After a brief lull, the dispute - ‘Statues Vs Road development’ - has cropped up yet again. The clearing up of a portion of the traffic island opposite Fine Arts College, which also shelters the World War I memorial, to erect the statue of former Chief Minister R Sankar has once again brought the matter to limelight.
The road development agency, Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Limited (TRDCL), has come up against the move, saying it compromises road safety.
With Chief Minister Oommen Chandy all set to lay the foundation stone for the erection of the statue on Wednesday, a portion of the landscaping on the island was scooped out for the purpose. ‘’We will lodge a complaint with the Kerala Road Fund Board against this. It is a matter of road safety and, moreover, we had already conveyed our concern over the mushrooming of statues in the city which will hinder road development in future,’’ said a TRDCL official.
Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash had called a meeting to discuss and amicably solve the issue in June this year where the road development agency had openly aired its opposition. The company had then argued that the road was handed over to them for development and maintenance for 15 years under the TCRIP (Thiruvananthapuram Capital Road Improvement Project).
However, R Sankar Foundation Chairman T Saratchandra Prasad denied that there was any controversy over the matter. ‘’We have the approval of the Cabinet. The required documents were handed over to us at the death anniversary function of R Sankar held some months back. Or else, how do you think we are going ahead with the plan, inviting the state’s CM to the function? It is all legal,’’ he said. And added that it was only the laying of foundation stone, the statue will come up by April only.
The presence of the World War I memorial right in front of the proposed statue has also not gone down well with the road development agency. TRDCL has plans to renovate the memorial under its aegis and the statue would steal the significance of the memorial, the official said.