In search of an identity

Krishnadas Rajagopal
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Long wait for action on a proposal for anganwadi in Kozhikode

This 3-cent plot on Aravind Ghosh Road in Kozhikode city has played many roles.
This 3-cent plot on Aravind Ghosh Road in Kozhikode city has played many roles.

A three-cent plot on Aravind Ghosh Road here has donned many roles. None was a hit. And the jinx continues.

Overlooking the rail tracks leading to the Kozhikode railway station, next door to a row of junk dealers, the land and a one-room brick building lie padlocked in a decrepit condition. Garbage and moss line the compound. A huge green patch covers a leaking wall of the brick house atop a slippery concrete dais pat in the middle of the property.

A black marble plaque on the broken compound wall introduces it as a children’s mini-park run by the city Corporation. It says the park was opened in 1995. But Corporation officials are not sure if the plot was ever a mini-park.

“I do not know exactly whether the plot was used as a park. There is hardly any space for that,” Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef said.

Plus, there is none of the equipment one associates with a children’s play area.

Next to the plaque is a faded blue signpost. Written on it is ‘Bhavanam,’ an initiative to promote low-cost housing projects in the city. But again, the Corporation authorities are not completely sure what happened to the project.

“The brick house was a model low-cost house. The property was used as a counselling centre for those interested in low-cost houses. We had people such as T.P. Dasan, MLA, and senior architects collaborating on the project,” Pottangadi Kishenchand, the ward councillor, said.

Mr. Kishenchand said a proposal has been submitted to the Corporation to convert the house and plot into an anganwadi.

“There is an anganwadi in a building located near the Central fish and meat market. Seventeen children attend it. The stench from the market is unbearable. It is an urgent situation. We had even refused an offer from Kudumbasree to occupy the building because those children need it more,” the councillor said.

But the proposal, he said, had been in limbo for over six months. There was no positive response from the civic authority’s welfare standing committee.

Reacting to the allegation, Corporation welfare standing committee chairperson M. Radhakrishnan said the proposal had to be first cleared by the town planning section.

“They have to go and see if the building is suitable for the needs of an anganwadi. Once their report comes to the standing committee, we will consider the proposal,” Mr. Radhakrishnan said.

Until then, the wait for a meaningful role for the plot continues.




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