Kochi Encroached

Many development projects have either been dropped or are in limbo due to rampant encroachment

Published: 18th March 2018 11:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2018 04:05 AM   |  A+A-

Rock and soil have been used to fill a portion of Punchathodu canal  Melton Antony

Express News Service

Many development projects have either been dropped or are in limbo due to rampant encroachment.Express sheds light on some of the projects that were stalled due to the intervention of local people who have encroached upon huge chunks of public land and roads

KOCHI:Every time a development project fails to take off or gets stuck midway, everyone blames the local body. The under-utilisation of the plan fund is one of the major charges against the Corporation and the local self-governing bodies.  However, if one does a recce, an important fact comes to light.  The public too is responsible for getting many projects scrapped or being left in limbo.

At Elamkulam village, one of the upcoming high-end hybrid residential-commercial housing colony after Panampally Nagar, over 20 developmental projects which are being initiated by the Kochi Corporation might never see completion due to encroachment, illegal constructions and protests. The Corporation is running from pillar to post to get the projects worth around Rs 10 crore implemented. Express sheds light on some of the projects which stalled due to the intervention of local people.

Pipeline Road

The Pipeline Road, which connects Subash Chandra Bose Road and Muttath Line Road in Elamkulam village, has not undergone any change since the time it was opened to the public. While other arterial roads in the city have been paved with tiles, the commuters along this route still have to brave muddy potholes. And the wall that blocks the development of this road is the Kerala Water Authority.
The reason KWA cites while preventing Corporation’s move to lay interlocking tiles along this 750 m stretch is that the pipelines laid along this route will get damaged if vehicles are allowed to ply on this road. However, it can be seen that vehicles including lorries do ply along this route and so far no pipe bursts have been reported.

Once the monsoon sets in, the situation at this stretch becomes very bad. The Corporation had set aside Rs 80 lakh to beautify the road. The fund remains unused. “KWA approached the court and got a stop memo issued against paving the road with tiles. According to them, if the civic body laid interlocking tiles on the road, it will damage the water pipes. Hence, the Corporation concreted the road in order to reduce pressure,” said a person lives nearby.

Skyline Flat Road
The area near the road that leads to the Skyline apartments at Jawahar Nagar was chosen by the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) to set up a housing project. However, after the road got encroached upon by a private party, GCDA dropped the project. In order to make the area viable for development activities the Corporation had initiated a project to beautify the road. But the private party, who had encroached upon the road, approached the court and got a stop memo issued against the Corporation. This forced the civic body to drop the project.

Construction of ring road near Panorama Residency
Around two years ago the Kochi Corporation had decided to construct a ring road and put up fencing around the canal near Panorama Residency. The civic body decided to put up fencing after an elderly woman fell into the canal and died.  The civic body had also decided to set up benches in the area which comes under the Railways. The Corporation had prepared a blueprint of the project worth Rs 2 crore with the help of KMRL. However, a residents’ association objected to the project and accused the Corporation of encroachment. They also got a stay from the court.  The ambitious project seems to remain a distant dream and the Corporation is thinking of dropping it. “Encroachment is rampant on the Railway property. So once, the Corporation implements the project many will have to pack up and leave. This made them take an antagonistic stance against the project,” said a local person.

Jawahar Nagar Road
As per official record with the Village Office, the Jawahar Nagar Road has a width of 15 metres. But that is a thing in the past. At present, even a village bylane puts the road to shame in terms of its width. Reason: Two private parties have usurped a lion share of the road. While the first party has encroached upon around 2 cents of the road, the second party has taken over 4 cents adjacent to the former. Though the road falls under GCDA’s jurisdiction, they are yet to take any action. This has forced the Corporation to drop many projects which had been drawn up for the area.

Housing Board’s commercial property
Housing Board Development Corporation’s project to construct a commercial complex at their own building at Palathuruth is in limbo due to encroachment. Though the department had initiated a soil test prior to the beginging of the construction activities. During the process, a section of local people came down strongly against the project. “This is really an example of how far encroachment has gone up in the city. Even HBDC is facing flak for constructing a building and that too on their own land,” said the source.

Punchathodu canal
The Punchathodu canal in the Elamkulam Village will soon be relegated to being a memory due encroachments. Local people have grabbed portions of the canal on either bank. Even though the Corporation took some action against the encroachers, political influence brought their efforts to naught. Corporation officers who come to take action get manhandled. It has become a common affair and officers fear to come here. On Wednesday a Corporation worker, who was executing his duty, was allegedly manhandled by a 54-year-old resident. Kadavanthara police registered a case against Norman Joseph of Kumaranasan Nagar based on the complaint filed by Yesudas, a building inspector with the Kochi Corporation.  The incident took place when Yesudas along with another staffer reached Norman’s property at Punchathodu to issue a stop memo against the construction of a wall along the canal side which had been encroached upon.

The Kudumby Colony playground

Kudumby Colony Playground
The Kochi Corporation had allotted Rs 60 lakh to turn the Kudumby Colony Playground into a modern facility. The playground is owned by the Housing Board Development Corporation. However, the project which included a stage, walkway and badminton court was almost dropped after people living nearby expressed strong opposition. The local residents using the space as a parking lot and a waste dumping site.  “The area is filthy and overtaken by weeds. Though youngsters use it as a playground, a group of residents is posing stiff opposition. Interestingly, they have no stake in the land since it is the property of HBDC,” said a source.


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