Yuck, but it is Kochi’s showcase promenade!
The nauseating stench from the backwaters and the ramshackle wooden jetties are a turn off for visitors at the Marine Drive.
Over the past many years, the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA)’s promise of getting rid of the two, has remained on paper. This time too, its chairman N. Venugopal reiterated his assurance that the wooden jetties that are safety hazards will be torn down in a phased manner.
The jetties have been built atop bamboo and wooden stumps and are covered with thin wooden planks. Most of them do not have barricades either.
“Orders have been issued to demolish nine of the 20 wooden jetties and this will be done soon,” said Mr Venugopal.
On the demand from private tourist boat operators for more concrete jetties to berth their vessels, he said there were already six permanent jetties along the expansive Marine Drive. “We plan to the renovate two jetties that are not maintained well. We plan to build yet another jetty on the northern side of Marine Drive. But will not allow private boats to remain berthed here during night. They have to find an alternative place. Neither will repair works be permitted on the jetty premises.”
While removing these eyesores will give a makeover for the waterfront, the GCDA has not taken steps to clear the grime washed ashore. The incessant dumping of garbage — food and plastic waste and even used tyres — is further chocking the waterfront. This is turning away people who used to frequent the walkway.
The Ernakulam District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) plans to build a terminal near the High Court jetty to berth tourist boats that it intends to operate. “We have plans to operate boats to Perumbalam, Kadamakudy etc.,” said T N Jayasankar, the agency’s secretary.