Street Food project at old Venduruthy bridge moves at slow pace

While walkway tourism and Edakochi bridge proposed as part of the project have been implemented, the main element of the plan remains a non-starter.
The old Venduruthy bridge where Tourism Minister Mohamed Riyas announced the street food project last year. (Photo | T P Sooraj)
The old Venduruthy bridge where Tourism Minister Mohamed Riyas announced the street food project last year. (Photo | T P Sooraj)

KOCHI: In a move to preserve the historic Venduruthy bridge, built by Robert Bristow in 1938, Tourism Minister Mohammed Riyas had announced a food street last year. Though months have passed, the project is moving at a snail’s pace.

“Nothing has been taken care of regarding the food street proposal. However, the walkway tourism project and the Edakochi bridge which were part of the proposal have been implemented. I have sanctioned Rs 1 crore, and Kochi Refinery has given Rs 1 crore for the project. The old bridge should be protected. A walkway, a cafeteria, etc. on the bridge were part of the proposal. But there were objections from several corners citing traffic issues,” Prof K V Thomas told TNIE.

“We have taken up the proposal, and the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) is working on two proposals that looked ideal,” said an official from the tourism department. “DTPC is working on a detailed project report based on these proposals, and it’s in the final stages. Once completed, it will be sent to the tourism minister for approval,” the official added. Before implementing the project, a detailed survey of the place and its surroundings needs to be done.

“The spot is near the Cochin Shipyard Ltd and the Southern Naval Command. Hence, DTPC has requested the Navy’s permission to execute the project. So far, the naval command has not responded. Hence the delay,” the official added. Earlier this year, the works department submitted a feasibility report on the project and proposed the renovation of the bridge at a cost of `6 crore. “The PWD’s report is under consideration, and a decision will be taken once the DTPC submits the DPR,” the official said. 

Projects in Alappuzha and Vizhinjam

A similar food street project has been proposed in Vizhinjam and Alappuzha also. “The food street project at Alappuzha is in the tendering stage. While proposing the food street project, the Ministry of Tourism was focussing on providing local cuisine experience to travellers. The idea of a food street is not only limited to the food culture of that place but also a space for interaction, cultural performances etc.,” said the official.

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