Heritage group opposes Metro boat jetty between Chinese nets

He said Fort Kochi is a small area and its heritage is being protected through the efforts of those people who realise the value of its conservation.
Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi | Albin Mathew
Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi | Albin Mathew

KOCHI: With an aim to protect the legacy of Fort Kochi as a heritage conservation zone, the Organisation for Preservation of Heritage and Environmental Resources (OPHER) has decided to intensify its protest against Kochi Metro Rail Ltd’s decision to construct a new boat jetty of Water Metro in between the Chinese fishing nets. 

Last week, the office-bearers of the organisation sent a letter to the managing director of KMRL asking the agency to reconsider the decision to construct the boat jetty near the fishing nets which are almost 500 years old and have historic importance.

“The fishing nets are one among the few heritage wonders that remain at Fort Kochi. They are planning to construct the boat jetty in between the fishing nets. Any sort of construction activities are banned in the heritage conservation zone. The metro officials are giving a strange explanation that the fishing nets will not be affected because of the boat jetty. A concrete structure in between the fishing nets will affect its beauty,” said Stephen Robert, convener, OPHER.

He said they have sent copies of the letter to the Tourism Minister, local MLA, Ernakulam MP and ward councillor. “Heritage, be it that of Amazon forest or Fort Kochi, cannot be destroyed by politicians and bureaucrats. We are trying to bring together all similar-minded persons under one umbrella to protest against the adamant stand taken by officers concerned. They ignored a previous letter sent by us. This time, we hope the agency will consider our request,” he added.

He said Fort Kochi is a small area and its heritage is being protected through the efforts of those people who realise the value of its conservation. “The heritage of Fort Kochi is fast disappearing because of illegal constructions. We don’t think the Union Government and German agency which is funding the project will not agree with this plan to destroy the heritage of an area,” he added.

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