KOCHI: Every year towards the end of December Fort Kochi wears a festive look as it gears up to welcome the New Year. However, this year the tourists, who arrive in large numbers to take part in the celebrations, will have a tough time reaching the places hosting various events due to the dilapidated walkway. Sea erosion, which was very vicious during the months ofJune and July, had washed away the walkway. Six months have passed, but the proposal mooted to get the walkway restored still remains on paper.
When contacted the Tourism Department authorities said the proposal is still pending with the Tourism Directorate. An officer with the department said some more parts of the walkway collapsed after cyclone Ockhi struck the coast. “The only method to prevent further damage is to construct a seawall. Though the wall will cast a shadow on the beauty of the walkway, it can’t be helped. As far as restoration is concerned we had sent a proposal, but the fund is yet to be allotted,” he said.
Tourism Department joint director P G Sivan said an estimate of Rs 1.5 crore, needed for the seawall project, has been sent to the directorate. “300 metres of the stretch needs to be restored. We also have to construct seawalls. The implementation of the project is getting delayed because things like the construction of the seawall are done by other departments.
However, we will take up the matter with the higher-ups again,” he said. Meanwhile, the authorities concerned said the renovation of Nehru Park at Fort Kochi will be completed within a month. The park was renovated with the assistance of Forest Industries Travancore Limited (FIT) and Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation Ltd (Kitco). A fund of Rs 4 crore was utilised for this purpose.
Similarly, an amenity centre and toilets will be constructed near Fort Kochi bus station. The department is also planning to implement eco-friendly tourism projects in Fort Kochi.As many as 4,07,653 foreign tourists had arrived in Ernakulam in 2016. Majority of them visited Fort Kochi which is has a great importance in the history of Kerala.