This colony near Mattancherry is a melancholic ode to Mehboob

The place provided a community for people previously affected by homelessness and economic struggles. There are 68 families residing here.
Mehboob Park Colony in Kunnumpuram near Mattancherry.
Mehboob Park Colony in Kunnumpuram near Mattancherry.

KOCHI: Established 20 years ago, Mehboob Park Colony in Kunnumpuram near Mattancherry, is named after the legendary playback singer H Mehboob, whose songs continue to enchant us even today.

Mehboob was born in Pattalam nearby, and grew up in this region of Kochi. Mattancherry and Fort Kochi have several Mehboob fan clubs, and annual programmes are run to honour ‘Bayi’, known for songs such as Akaale aarum kaividum from the film 'Jeevitha Nouka' and Manennum vilikkila from 'Neelakkuyil'.

Notably, Mehboob’s songs were later remixed and featured in Malayalam films such as 'Usthaad' (1999), 'Annayum Rasoolum' (2013), and 'ABCD: American-Born Confused Desi' (2013).

Originally a barren landmass, it was initially converted into a children’s park (Mehboob Park) before being turned into a colony, says former mayor K J Sohan. Hence the name Mehboob Park Colony.

The place provided a community for people previously affected by homelessness and economic struggles. There are 68 families residing here.

A K Abu, one of the colony’s early inhabitants, says, “Most of the community’s founder population belonged to the canoeists’ community who migrated from the Vanam colony due to financial and economic debts and insecurities.”

Currently, the inhabitants, including men and women, engage in daily wage occupations such as construction work, housekeeping, etc., to make a living.

Each colony resident occupies a 300sq.ft space and is responsible for paying their taxes and bills, except for water, which is provided free of charge by the government.

Hassina Faizal, a fellow colony resident, says, “The members reside under the guidelines of a drafted contract, which restricts them from leaving and selling their property.”

Even though the implementation of this colony initially provided solace to many in the area, a surge in population, lack of space and modern facilities have created a tumult of woes.

A C Biju, a representative of the colony, highlights the need for better access to health care, and better atmosphere for children to grow up.

Residents have pinned their hopes on the assurance of being relocated to new apartment complexes being built by the corporation and the Smart City Mission.

Kochi MLA K J Maxi says, “The corporation has initiated the construction of two apartment complexes through the schemes of CSML and RAY (Rajiv Gandhi Awas Yojana).”

What’s in a name

Weekly column on the history of place names. Got any suggestions? Write to xpresskochi@gmail.com

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