GCDA mulls legal action against ad agency

The Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) is planning to clamp down on advertisements erected at the Marine Drive walkway at Menaka that have become an eyesore for visitors.

“We are mulling legal action on the issue because we are flooded with complaints that the (outdoor advertisement) agency is spoiling the walkway by erecting too many advertisements on either side, in violation of the contract. They are not using the revenue from advertisements to maintain benches and other infrastructure along the city’s prime walkway,” said GCDA chairman N. Venugopal.

Besides broken benches, the walkway has rusting light poles that turn people away. Planter boxes on either side are devoid of plants, while dust bins are either missing or in bad shape. Advertisements have been put up on the grill beside the backwaters, planter boxes, light poles and benches along what was once a much sought after walkway by families and walkers.

Mr. Venugopal said the contract to erect advertisements was given much before he became the chairman of the agency. “The decision was taken by GCDA’s executive committee and general council. We will initiate steps to pull down unwanted advertisements and post security guards at the walkway,” he said.

Boat jetties

On ramshackle wooden boat jetties posing danger to tourists, he said a dozen of them remained though the GCDA had dismantled nine unsafe jetties. “There is strong political pressure whenever we try to dismantle the rest. Cochin Port Trust too must enforce safety norms since backwaters fall under its jurisdiction,” he said.

Encroachments

With encroachers filling up backwaters and constructing buildings, Mr. Venugopal said the agency was considering extending Marine Drive walkway northwards up to Cheranallore. “A dozen houses have come up in Vaduthala after four acres of backwaters were illegally filled up. Sadly, they were given power connection, while Kochi Corporation allotted them building numbers,” he said. The GCDA had suggested a six-metre-wide walkway and a 32-metre-wide road alongside to act as a check on encroachments.

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