Staff Reporter

Area being developed as per master plan, says Chairperson

Chairperson says the authority will not hand over the walkway to anyone

Says GCDA is against developments that go against master plan

KOCHI: The Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) has alleged that vested interests are trying to grab the Marine Drive walkway, an attractive and unique spot in the heart of the city.

In a release issued here, GCDA Chairperson M.C. Josephine said that the authority would not hand over the walkway to anyone. “We will maintain it after taking it over,” she said.

The walkway was constructed by the authority as part of the Marine Drive development project.

Tourism funds were used to beautify the royal musical walkway and to construct the Cheenavala Bridge.

“The area is being developed by the authority as per the master plan approved by the government,” she said.

But some agencies had come into the picture to develop the place, presuming that they were pioneers in beautifying the area, without the knowledge of the authority.

The GCDA objected to the developments, which were against the spirit of the master plan. Planter boxes were built blocking the free movement of people and fire engines (to attend in case of emergencies). Similarly, attempts were made to build kiosks and toilets on the walkway, totally spoiling the vision of the master plan.

The authority objected to the proposal to construct a boat jetty behind the GCDA shopping complex, since there was no direct accessibility from Shanmugham Road, neither was there parking space.

The jetty had been relocated to the north side of the Rainbow Bridge and parking space earmarked on the Marine Drive ground.

Constructions removed

Though the constructions that were against the spirit of the schemes were removed, the agency concerned had not removed the remains of the dismantled structures.

The agency had also not completed lighting works and did not hand over the walkway in maintainable form.

“The GCDA is unable to maintain the walkway since the beautification work is not yet over,” Ms. Josephine said.

DTPC initiative

The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), which maintains the royal musical walkway at the southern end of Marine Drive, had expressed interest in maintaining the walkway, over a year ago.

The GCDA did not allow this saying that it would maintain it itself. As of now, neither the GCDA nor the Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation, which recently paved tiles on the walkway between the Rainbow Bridge and the Cheenavala Bridge, has taken steps to even replace fused out bulbs. The cleanliness of the walkway also leaves much to be desired.