The use of the Kanakakunnu palace premises for holding fairs and setting up amusement parks, food festivals, shows, and exhibitions by the government departments, private organisations, and others has started affecting the landscaped premises of the heritage building and its upkeep.
The latest incident is the setting up of huge globe and erecting a shamiana on the palace ground for the ‘Surakshaayanam 2012' being organised by the Revenue and Disaster Management departments. The lawns, especially those between the two entrance gates of the century-old palace, had got damaged. The concrete slabs had broken and sunken at several places near where the globe had been erected in a shoddy way.
The lawns had got trampled at many places as the crowd is walking on them avoiding the pathways. Near the eastern side of the palace, where the shamiana had been erected for organising the Open Forum, the lawns had also got damaged due to a pipe burst underneath.
The sprawling palace premises were seen littered with plastic covers, bottles, wrappers of toffees, biscuits, papers, notices and other waste despite the organisers trying to clean up the premises. The left side of the palace entrance, a favourite place for organising exhibitions, is now a parking lot for the vehicles that bring in the guests and the personnel.
The lush green lawns had not been watered for days. The designed pathways and ornamental lights are in a bad shape due to lack of proper maintenance. The condition of the tiled courtyard, ‘Plaza', in front of the auditorium is no different.
Kerala Tourism renovated the 18-acre premises at a cost of Rs.2.5 crore recently and demarcated them into two zones – recreation and heritage – and entry of vehicles were restricted.
The misuse of the lawns is taking place when an exclusive area, Sooryakanthi grounds, has been created for organising trade fairs and exhibitions. Renting the palace premises for exhibitions, amusement parks, and food stalls should be avoided for the proper upkeep of the premises matching the grandeur of the landmark palace. As per rule, it is the duty of those holding the events to clear the trash from the premises.
Sources in Kerala Tourism said the place where the globe had been erected had been handed over to the Flag Foundation of India for erecting a 72-ft-long and 48-ft-wide flag. Two cents of land had also been handed over to the Revenue Department for this and hence the spot where the globe had been erected need not have to be repaired.