Unfinished projects a blot on Fort Kochi
By Shalet Jimmy | Published: 12th September 2013 08:09 AM |
The state government nod for a renovation project for Fort Kochi may have come as a good news to many, but the residents are apprehensive.
“It is not that we do not need any new projects but completing the existing ones, that has already been declared by the government, are enough to give Fort Kochi a face lift,” said Dr P G Laljee, president, Citizens for Fort Cochin.
The state government has recently given administrative sanction to a renovation project proposed by the Tourism Department worth Rs 10 crore.
Dominic Presentation MLA had declared that the project will focus on seven major works, including the development of St Francis Church Road and footpath, Jawahar Park, Santa Cruz Road, Fort Kochi parade ground, Herschel’s Walk, Vasco da Gama Square and conservation of Chinese fishing nets. He had said that the encroachments will be removed.
“Encroachments have literally marred Fort Kochi. Though the authorities have conducted many eviction drives, not even a single place is free of encroachments,” he said.
Adding to the woes, many of the food courts opened by the Tourism Department is either closed or have been used for other activities. “In the past, around 64 such encroachers were resettled by the Tourism Department by allotting stalls of the food courts and other independent stalls. But in course of time, they started encroaching nearby areas with their ramshackle cabins.
To make matters worse, some union leaders with the support of politicians started encroaching these areas in a massive scale. But the government is yet to act in spite of the High Court order,” he said.
Earlier, the Tourism Department had spend Rs 1.6 crore to built a walkway in Fort Kochi. It was intended to help the differently-abled. “But the walkway is still unfinished. Costly granites were brought from different places. As heaps of granite were left scattered on the road side, a major portion of it were taken away by people,” Laljee said. He added that the walkway for the differently abled was proposed without any vision.
“It is being built near huge trees. Within years, there is a chances for roots of the big trees to protrude from underneath,” he said. Despite building walkway for the entire Fort Kochi, it would have served the purpose if they complete the existing one.
“Fort Kochi exhorts a particular culture. It would be disrupted if any kind of projects is undertaken which is distant from its culture,” he added. Dominic Presentation MLA said that he could comment only on those projects which he knew. “I am not aware of the unfinished walkway. As far as the new projects are concerned, the report has been transferred to KITCO and will float tenders soon,” he said.