The spruced up Mahatma Gandhi Park at Kollam beach, owned by the Kollam City Corporation, will be inaugurated by Mayor Prasanna Earnest at a function to be held at the beach on August 31. With the inauguration, the park will be entrusted to a private sector Rural Tourism Development Company (Rutodec) on contract for a period of five years for being maintained.

The expenses for the face lift given to the park were met by Rutodec. As per the terms and conditions of the contract, there will be a fee for entry into the park. Entry to the beach area will be free. Vehicles coming to the beach or park will also have to pay a parking fee.

The entry fee has fixed at Rs. 5 per person. The parking fee will be Rs. 5 for two wheelers and Rs. 10 for cars. Rutodec will maintain the park and beach and ensure that parked vehicles are safe. The company will also run a light refreshment restaurant serving quality food, the company’s managing director, said at a press conference here on Friday.

The Mahatma Gandhi Park was inaugurated on Jauary 1, 1961 by the then Vice President of India, Zakir Hussein. At the time, the complex comprised a deer park and an aquarium. But lack of maintenance resulted in the park deteriorating and turning into a haven for anti-socials.

Mayor Prasanna Earnest said that the new system has been introduced with the aim of maintaining the beach and the park as a model spot for all age groups to relax and enjoy the beach. The park also comprises a swimming pool and an observatory. State-of-the-art water fountains and a waterfall will be added attractions.

But for morning walkers arriving at the beach, parking would be free. The contractors also intend to offer free yoga classes to morning walkers. They said there would be no restrictions on persons from neighbouring fishing hamlets entering the beach to sell peanuts. But an identity card and uniform will be given to these vendors.

The inaugural function will be presided over by the Deputy Mayor, G. Lalu. The games zone at the park will be inaugurated by the Kollam MP, N. Peethambara Kurup. The function will be followed by a ganamela. The contractors have also organised a ganemela by playback singer Rimmy Tommy in the evening on September 5.

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