Shelving projects owing to unavailability of land is nothing new in Kochi. And, another project that has follow suit is the plan to construct a planetaruim here.
The project, mooted by the district administration, has turned a distant reality for Kochiites as the authorities still could not locate the required five acres of land for it.
Strangely, this is when the authorities are racking their brains at a time, when hectares of land acquired by big companies in the name of carrying out projects are lying idle in the city.
As far as the planetarium project was concerned, there were earlier attempts to acquire land near Civil Station and NGO quarters Kakkanad. But the plans went awry as the expert committee found both these places unsuitable.
Regarding NGO quarters, Kakkanad, a major portion has to be given away for the Kochi Metro Rail Project while the site near Civil station did not have the adequate land.
The planetarium project proposed by the district administration was modelled after the Priyadarshini auditorium in Thiruvanathapuram. The need to set up a planetarium cropped up in connection with the renovation programmes of Children’s Park. Earlier, it was decided to build it inside the Children’s Park. But foreseeing the traffic congestion it could create, such a move was abandoned.
District Collector P I Sheik Pareeth said identifying land for any projects has become a Herculean task for the district administration.
“We need a single stretch of five acres of land for the purpose. Unfortunately, only lands in scattered areas were available which will not serve the purpose. The district administration is adamant on five acres of land without which we could not construct proper parking lots for the planetarium,” he said.
A few months back, the district administration has identified land near Kochin Refinery Ltd ( KRL) at Irunmbanam. The authorities identified about 10 acres of land. But the project could not take off as there was a court order to hand over eight acres of land to Kendriya Vidyalaya.
Pareeth also said that he had plans to cooperate with the project the ‘Children’s Science City’, mooted by Kalamassery Municipality.
“They were also planning to construct a planetarium which can accommodate about 60 people. The district administration is planning to collaborate primarily for the reason that two planetaria at one city is not feasible. But so far, we have not entirely given up the project,” he said.