkanad is one of the prominent projects.[105] Cyber City at Kalamassery is another integrated IT township SEZ being planned in the private sector.[106]

Kochi has an established electronics hardware industry with companies such as V-Guard Industries, OEN India Limited, FCI OEN Connectors and SFO Technologies. The Government of Kerala has announced a project to build an industrial park named Electronic City[107] spanning an area of 340 acres (140 ha), to cater to the electronic hardware industries. The private operator NeST[108] is building a Special Economic Zone specifically for electronics hardware spanning an area of 30 acres (12 ha).

The Cochin International Airport is in the process of setting up an aerotropolis at Nedumbassery.[109][110]

The air gateway to Kochi is the Cochin International Airport (CIAL) located at Nedumbassery, which is about 28 km (17 mi) north of Kochi city, and handles both domestic and international flights.[111] It is the first international airport in India to be built without Central Government funds[112] and is the world's first fully solar energy powered airport.

The Cochin airport provides direct connectivity to popular international destinations in the Middle East, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore and to most major Indian cities apart from tourist destinations like Lakshadweep. Kochi is also the headquarters of the Air India Express service. With a terminal area of 840,000 sq ft (78,000 m2), and a passenger capacity of 2200 (international and domestic), it is the largest and busiest airport in the state.[113] It is also the fourth busiest airport in India in terms of international passenger traffic, and seventh busiest overall.[114][115]

Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore and to most major Indian cities apart from tourist destinations like Lakshadweep. Kochi is also the headquarters of the Air India Express service. With a terminal area of 840,000 sq ft (78,000 m2), and a passenger capacity of 2200 (international and domestic), it is the largest and busiest airport in the state.[113] It is also the fourth busiest airport in India in terms of international passenger traffic, and seventh busiest overall.[114][115]

Kochi is well connected to neighbouring cities and states via several highways. It is a node in the North-South Corridor of the National Highway system.[116][117] The road infrastructure in Kochi has not been able to meet the growing traffic demand and hence traffic congestion is a major problem in the city.[118]

Kochi is served by National Highway 66, National Highway 544, National Highway 966A and National Highway 966B.[119][120][121]

Several state highways also connect Kochi with other parts of Kerala.[122] SH 15, Ettumanoor-Ernakulam Road, connects the city to Kottayam, Pala, Kumily, Changanacherry, Pathanamthitta etc. SH 41, Palarivattom-Thekkady Road, provides a corridor to the eastern parts of the district. SH 63, Vypeen Pallipuram Road and SH 66, Alappuzha – Thoppumpady road are coastal roads that serve the narrow sliver of land between the backwaters and the sea.

The main arterial roads of the city are the Mahatma Gandhi Road and Sahodaran Ayyappan Road in Ernakulam, constructed in 1925 & 1962 respectively which runs parallel & perpendicular to the coast and having the proposed Metro Rail connectivity. The Seaport-Airport Road is another major road and connects the Cochin Seaport to the Cochin International Airport. The Infopark Expressway in Kakkanad is connected to the Seaport-Airport Road and stretches all the way to Infopark. Other major roads include Chittoor Road, Banerji Road, Shanmugham Road, Kochi Bypass, Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road, Park Avenue etc. A new ring road is proposed for Kochi city by the state government for which a project study is being currently undertaken by NATPAC.[123]

Public transport

Road

The primary form of public transport within the city is largely dependent on privately owned bus networks. The state-run also operates its services in the city through the Thirukochi service. The major bus terminals in the city are Ernakulam Town, Ernakulam Jetty and the private bus terminal at Kaloor. An integrated transit terminal namely The Mobility Hub at Vytilla is under 2nd phase of construction. The terminal ac

Kochi is served by National Highway 66, National Highway 544, National Highway 966A and National Highway 966B.[119][120][121]

Several state highways also connect Kochi with other parts of Kerala.[122] SH 15, Ettumanoor-Ernakulam Road, connects the city to Kottayam, Pala, Kumily, Changanacherry, Pathanamthitta etc. SH 41, Palarivattom-Thekkady Road, provides a corridor to the eastern parts of the district. SH 63, Vypeen Pallipuram Road and SH 66, Alappuzha – Thoppumpady road are coastal roads that serve the narrow sliver of land between the backwaters and the sea.

The main arterial roads of the city are the Mahatma Gandhi Road and Sahodaran Ayyappan Road in Ernakulam, constructed in 1925 & 1962 respectively which runs parallel & perpendicular to the coast and having the proposed Metro Rail connectivity. The Seaport-Airport Road is another major road and connects the Cochin Seaport to the Cochin International Airport. The Infopark Expressway in Kakkanad is connected to the Seaport-Airport Road and stretches all the way to Infopark. Other major roads include Chittoor Road, Banerji Road, Shanmugham Road, Kochi Bypass, Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road, Park Avenue etc. A new ring road is proposed for Kochi city by the state government for which a project study is being currently undertaken by NATPAC.[123]

The primary form of public transport within the city is largely dependent on privately owned bus networks. The state-run also operates its services in the city through the Thirukochi service. The major bus terminals in the city are Ernakulam Town, Ernakulam Jetty and the private bus terminal at Kaloor. An integrated transit terminal namely The Mobility Hub at Vytilla is under 2nd phase of construction. The terminal acts as a hub for long-distance bus services away from the city centre, and also a converging point for different modes of public transport, namely bus, metro and ferry.[124]

Kochi is one of the few cities to be granted the new-generation air-conditioned low-floor and non-air-conditioned semi-low-floor buses und

Kochi is one of the few cities to be granted the new-generation air-conditioned low-floor and non-air-conditioned semi-low-floor buses under the JNNURM city transport development project. KURTC and private buses operate frequent schedules to neighbouring areas of Nedumbassery, Perumbavoor, Aluva, Muvattupuzha, Kothamangalam, Cherthala and Poochakkal. Taxis and auto rickshaws (called autos) are available for hire throughout the day.

Development of road infrastructure not keeping pace with the increase in traffic is a major problem faced by Kochi, like most other parts of Kerala.[125]

The city has four major railway stations – Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town (locally known as the South and North railway stations respectively), Aluva and Tripunithura followed by smaller stations, Edapally and Kalamassery. There is also the Cochin Harbour Terminus providing rail connectivity to the southern segment of the Port of Kochi. The terminus is currently under renovation for the suburban rail networks in the city. The main rail transport system in Kochi is operated by the Southern Railway Zone of Indian Railways, and comes under Thiruvananthapuram Railway division. The South station is one of the busiest railway stations in South India, with more than 128 scheduled train services daily.[126] The North station situated on the northern side of the city, caters mostly to long-distance services that bypass the South station, and also is an additional halt station for many trains.

There is also a historic station named as Ernakulam Terminus(station code:ERG) situated behind the High Court. Great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and The British Viceroy have visited Cochin through this old railway station. Ernakulam Terminus was the first station to serve the city but had to be abandoned in the early 1960s. Now this station operates as a goods depot of Southern Railway.[127]

The Kochi Metro is a metro rapid transit system serving the city of Kochi, intended to considerably ease traffic congestion in the city and its surrounding metropolitan area.[128] It is being set up at an overall estimated cost of 5,146 crore (US$720 million). The Phase-1 of the metro system will have 22 stations connecting the suburban towns of Aluva and Pettah while passing through downtown.[129] The first half of the Phase-1 of Kochi Metro was inaugurated on 17 June 2017 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Currently Kochi Metro is operational from Aluva till Maharaja's College along the Kalamassery - Edappally - Kaloor - MG Road stretch, covering a total of 18.4 km with 16 operational metro stations.[130]

Water