Much needs to be done to ensure the upkeep of the Marine Drive walkway, which is among the few places in the city to unwind.
The plethora of advertisements that line it not withstanding, the city’s famed walkway is ill-kept.
The fear is rife that crass commercialisation, the advertisement frenzy and slack maintenance will slowly kill the area.
Dark musical walkway
What was once the royal musical walkway turns pitch dark during night, because only a handful of lights are in working condition.
This is apart from the numerous broken benches. It is maintained by the District Tourism Promotion Council while the rest is by the Greater Cochin DevelopmentAuthority. (GCDA).
The floor tiles have given away in some places all along the walkway maintained by both the agencies, while garbage bins are missing at many places. This prompts visitors to litter the premises.
This is apart from the numerous eyesores like rusting iron frames and lamp posts. The planter boxes occupy precious space on the walkway, but do not serve their purpose – they are devoid of plants. The GCDA is yet to clear many wooden poles atop which stood ramshackle boat jetties.
Despite all these, people flock to the area, possibly because there are very few options in the city for families and others on an outing. The scenic walkway project from Kundanoor Bridge to Mattancherry Bridge is a non-starter, so too are the walkways proposed in Mattancherry and Fort Kochi.
While the GCDA and DTPC must step in and do the damage control, the Cochin Port Trust must dredge and clean the coast, to prevent the accumulation of slush and garbage that let out a nauseating stench all along the walkway.
Sources in the GCDA said that permission to display advertisements was given to an agency on the condition that it ensured the walkway’s cleanliness and aesthetics. “Steps will be taken to remedy the state of affairs.”
Referring to the ongoing extension work on the walkway’s northern side they said that the ‘kettuvallom’-shaped bridge near the High Court will most likely be a Vishu gift to city residents.
The walkway was envisaged as a 3.50 km-long one, extending from Rajendra Maidan to the first Goshree bridge.
The extension up to the Goshree bridge is underway, courtesy GCDA. The southern extension will depend on the renovation of the Ernakulam Boat Jetty by Kerala Tourism and Kochi Corporation permitting the extension through Subhash Park.