KOCHI: As one crosses the Container Road and drives across the Goshree Bridge, bare land with sparse trees align the road to Puthuvype beach, replete with a lighthouse. The beach is largely empty. Few cows dot the sand while the nets on fishing boats gently sway. A bench is submerged in sand. Two boys ride a cycle. Mounts of garbage are strewn across the sand, unidirectional. The beach is devoid of basic facilities like lighting, waste disposal and a surfaced approach road.
In the wake of the state rebuilding itself and developing a host of tourism initiatives, the primary attractions of the state, beaches, are left neglected. Puthuvype beach, a beach with immense potential to be restructured as a tourist hotspot, is carelessly overlooked.
Inhabited mostly by locals and city dwellers, the filthy condition of the beach is ignored by authorities concerned. Jayakrishnan, a resident of Aluva who had cleaned the beach with his colleagues as part of a project three weeks ago, said the waste accumulated from the cleaning the beach has not been cleared yet. “After we decluttered the beach, I informed the authorities to find a suitable way to dispose of the waste. The municipality took up the responsibility and promptly agreed. But, it has been two weeks and we have not heard from them. I called the MLA and hopefully, it will be cleared soon,” he said.
Jayakrishnan feels such activities must be clubbed with the local community. “Beach cleaning activities must be consistent. Awareness must be created among the locals, who inhabit this beach more than tourists,” he shared.
Locals allege sand mining and vandalism are prevalent at the beach. “We had informed the police, but no action has been taken in this regard. The batteries to five solar lamps installed at the beach were stolen, but the authorities have done nothing to nab the culprits or reinstate the facility,” said Manoj, a resident of Puthuvype.Vendors at the beach shared a similar account. “The panchayat which administers the place should take up cleaning on a daily basis,” said Rafeeq, a vendor.
Pleas to the authorities seem to have fallen on deaf ears. According to the Elamkunnapuzha panchayat, under whose jurisdiction the beach falls, the beach belongs to the land owned by the Cochin Port Trust and developing facilities would require the latter’s permission. “We would like to clean the beach and its premises. But we’re obligated to seek permission from the Port Trust as they own the land,” said Sreedevi, member, ward no 23.
“We heard that fund was allotted to establish resources that would attract more tourists to the beach but we are unsure,” she said. Unnikrishnan, panchayat president resonated the same.In contrast, the CPT claimed their portion of land contained Special Economic Zone projects. “There is a lack of clarity about the land,” said an official with the Port Trust.
Nevertheless, in a move to accelerate tourism spaces, the Kerala Tourism Department had initiated the Green Carpet Project. Recently, the government had sanctioned Rs 50 lakh to install basic facilities at the Cherai beach. When asked if the Puthuvype beach would be given a new lease of life, Vijayakumar, secretary, DTPC, said currently fund was allotted to a beach corridor project that would extend from the Puthuvype beach till the Munambam beach. “The land is under CPT and they have to provide permission. Once obtained, we can do the needful,” he added.
Sand mining rampant
Locals allege sand mining and vandalism are prevalent at the beach. “We had informed the police, but no action has been taken in this regard. The batteries to five solar lamps installed at the beach were stolen, but the authorities have done nothing to nab the culprits or reinstate the facility,” said Manoj, a resident of Puthuvype.