APM Mohammed Hanish, IAS, the man helming the metro mission in Kochi speaks to KTE about his new role at KMRL
A busy but gracious man with an affable personality APM Mohammed Hanish, IAS Officer of 1996 batch placed in the Kerala cadre, has worked in many cities in varied capacities, held many important positions and many high-profile offices, such as the District Collector, Director of School Education Department, and Secretary PWD & Urban Development, to name a few. It needs no special mention that in a country such as ours on the cusp of the new dawn of development, this is no mean feat. Appropriately, the man is also the recipient of E-Governance Award instituted by the Government of Kerala for the initiatives undertaken by the Education Department.
Currently at the helm of the shiny bright Kochi Metro mission in Kerala, Mohammed Hanish is also on the managerial capacity of many other organisations. He is the Chairman & MD of the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation in Ernakulam and is also the MD for Kochi Smart City as well as the MD for the investment arm of Cheraman Financial Services. Armed with the knowledge from the various training programmes from the University of Toronto, Canada, and IIM Bangalore and long years of service in tow, Mohammed Hanish brings in his own invaluable knowledge and skill sets to the new role. Read on to learn more about the man’s vision and plans for Kochi’s new phase of infrastructural changes.
Kochi being the fastest growing city in the country has seen several developments like Kochi Metro Rail Limited which is one of the most capitalintensive projects and you being the new MD of it, how do you feel about it? I feel there are lots of challenges and plenty of dreams for the future. It is ultimately a new dimension that is being used in the realm of mobility, paving the way for the all-round development of the city.
“My priority is to complete the remaining stretch of KMRL. Along with that, we have a long-time dream of becoming Asia’s first city to have a water metro, connecting all the islands of the Kochi backwaters.”
“Kochi will be the fi rst city in Asia to have implemented the Water Metro. As such, it will be a boon and allure on the tourism landscape of the city of Kochi and the state of Kerala.”
What do you feel are your challenges ahead as the MD of KMRL? In the urban landscapes across the country, population keeps multiplying and with new industrial and commercial opportunities coming in for the budding youngsters, more and more townships are emerging and, so there is a great deal of necessity for commuting between the places of the residence and the work.
In this particular sector, we need to emphasize on the fact that it saves a lot of time, energy and money. It will automatically make life easier for commuters and more comfortable for the general citizen. My priority is to complete the remaining stretch of KMRL. Along with that, we have a long-time dream of becoming Asia’s fi rst city to have a water metro, connecting all the islands of the Kochi backwaters
You have work experience from various sectors of the industries. How handy have those been in the managing of Kochi Metro Rail project? My lengthy experience as being the district collector for my home city Ernakulam came in most handy because I have dealt with the liaison work with every organization in the city. Apart from that, I have been the Managing Director of Roads and Bridges Development Corporation Kerala for a long time. Innumerable bridges have been constructed by this agency and I have also been the secretary of Public Works Department and Urban Development which are the most critical departments, as far as infrastructure and development of the city are concerned. The net result of all these is that I could come to grips with the new task with relative ease.
What is Water Metro Plan and how will it further promote the potential of Kochi and Kerala Tourism? Not many cities in the world have the facility of water metros. We aim to connect the old part of the city to the new through its waterways. Seventy-Six boats will cover a total distance of 78 km on fi fteen diff erent routes and ply between Kochi and its various islands every day. It is going to be the fastest mode of transportation which is energy, time and money effi cient. Moreover, it will also reduce the pressure on the conventional modes of transport and current infrastructure. Kochi will be the fi rst city in Asia to have implemented the Water Metro. As such, it will be a boon and allure of the tourism landscape of the city of Kochi and the state of Kerala.
What changes do you foresee ten years down the lane? I can assure you an absolutely integrated city not just in terms of mobility but also in terms of the government’s responsiveness to the citizen’s services
You were the Nodal Offi cer of the U-17 FIFA 2017. Tell us more about your experience? I should say that it was an exciting three-year journey. From 2014 to 2017 we worked for it and the result was a lovely tournament. FIFA today reads it as one of the best conducted and organized tournaments in the world. We are in the race for the U-20, which is an extraordinary achievement. Never in the history of FIFA have two consecutive tournaments been granted to the same country. So I guess we should be proud of that. We learned a lot from the way international organizations conduct the events. The trophy tour was a fabulous memory and the cultural spectacle that we presented was a wonderful one, the picture of which was saved as the wallpaper of the offi cial FIFA website.
What message would you like to give to our readers and the metro users? I would like to tell them all, that whatever dreams they have in their life, they should aim to create reality out of at least a part of those dreams. The basic ingredients that anyone needs for it to fructify, are just a thinking mind coupled with a desire to work hard; then you would fi nd that steadily many of the little dreams that you have, can transform into reality.
Secondly, I request all metro commuters to use the metro facility with care and refrain from exploiting it or vandalizing the infrastructure.
What do you think needs to be done to further promote Kerala tourism? I feel and believe that new unexplored places of Kerala should be added to the map. Basic facilities need to be provided at all the places to attract more tourists. Wayanad has all the potential of being the hot spot of tourism in Northern Kerala; I hope we do whatever is necessary to make it happen in future. Except for Bekal Fort, not many seem to be aware of the other beautiful places of Northern Kerala.
How often do you take holidays and which is your favourite destination in Kerala? I always look forward to a holiday in the hills and to the beaches as well. I don’t miss the chance of combining work with leisure. In fact, I do that often. Just recently I had a quick journey to the Northern part of Kerala. Munnar, Vagamon, Kumarakom are few of my favourite getaways in Kerala.
“ Wayanad has the full potential of being the hot spot of tourism in Northern Kerala; I hope we do whatever is necessary to make it happen in future.”
What was your childhood like? Who has been your inspiration? In my childhood, many people have passed through my life but I have always looked upon my father as my source of inspiration. It’s through him I have received the most enduring messages. On a national level, Mahatma Gandhi has influenced me a lot.
How do you usually wind up your day? I usually go home and relax for a while and I also try to walk a little. I do read whenever possible and make sure that I browse through at least 6 newspapers a day. I love reading magazines too but frankly, I don’t get much time to read any magazines in particular. I have a chosen set of friends and I banter with them and my family. The best relaxant I have found is laughter! I enjoy a good laugh.