THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Redevelopment of Manaveeyam Veedhi stuck for two years is hoped to be revived soon. Project to have features like covered venue, sculptures, art gallery space, exercise park, street library, gender-friendly toilets, drinking water fountains, food kiosks and cycle parking
After almost two years of impasse, Smart City Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (SCTL) and Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB) are gearing up to commence the redevelopment of Manaveeyam Veedhi into a cultural street. The project aims to to make the street a hub of various socio-cultural activities. The project proposes various features as a covered venue, sculptures, art gallery space, exercise park, street library, gender-friendly toilets, drinking water fountains, food kiosks and cycle parking area.
The project design was approved by the SCTL Board members when MLA V K Prasanth was the mayor in 2019 after extensive discussions with various stakeholders. Unfortunately, the project didn’t make progress owing to various issues including the pandemic. The Vattiyoorkavu MLA told TNIE that he hopes the project wouldn’t face any further delay and would be completed in a time-bound manner.
“Manaveeyam is Kerala’s first designated cultural space. There are around 50 cultural organisations attached to this space and there was a popular demand to make this space an exclusive cultural corridor. The space hosts umpteen cultural events throughout the year. But lack of basic amenities and lighting have always been an issue raised by the cultural organisations. We decided to come up with such a project based on the demands raised by these organisations,” said Prasanth. He said the civic body also had plans to designate street-vending areas. “I hope the new ruling front would implement this,” he added.
SCTL has also obtained ‘No objection Certificate’ from the police department as once the project gets implemented, only one-way traffic would be allowed. In a recent meeting, Mayor Arya Rajendran instructed SCTL and KRFB to commence the project immediately. The 150-metre-long Manaveeyam Veedhi is famous for a host of artworks on display along the road and several cultural performances.
The project is expected to facilitate current activities. An official associated with the project said the new street-scape design of the stretch is pedestrian dominant and universally accessible and would stress on amenities. The design envisages dividing the road carriage into two half-ways, of which one half will be demarcated for cultural activities and the other half — 7.5-metre-wide road — would allow the free flow of traffic. The project would be implemented in two phases. “Underground utility ducts would be constructed to relay the overhead utility lines. The road would be upgraded into a smart road first. In the second phase, all other features added as per the request of the stakeholders including toilets, covered stage etc would be implemented. The plan is to segregate the space with bollards,” said the official.
A senior official of the city corporation said the civic body would be submitting a comprehensive plan to establish a proper signalling system at Manaveeyam. “There are a few hurdles which would be addressed soon. We held a meeting with various agencies and traffic authorities have asked us to submit a plan. Once they approve the plan, the project will get started,” said the official.
D Reghoothaman of Manaveeyam Theruvorakootam said the project is long pending. “This is a special spot where people from all walks of life who love art and culture gather. We had submitted a design and several discussions were held with us before finalising the project. It’s a comprehensive project which addresses all demands. Established artists have various venues but this is one place where amateur artists from different walks of life could come and express themselves,” said Ragoothaman.
He said lack of toilet facilities and better lighting are a problem for organising events. “We had fought all odds to make this project into a reality. The Kerala Water Authority had planned an entrance at Manaveeyam Veedhi and we fought against it. Now many food trucks are stationing at the street and this cannot be allowed. All this is happening because the project is getting delayed,” said Reghoothaman. He said the corridor would be strictly restricted for cultural activities and political demonstrations and other protests wouldn’t be allowed. “A couple of political protests happened at Manaveeyam and we cannot entertain such activities. Once the project is implemented, this space would be strictly for cultural activities,” he said.
The 150-metre-long Manaveeyam Veedhi is famous for artworks along the road
The project is expected to facilitate current activities
An official said the new street-scape design of the stretch is pedestrian dominant and universally accessible