KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday, directed city police to ensure the walkway at Marine Drive is kept clear of street vendors with immediate effect.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar issued the order on a petition filed by Ranjit G Thampy seeking a directive to Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) to keep Marine Drive neat and tidy.
Advocate Jaju Babu, counsel for the petitioner, pointed out the entire stretch had been taken over by small-time vendors. “Street vendors often block the walkway. No street vendor can be given licence to trade on a busy walkway obstructing the movement of pedestrians.
In Kochi city, walkways, footpaths and slabs covering public drainage on either side of the road are fully occupied by street vendors or bunk shops. It’s ruining the walkways’ beauty and mounting the stretch with different kinds of waste,” stated the petitioner. Corporation secretary R S Anu and GCDA secretary P R Usha Kumari appeared before the court to inform of the steps taken to maintain the walkway.
Usha Kumari submitted that GCDA is responsible for ensuring proper lighting, installation of CCTV cameras and repairing tiles.
Walkway lighting can be done in 2 weeks: GCDA
While most of the repair works also form part of the Cochin Smart City project, which is underway and is expected to be executed within a year, urgent works to render the walkway usable can be undertaken by the GCDA, they added.
GCDA assured that lighting the entire walkway can be effected within a period of two weeks. They also stated that steps have already been taken to ensure cleaning and waste disposal once a day and this arrangement will continue in future as well.
At the same time, repairing benches, installing CCTVs and re-fixing and replacing damaged tiles along the walkway will be completed within six weeks. The secretary ensured that it has been exploring the possibility of installing eco-friendly toilets with the help of sponsors. The petitioner’s counsel too assured that he will assist the GCDA in identifying a sponsor.
R S Anu submitted that the Corporation has not issued any licence for vending on Marine Drive walkway.
Vendors currently operating on the walkway are doing so without authorisation. Hence, the court directed police to take appropriate steps to remove illegal vendors.