KOCHI: Hereafter, the VIP football pavilion at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, Kaloor, will be known after former chief minister K Karunakaran. Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala declared the VIP pavilion as ‘K Karunakaran Stand’ here on Thursday as a mark of tribute to the former chief minister. The stand also features the biography and the photographs of Karunakaran taken during his visits to the stadium. Besides, the stand also sports some rare photographs of the leader.
The Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) had mooted the project to remember the man who materialised the international stadium. Karunakaran’s son and MLA K Muraleedharan, daughter Padmaja Venugopal and son-in-law Venugopal were present at the function.
MLA Hibi Eden Presided over the function. Excise Minister K Babu, GCDA chairman N Venugopal, District Collector M G Rajamanickam, MLA Ludi Luiz, KCA president T C Mathew and KFA president KMI Mather were also present during the ceremony.
“Karunakaran always implemented the projects by facing a lot of obstructions and criticism. But he was steadfast in launching the projects foreseeing their importance. The CIAL, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Police academy at Thrissur and many other projects are major examples of his brilliance,” said Ramesh Chennithala while declaring the pavilion after his name. He also urged the GCDA chairman to install Karunakaran’s statue in the city. “Compared to other districts, Kochi was in the forefront in getting most of the projects while he was the chief minister,” said K Muraleedharan.
Ports Minister K Babu remembered Karunakaran as a dedicated person. “Earlier the space where the stadium stands was under the custody of the Water authority and they were unwilling to hand over the land for any other projects. But Karunakaran sorted out the issue with Irrigation Minister T M Jacob. There was also opposition from various quarters but the construction went on and the project was materialised. Now it is one of the internationally acclaimed stadiums,” Babu said.