Fort Kochi and surrounding areas are poised to get a facelift with the state government undertaking a Rs 4.8-crore project in this regard. KITCO, the public sector consultancy organisation which has been entrusted with the implementation of the project, is expected to float a tender this week, said Dominic Presentation MLA. The work include upgradation of parade ground, development of the park near the Vasco Da Gama Square, upgradation and beautification of K J Herschele Road and beautification of beach and its premises.
“Beautification of the park, beach and other design-related work will be done by renowned architect professor Ramaswamy while implementation of the project will be entrusted with KITCO,” Presentation said.
However, those associated with Tourism development activities themselves are of the opinion that the authorities should immediately evict encroachments at Fort Kochi.
“Though Heritage Zone Conservation Society many times took decision to evict encroachers, it could not implement its decision to wipe away illegal shops in Fort Kochi and develop the area,” said M P Sivadathan, who is a member of the Society. The Fort Kochi Heritage Zone Conservation Society comprises secretary to Department of Tourism, District Collector and nominated members.
Encroachment in Fort Kochi is not something limited to unauthorised occupancy of land alone. Extensions of shops using tarpaulin sheets that stretch beyond the allotted area can also be also be brought under the definition of encroachment. Many people have encroached public spaces in Fort Kochi to set up makeshift shops which has marred the charm and beauty of the places of tourist attraction,” he said.
However, the MLA is of the opinion that eviction would happen so as project implementation is in progress. “It is learnt that Kochi Corporation has started taking steps to evict encroachments,” he said.