THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There is much protest against road development in the city as it involves the cutting of trees. Also, road authorities face flak for giving little regard to pedestrians. But when an innovative project, ‘Haritha Veedhi’, was launched to develop a green corridor exclusively for pedestrians, it failed to take off. A visit to the Kowdiar-Peroorkada- Pipeline stretch will make one disappointed over the lethargic attitude of the authorities responsible for the work. The project was planned in three phases, with ` 30 lakh earmarked from the fund of the then MLA M Vijayakumar.
It is almost two years since the launch of work on the Haritha Veedi project. The project was to be completed in three months. Habitat Technology Group was in charge of design and execution. The project was to be implemented with the support of Kerala Water Authority, City Corporation and Forest Department. The stretch consists of three loops and was to have a pathway, landscaping, trees, small pavilions, play area, stage, meeting place and space for conducting exhibitions etc.
Now, the stretch has incomplete pathways, six pavilions, a park and a small stage. The stretch, which was meant to turn a hub of cultural activities, is now occupied by alcoholics and anti-socials.
G Shankar, founder chairman of Habitat Technology Group, says a slew of problems, from land acquisition to fund transfer, are stumbling blocks to the work. “Land is yet to be acquired for the project. We are unable to go ahead with the work. The project was planned in three phases. Only ` 18 lakh has been allotted,” he says. Shankar adds that Habitat is not responsible for the maintenance of the stretch.
Former Minister M Vijayakumar says he would convene a meeting attended by the District Collector on the issue. “I have talked to the District Collector. I will organise a meeting this week itself. The project got delayed because of Habitat,” he says.
Meanwhile, the City Corporation has no idea about Haritha Veedi. When contacted, Deputy Mayor G Happykumar and Works Standing Committee chairman V S Padmakumar feigned ignorance on the project.
Mani, a headload worker at Narmada, says that the work is being done without proper planning. “The lane joining the Ambalamukku area has five pavilions. What is the need for so many pavilions in a single area? Enough trees have not been planted on the stretch,” he says. Mani feels that the project is a waste of money.
The then Water Resources Minister N K Premachandran had inaugurated the Haritha Veedi project on June 30, 2010. The Minister had then announced that it would be a model project.