Dirt, spit stains and cobwebs will continue to dot the Ernakulam Boat Jetty complex with its renovation caught in the crossfire between Kerala Tourism and Central PWD.
The CPWD is adamant that it will not carry out the renovation works without Kerala Tourism clearing its dues, while the State agency is blaming the CPWD for paving the jetty’s entrance with interlocking blocks without getting administrative sanction.
Though the ideal solution for the impasse would be the cash-rich Kerala Tourism engaging a few workers to at least fill the slushy courtyard and to tidy the building, it is reluctant to do so. This means commuters and tourists will have to put up with the dirt within and outside the district’s premier boat jetty and the cobwebs, spit stains and bird droppings that are ingrained in the structure for the past many years. The tourism agency is yet to get over its slumber, despite its regional office functioning in the jetty’s first floor.
All this has earned the premises the tag as the worst maintained public space in the city. The situation has not changed despite the intervention of Ernakulam MLAs and ministers.
“Kerala Tourism owes us Rs. 20 lakh. Neither has it paid the Rs 10.20 lakh that we sought for repainting the building, covering its interior walls using glazed tiles and clearing weeds in the premises. Our contractor is ready to execute the works any day,” said sources in the CPWD. The agency is also expected to modify the ventilation system since the present glass panes are sealed and offer little air circulation. A bore well at an estimated Rs. 4.80 lakh and an electrical sub station at a cost of Rs.20.20 lakh to provide power connection to the ill-lit jetty premises are the other long-pending proposals.
Sources in Kerala Tourism said it has decided to entrust Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (KITCO) to renovate the building and its premises. “But it might take a few months for the works to begin,” they said.
Neither Kerala Tourism nor Kochi Corporation has evicted vendors and stalls that have encroached into public space at the entrance to the jetty from the road in front. The Corporation office is located just across the road. Presently, the encroachers are blocking the way of pedestrians and KSRTC buses exiting from the adjacent bus stand.