Amidst all the hullabaloo over the lack of public spaces in and around city, a park located in the heart of Mattanchery, which could have turned a hang out for tourist-frequented spot, cuts a sorry figure. An example of gross neglect, the park lacks even the basic facilities, including seats and lighting.
Once favoured for its proximity to the backwaters, the park was a favourite hangout for young children and tourists for the scenic view it offered.
“The park was the only spot at Mattanchery which offered a picturesque overview of the backwaters. Children used to arrive here with food packets and spend time here. However, owing to the apathy of authorities, the park has been reduced to shambles,” sources said. All that remains in the park is sea-saws, swings and a pond.
It is the Kochi Corporation’s decision, taken a few years ago, to lease out a portion of the park premises for constructing shops for street vendors that led to a saga of neglect.
Though the Archaeological Survey of India had opposed the move citing their guidelines that no constructions were possible within 100 metres of any protected monument, the Kochi Corporation continued with its decision.
Despite frequent reminders, the Kochi Corporation continued building the shops.
Finally, the ASI moved High Court against the Kochi Corporation and the case is still pending.
“The decision taken by the Corporation at that time has hindred any further development of the park. Also, since the shops came up in the area, the park was given no importance,” they said. The decision to lease out the park area for shops had met with huge protests from the public as well as the council decision was unilateral.
Speaking on this, T K Ashraf, ward councillor, Mattanchery said the Council has currently approved of renovating the park.
An amount of `10 lakh has been approved by the Council for the purpose. The renovation of the park will begin by next month, he said.
A delay in receiving the Council approval had resulted in the delay in renovation.