KOCHI: Maharaja’s College has come out against the move by the district administration and city corporation to shift the vendors along the Mullassery canal’s Fashion Street to the 20cent-land of the college ground.
The college authorities condemned the corporation’s ‘secret’ clean-up activity without any official communication.
Adding to the controversy, the college unit of the Kerala Students Union (KSU) erected a flex board on Friday explaining that they would not ‘let’ the corporation encroach the land of Maharaja’s College unlawfully”.
KSU unit vice-president Amal Tomy said they would protest if the corporation proceeds with the rehabilitation.
“No official communication has come from any department about shifting the vendors here. We came to know about the statement by the district collector through media reports. The college has not sanctioned clearing of the land yet. The Education Department is supposed to make any decision regarding this, not the corporation,” said Amal.
The college has already lost its ground to many other government projects, including the one by Kochi Metro Rail Limited, Kerala Water Authority and the waterway. Now, they fear that the same would happen to this plot.
Reena Joseph, head of the department of physical education at the college, said it was unfair that the corporation is making make one-sided decisions.
“We have been requesting a basketball, football court or an indoor stadium in the area, but no funds were allotted. The directorate of collegiate education, department of higher education or the state government are supposed to decide on the handover of the land to any other authority. The minutes of the meeting have not yet been released,” she alleged.
Mayor denies allegation
Mayor M Anilkumar denied the allegations and said the vendors are only being shifted for three months. He said the corporation has no plan to encroach upon the land.
“Once the Mullassery canal project is over, the flooding and waterlogging issues will be resolved to an extent. The project is part of Operation Breakthrough, which is directly being overseen by the High Court,” he said. He said the portion of land cleared by the corporation was filled with weeds and creepers and was unfit for use.
“Tender for the Mullassery canal project is over. Now, it has to be cleaned and widened. The vendors along the sides of the canal have to be rehabilitated for a short period. So, we thought of utilising the unused land in Maharaja’s College. The decision to shift them temporarily to this land was taken at a meeting attended by the district collector, MLA, college authorities and me,” he said.
The mayor said he was surprised when the college sent a lengthy letter of complaint soon after the amicable discussion, creating controversy and causing a stir.