THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The City Corporation is dreaming big. And planning some commercial moves like never before. An underground shopping mall on the model of Palika Bazaar in Delhi with a parking facility is being planned in the Fort area, in a bid to cash in on the tourist inflow to one of the world’s wealthiest shrines, the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple. And, for the first time, it is toying with the idea of going in for a construction on the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.
It all began with the idea of renovating the Sree Chithira Thirunal Park in Fort area. The Corporation was given solid advice from some quarters to remove the garage next to the park for a more cheerful look. It has been decided to shift the office of the garage to the Corporation land at Jagathy, though vehicles would not be parked there. In the place of the garage, the proposed Mayor’s Bhavan (which was okayed by the previous Council) would come up.
Not just that, the land at Jagathy would be used to set up a petrol pump along with a workshop for repair and maintenance of Corporation vehicles. The Indian Oil Corporation has already expressed interest in the proposal. A parking facility would also come up in this prized land. The steering committee of the City Corporation that met here on Monday has discussed the proposals.
However, more meetings and discussions would follow, before an Expression of Interest is called, to take up the works on a BOT basis.
"Our problem is the tender excess. Many of our works do not have takers because we are not able to fill the gap of the tender excess. BOT would be a better option, because it would be more professional and neat and we will get to run it after the agreement period with no tangles, assuming the agreement is straight and well-drawn out,’’ said Deputy Mayor G Happykumar.
The Corporation plans to issue an advertisement and ask interested people to come up with designs for the underground mall and Mayor’s Bhavan. The feasible design and plan would be okayed and then handed over to be built on a BOT basis. The same technique that was employed for the design of the proposed market complex at Palayam, only that it has not materialised.
However, amidst the big plans, the big question remains: Whether any such construction would be possible in the heritage and high-security zone of Fort?
"Obviously, it would require a nod from the Police, who are also in the monitoring committee for constructions in the area, along with the Corporation. But we do not expect any hurdles or objections in this matter,’’ the Deputy Mayor said.