Marine Drive: Kochi's lost beauty

Before malls became Kochi’s favourite hangout space, Marine Drive was the city’s most popular pictorial promenade.

Published: 26th May 2016 01:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th May 2016 01:26 AM   |  A+A-

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KOCHI: Before malls became Kochi’s favourite hangout space, Marine Drive was the city’s most popular pictorial promenade. With an enviable backwater view and cool breeze, nothing much could rival the feel and flavour the spot provided. But, not anymore.

Today, the pitiable state of Marine Drive is beyond belief. The enormous billboards the block the view, the waste materials that pollute the water body and dilapidated benches, Marine Drive surely has lost its charm.

Blocking the View

Though most people come to Marine Drive to enjoy the view, the mammoth billboards erected on the grilled walls deny the visitors the pleasure.

The advertisement boards erected on the walls extend to over 2 km along the stretch.

The boards are erected by advertising agencies after paying huge amounts to the GCDA. Many illegal billboards are even nailed to the trees on the Marine Drive.

“This is a tourist spot and the reason people come here is to enjoy the  view. If that isn’t met, the whole purpose is lost,” says Mahesh who came from Bengeluru to visit the city.

Broken Benches

Another blot on the picturesque spot is broken benches. Of the total 352, only 72 have been left standing. “We come here to sit and chat with our friends but are put off by the poor state of the promenade. It is very hard to find a good bench,” says Hari and friends from Sree Narayana college, Cherthala.

If wooden benches have lost their fight with the elements, their metal cousins are not faring any better. The rusty broken benches may injure visitors.

Visitors to Blame

If the authorities are wrong in their apathy towards proper upkeep of the walkway, the visitors are responsible for the mess and litter that they leave behind, says Akshay Gireesh. 

Sanitation

Lack of public toilets puts hundreds of visitors here in a dilemma. With monsoon around the corner, the lack of hygiene is a major cause pf concern.

“I found it very difficult to spot a restroom on the promenade. The authorities should take steps to look into this issue,” said Kaylee, a tourist from USA.

To ensure better sanitation facilities, community toilets and the urinals should be designed and installed at the walkway stretching from Subash Chandra Bose Park in the south to KSINC Boat Jetty in the North.

Cleanliness

Another matter of contention is cleanliness. Visitors spit and smoke in public, ignoring the laws. Garbage lies strewn on the sides of walkway. “Garbage dumped along the walkway has become a regular feature, though cleaners can be seen roaming around with brooms”, said Jameela, a resident in the area.

Food and Hygiene

Street food another attraction here. Tourists can be seen thronging these outlets, which often lack hygiene and quality. The restaurants too are not far behind in hygiene. Food served is often substandard.

‘Amenities in Good Shape’

The outgoing chairman of Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), N Venugopal said that the chairs and amenities managed by the agency at Marine Drive are in good condition. “We have received complaints from the people regarding the poor condition of infrastructure facilities at a section in Marine Drive. In those areas, the infrastructure is managed by other agencies including Tourism Department. They have entered into contract with another party for maintenance and it is their duty to make sure that the benches and other related facilities are in good shape and maintained properly,” he said. Venugopal said. “Recently there were complaints regarding erection of advertisement boards at Marine Drive. We initiated legal action against the violators,” he added.

The outgoing chairman of Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), N Venugopal said that the chairs and amenities managed by the agency at Marine Drive are in good condition. “We have received complaints from the people regarding the poor condition of infrastructure facilities at a section in Marine Drive. In those areas, the infrastructure is managed by other agencies including Tourism Department. They have entered into contract with another party for maintenance and it is their duty to make sure that the benches and other related facilities are in good shape and maintained properly,” he said. Venugopal said. “Recently there were complaints regarding erection of advertisement boards at Marine Drive. We initiated legal action against the violators,” he added.

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