KOCHI: The Panampilly Nagar walkway -- popularly known as streetscape -- launched by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) with much fanfare in 2016 has been in a dilapidated state for the past few months. Frequented by joggers, the streetscape is currently managed by Walkway Club, Panampilly Nagar, who have cited a lack of funding from sponsors during the Covid-19 period as a major hurdle in carrying out maintenance work.
“Streetscape has been in a dilapidated condition ever since KMRL’s maintenance period came to an end in 2019. Broken tiles, damaged light fittings, overgrown bushes and dumping of waste are some of the issues that people face daily,” said Ranjit Thampy, a social activist.
According to him, the 750-metre long walkway used to be among the most admired walkways in Kochi.
He added that KMRL should hand over control of the walkway to any public sector undertaking to maintain it effectively. Sudarshan K S, a 65-year-old resident said that users, who are mainly elders, suffered grievous injuries due to the damaged tiles and lack of proper lights near the area. He added that overgrown shrubs beside the walkway have also become a haven for snakes.
Deepak Shah, a resident, expressed concern over street vendors who conduct business on the walkway. “They are an obstruction to the walkers, especially during the evenings when there is a huge crowd,” he said. Responding to the issue, Paul P, president of the Walkway Club, said that the members tried their best to maintain the walkway last year.
“We have to spend around Rs 13,500 for grass cutting alone. Cleaners have also stopped coming ever since Covid positive cases increased in the district,” he said. Paul added that steps will be taken to remove the waste from the area. Meanwhile, KMRL authorities said that a letter was addressed to the Walkway Club asking them to maintain the walkway and that KMRL would take over if the club fails to deliver. KMRL added that they will take suitable action regarding damaged lights and also look into the issue of street vendors in the area.