THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Avibrant nightlife continues to evade Trivians. Though the Kerala government has been stressing the need to enhance nightlife to boost the tourism and IT sectors, the efforts are yet to gain steam.
Recently, LuLu mall witnessed a mad rush as it hosted a midnight shopping fest. Videos of people, including families, thronging the mall stirred social media. About one lakh people visited the mall during the fest, according to sources.
LuLu’s official spokesperson says the group would hold similar shopping events and operate the mall for extended hours if the authorities permit. Two years ago, the government promised to increase nightlife infra, especially at IT parks. The move was widely hailed. Notably, in March this year, the cabinet approved the draft liquor policy, which permitted serving of liquor in designated areas within IT parks. However, there has been little to raise a toast to since the announcement.
A Technopark official says the administration has collected feedback from stakeholders and has placed a proposal with recommendations on the introduction of pubs and nightlife on the campus.“After the pandemic lull, the campus has bounced back to life, as about 50 per cent of the companies have resumed offline work,” adds the official.
“Our first plan is to set up a pub on the campus. We hope the government would expedite the process. Drab nightlife is one of the hurdles in attracting investment. Nightlife improvement would definitely be a game-changer.”
Sources say the government is going slow on the project owing to safety concerns.“It is unsafe to increase nightlife without adequate safety measures such as better lighting and police patrolling,” says a government official. “We are not confident yet. There needs to be a comprehensive plan before launching such projects.”
Travancore Heritage Project
The much-hyped project, likely to give an impetus to nightlife and tourism, is gradually gathering steam.
It is expected to revolutionise tourism in the city by offering visitors the opportunity to take long walks or drive along the streets and enjoy the cultural legacy of Travancore.As part of the Rs 100-crore project’s Phase I, unique facade lighting would soon illuminate 30 iconic structures.
“It is expected to be completed within three months,” says an official associated with the project.
“Once completed, the illuminated heritage structures would enhance the capital’s charm at night. We plan to keep the buildings illuminated from 7pm to 4am. We are also in talks with KSRTC to introduce circular night services. Phase I of the project is expected to cost Rs 35 crore.”
Facade lighting of four heritage structures — Sundaravilasam Palace, Sakthivinayaka Temple, Kerala History and Science Museum and Trida (Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority) — has been completed. Work is progressing at the Police Headquarters, Vettimuricha Kotta, Fine Arts College and Juma Masjid, says an official.The tourism department, he adds, will explore a slew of activities linked to the project. In addition to heritage rides, the authorities are considering offering entry for tourists to explore the structures.
Corp project remains non-starter
The trumpeted nightlife project of the city corporation continues to remain on paper since 2020. The plan was to set up round-the-clock shopping zones and eateries on selected stretches in the capital. However, the civic body seems to be caught in Covid inertia. Sources say the corporation had identified areas -- such as Kazhakkoottam, Technopark, Shankumugham, Karamana, Palayam and Sasthamangalam -- to implement the project. But it is yet to start actual work.
However, works standing committee chairman D R Anil maintains that the project is alive. “Street shopping and food streets are the major elements of the project. We are in talks with street vendors,” he says. “We cannot go ahead with the project without their cooperation.” As part of the project, the civic body is planning to hold an event at Kanakakunnu for street food vendors, adds Anil. “We plan to launch a food zone at Sreechitra Park near East Fort,” he adds.
“The plan is to serve a variety of cuisines, including traditional and north Indian. Also, the food street at RKV Lane will be inaugurated soon.” Anil says “many vending zones” are being set up as part of the Smart City project, too. “All these zones have the potential to be part of the nightlife project,” he adds.