Admirers of Kunjali Marakkar will have a quite distressing sight if they decide to visit the Kunjali Marakkar Memorial Tourism Project site and park developed by the Meladi block panchayat and situated a few metres away from the Marakkar’s ancestral home at Kottakkal. By the quite flowing Moorad river, one can also witness how vandalism plays spoilsport on a historically important land and malign its image among foreign and domestic tourists.
All the tourism amenities at the park, including a Tourism Information Centre, compound railings, park benches and outdoor entertainment equipment, have been demolished or disfigured by anti-social elements. Vulgar graffiti adorns the interior and exterior of the information counter, which was set up with a purpose to explain the life and history of the great naval commander to the new generation.
According to residents in the region, the project, which was completed under a People’s Planning scheme in 2000, now remains as a monument of neglect and dishonour to the legendary naval captain of the Zamorins. They say that the site, developed by the panchayat authorities after investing a huge sum on the southern bank of the Moorad river, is totally under the control of miscreants during night and a is safe haven for drug addicts and alcohol consumers.
“In the absence of security guards, the illegal sand miners operating on the banks of the Moorad river use it as their safe entrance to the main road. They bring the load near the boat bay and cart it away to the distant locations,” says P. Babu, a resident in the area. “As the police and local administration are heedless of the issue, we have no alternatives to resist the practice,” he adds.
R.M. Shafeer, another resident, says the boating facility introduced in the location too came to an abrupt end with the piteous condition of the park. Boats bought for attracting tourists to this location are now operating in other parts of the district, he points out.