New government buildings worth crores lying vacant in Tripunithura

An eight-storey building constructed by the Kerala University of Health Services in Tripunithura to operate a world-class Ayurveda Research Centre tops the list.
The T K Ramakrishnan Memorial Mall at Kannankulangara is lying vacant despite the construction works getting completed in 2021.
The T K Ramakrishnan Memorial Mall at Kannankulangara is lying vacant despite the construction works getting completed in 2021.Photo / T P Sooraj, EPS

KOCHI : Vacant land is hard to find in Tripunithura, the capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Cochin. But a number of government buildings built spending crores have been lying vacant for years in the temple town, in a sheer instance of wastage of public money.

An eight-storey building constructed by the Kerala University of Health Services at Kizhakkekotta junction in Tripunithura to operate a world-class Ayurveda Research Centre tops the list.

The research centre, constructed at a cost of `35 crore after demolishing the old Ayurveda college building there, was inaugurated on February 21, 2021, by the then Health Minister K K Shailaja.

“Except for a small outpatient wing functioning on the ground floor, the rest of the building has been lying vacant for over three years. The plan was to set up 17 modern laboratories, besides an Ayurveda Museum and a digital library. However, except for the purchase of a few machines, nothing happened,” said V P Prasad, chairman of the Tripunithura Rajanagari Union of Residents’ Associations (TRURA).

Similar is the fate of the T K Ramakrishnan Memorial Mall at Kannankulangara and the A G Raghavan Memorial Shopping Complex at Statue junction, constructed by the Tripunithura municipality at a cost of Rs 10 crore and Rs 8.75 crore respectively.

The multi-storey Ayurveda Research Centre at Kizhakkekotta. Only the ground floor is functional though the building was inaugurated in 2021
The multi-storey Ayurveda Research Centre at Kizhakkekotta. Only the ground floor is functional though the building was inaugurated in 2021

“There are more such buildings in the locality lying unused, like the Town Hall and shopping complex at Thiruvankulam and first floor of Dr Sukumaran Memorial shopping complex at Eroor South. All these buildings were constructed on or before 2021. We’re compiling a list of such buildings lying unutilised and examining legal possibilities so as to make the authorities use them effectively,” said TRURA secretary V C Jayendran. Ayurveda Research Centre in-charge Dr Anil Kumar admitted to a delay in completing building works due to “technical and financial issues”

“There was some delay but the construction work has now picked up pace and has entered the final stage. Now we aim to complete the remaining work up to the third floor in two months and then start equipment installation and configuration activities,” he said.

A world-class phytochemistry laboratory and a clinical laboratory will come up on the third floor, mainly for basic research on new Ayurvedic medicines and adding to the medicinal value. “We’re aiming to develop it as an incubation centre for Ayurveda medicinal research. The plan is to begin operations this year itself,” Dr Anil Kumar said.

Meanwhile, Tripunithura municipality chairperson Rema Santhosh said the T K Ramakrishnan Memorial Mall will soon become an IT hub of the town. “We’ve floated tenders thrice to lease out the space but none came forward. Now the Kerala Knowledge Economy Mission (KKEM) has shown interest. Talks will be held in the coming days and the modalities worked out,” she said, adding that similar efforts are being taken to effectively utilise the “unused building space” within the municipal jurisdiction.

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