2015 - A year with Several Milestones
Touted as a solution for the ‘flooding’ concerns of the city residents, Operation Anantha flood mitigation drive was kicked off in the city towards mid-2015. The district administration’s project was meant to revive the age-old channels and drainage systems and resume the water flow along them. That which started off with evicting and demolishing encroachments and digging out the hidden trenches, in further course, lost steam and met with lack of funds at many points. The year-end was the deadline set for the completion of the first phase.
The city witnessed the grand opening and closing ceremonies of the 35th National Games as Kerala hosted the prestigious sporting event after a gap of 28 years. Leaving the controversies behind organising the event, the public whole-heatedly cheered the festive moments spanning 15 days. The capital district received many new sporting infrastructural facilities such as Greenfield Stadium, Kariavattom, where the SAFF Championship is currently being held. Sreepadam Stadium in Attingal also got a facelift after it was chosen to host various events. Above all, the fact that the state emerged second in medals tally was icing on the cake.
The stray dog menace still continues to be a burning issue faced by residents of the city. A recent survey found that the population of stray dogs has increased rapidly over the last few months, exposing the lapses in the almost-defunct Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme. Coupled with poor waste management, the issue has now reached boiling point. There were widespread complaints about the lethargy on the part of the City Corporation in addressing the issue. With the veterinary wing of the Corporation planning to roll out an upgraded ABC programme soon, city residents are hopeful that there will be some respite from the menace.
Budget day violence
The city witnessed a never-before scenario marked by violence inside and outside the Legislative Assembly on March 13, the day the then finance minister K M Mani presented his 13th budget. In the Assembly, the Opposition LDF did everything possible to prevent Mani, accused in the bar bribery charges, from presenting the budget. Outside the House, the city turned into a war zone with Left Front and BJP taking out protest marches to the Assembly, setting fire to police vehicles and throwing stones at cops. Though Mani managed to present the budget amid the bedlam, it turned out to be a black day in the state's democratic history.
V K Prasanth
K S Sabarinadhan
At the age of 31, K S Sabarinadhan, son of former Speaker G Karthikeyan, became the youngest legislator in Kerala Assembly by winning the fiercely-contested Aruvikkara byelection. An engineering graduate and an MBA degree holder, Sabarinadhan plunged into active politics after the death of his father, who represented the constituency. In a contest which saw the BJP put up a tough fight, Sabarinadhan managed to garner an impressive majority of 10,128 votes. Now, hefaces the daunting task of making a mark.
S L Narayanan
Gutsy 17-year-old S L Narayanan became the country’s 40th Grandmaster and Kerala’s second. He won the coveted chess title during the Philippines International Open in November. Narayanan was already the youngest International Master from the state, having won that distinction two years ago.
H S Prannoy
Ace shuttler H S Prannoy attained his best career ranking of World No: 12 this year. And in October, the youngster did the unthinkable: he beat Olympic champ Lin Dan, whom many consider the best-ever singles player the game has seen.
The Vizhinjam seaport project finally set sail on December 5 after decades of disappointments, delays and controversies. If things go as planned, the first ship will dock at Vizhinjam in 2018. The state government inked the concession agreement with Adani Group on August 17. Phase 1 will cost Rs 7,525 crore. Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani has promised to complete construction in 1,000 days flat.
Spruced up Kanakakkunnu
Kanakakkunnu opened to an awe-inspiring palatial glory close to Onam festivities. The alterations were carefully carved to be in tune with the heritage appearance of the palace and its premises. Flight of stairs, paved walkways and decked up lawns have been created to greet visitors and tourists at this amazing location, adding to its charm.
That which lay in a state of utter neglect received the much-needed redemption this year. The cultural complex, Tagore Theatre, that had been closed for renovation in 2011, got entangled in hurdles of manifold kinds till its reopening in 2015. A sum of Rs 23.04 crore went behind the revamp. The theatre walked away with the award for its aesthetics during the valedictory ceremony of the 20th International Film Festival of Kerala.
In a bid to ease the traffic congestion at East Fort and Pazhavangady, the city was also blessed with the second major flyover at Thakaraparambu. The 410-m-long and 11-m-wide flyover with three lanes for traffic is the longest such structure in the city which connects Power House Road and Thakaraparambu. It was constructed at a cost of Rs 37 crore in three years by Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Limited (TRDCL). The flyover was a long-standing demand of the city residents and motorists and turned into a reality in July. Taking the flyover, vehicles from Karamana side can easily reach Bypass Road avoiding the busy East Fort area. This, in turn, helps reduce the traffic congestion at East Fort. People can also reach Airport and Railway Station very easily, avoiding traffic.
When it comes to the long-pending infrastructure projects in the city, one cannot forget the first phase completion of the Karamana-Kaliyikkavila stretch of National Highway. The five-and-a-half km stretch from Neeramankara to Pravachambalam Junction is nearing completion and is scheduled to be opened on January 13. The district administration had to negotiate several hurdles during the construction of the four-lane road. The major obstacle was the relocation of a mosque and tomb at Pappanamcode to the land owned by KSRTC central works. This problem also further delayed the opening of the road which was scheduled for October 23, 2015. However, finally, a solution was arrived at recently by constructing a temporary facility on four cents of land at KSRTC workshop. The issues relating to the demand for creating more openings on the divider by the residents and the dissent shown by Kerala Water Authority are still hampering work. Meanwhile, the preliminary procedures of the second phase starting from Pravachambalam to Vazhimukku is also gathering momentum.