Tapovanam, a musical garden opened in 2012 exclusively for senior citizens, is going through a rough patch, mainly owing to lack of proper government support, untimely utilisation of funds, and delay in completion of the work undertaken. The partly completed park at Bilathikulam, claimed to be the first-of-its-kind initiative in the State, is not in a state to offer any of the facilities and amenities promised for entertainment of the elderly a year ago. Only the construction of a few metres of tiled walkway and an amphitheatre has taken off in time — and partly completed. All other amenities, including a pond, music system, bird sanctuary, and refreshment shelters, remain a non-starter. The project is now under the supervision of the District Aftercare Association (DAA), which finds itself mired in internal problems.
As per initial estimates, a sum of Rs.25 lakh is required for completion of the first phase of the project. Preliminary work at the site had been completed with voluntary contributions of Rs.1.30 lakh from six residents’ association in the locality. Similarly, the construction of the pavement and amphitheatre began by utilising a fund of Rs.7.50 lakh sanctioned by the district administration. However, the project has lost steam owing to internal issues in the association. An executive committee member attached to the DAA says the association leadership has failed to take measures for further development of the park and allotment of additional funds for the project. An aid of Rs.10 lakh had been sanctioned from the local area development fund of M.K. Raghavan, MP, but that has got lapsed as a result of sluggish proceedings by the association leadership, he says.
As per the approved blueprint of the project submitted by Meharoof Raj, formerly a physician with the General Hospital in Kozhikode, the park is expected to have all amenities within a year and additional services such as counselling facilities and palliative care support for the elderly. Also, the project is expected to support various rehabilitation programmes for those rescued from criminal activities and drug addiction. “The park is always highlighted as the first musical park in the State, but we have never heard music there,” says C. Raveendran, a resident in the region. “Earlier, there were some initiatives on the part of the office-bearers to host some programmes at the location and discuss its further development possibilities, but now we do not see that fervour,” he says.