To accord a red carpet reception to the President and the Prime Minister who will arrive in Kochi next week to participate in the Pravasi Bharathiya Divas, the city is all geared up to look spick and span. Manmohan Singh will arrive on January 8 for the official inauguration of the event and President Pranab Mukherjee on January 9 to attend the valedictory function. Mayor Tony Chammany said that measures to clean up the city had started on December 15.
“An intensified cleaning drive began on Wednesday. The majority of the unauthorised hoardings have already been removed. The rest will be cleared in the coming days,” he said. More vehicles have been allotted to carry out the cleaning drive.
“The Corporation had floated tenders for the work. By January 5, we will complete the whole cleaning process,” the Mayor said.
K J Sohan, town planning standing committee chairman, said that if the hoardings, posters and bill boards are not removed, the company whose advertisement are displayed will be sued. “Usually the companies give contract to agencies who install hoardings and posters. But in this case the companies will be held responsible and not the contract agencies. They will have to pay the fine if they don’t remove the hoardings within the time frame,” he said.
The first phase of the cleaning process has begun along the bus-routes. “The western zone will be covered by Friday,” he said.
According to Gopalakrishnan, town planning officer of the Corporation, apart from removing the hoardings and posters, petty shops without licences will also face the axe. “A squad has been formed to carry out the eviction. Special attention will be given to NH-47, especially the stretch from Edappally to Le Meridian hotel, as the delegates including central ministers and state ministers will pass through this route,” he said.
He said that the cleaning of the city will be undertaken by the Health Department of the Corporation.Regarding the beautification of the city to welcome the delegates, Tony Chammany said that FICCI has been given the full responsibility to carry out the work. “We have already submitted a proposal and it has responded positively,” he said.