City’s town halls, including the one in Mattancherry, are set for a major revamp after the Kochi Corporation recently approved the projects, expected to cost approximately Rs. two crore.
These town halls were quite old and needed to be reworked elaborately, said Town Planning Standing Committee Chairman K.J. Sohan. He emphasised the importance of these public spaces, which are always in demand for various conventions, conferences, get-togethers and exhibitions.
Repair works have to be undertaken to fix the damaged floors, leaking roofs, false ceilings that are in a shambles, stages where cultural programmes take place as well as the rest rooms in these town halls.
The damage to the walls and leakages have also adversely affected the way sound systems can be put to use in these town halls.
The Ernakulam North Town Hall, which conceded some land for the Kochi Metro Rail, would be renovated to make it a major landmark, said Mr. Sohan. He pointed out that the courtyard of the town hall needed to be raised a little to prevent flooding during the rains as the roads in front of it and behind it had been raised considerably.
While the elaborate repairs will give the Ernakulam Town Hall a fresh life, the serious problem of insufficient parking space is likely to linger on. With the Kochi Corporation being asked to cede more land for the Kochi Metro Rail works, parking space is likely to shrink further.
Space is no constraint for the Mattancherry Town Hall though it appears more battered by the passage of time than its counterpart in Ernakulam. The latter was inaugurated in 1961 and has continuously been in use since then.
The Mattancherry Municipal Town Hall was at the centre of action in the trading hub. It was under the aegis of M.K. Raghavan, former Chairman of the Municipality, that the foundation for the Town Hall was laid in 1958.
N.K.A. Latheef, local historian and social activist, recalled the historic importance of the town hall. It was here that the most famous of the country and the State entertained Kochiites over several times, he said.
He said the Town Hall came up on what was popularly called Cheenkanni Maidanam, a haunt for cultural activities and where popular leaders like Panampally Govinda Menon and Joseph Mundassery had addressed large gatherings of people, said Mr. Latheef.