Staff Reporter

Architects had envisaged fountains, pavilions along stretch

Road was to connect Siva Temple Junction,

High Court Junction

Tourism Department not to carry out any

more road projects

KOCHI: The work on the Rs. 5-crore model road that was envisaged five years ago to connect Siva Temple Junction with High Court Junction, is yet to begin.

This stretch was selected considering the high number of pedestrians and tourists using the road. A vast number of people come with their children during evenings and on holidays, to unwind at Marine Drive, Children’s Park, Subhash Park and Rajendra Maidan.

The existing footpaths, drains, medians and parking lot on the PWD-owned road are shabbily maintained, causing inconvenience to pedestrians. Though the deadline for the Tourism Department’s 1.9-km-long model road project expired in February 2006, not a rupee worth of work has been done.

“This concept was conceived by the Tourism Department to create models in the heart of the city, emulating international trends in road layouts,” said architect Ajith B.R. of Ajith Associates, the architects and consultants of the project. The project has become a non-starter, despite the Tourism Department handing over Rs. 3 crore to the PWD.

One road each was chosen in the five corporation areas in the State to be converted as model roads, so that members of the public would have an idea of how a well-laid, pedestrian-friendly road should be. The Kochi project was conceived in such a way that not a single tree on the existing road would have to be cut. The architects had envisaged fountains, pavilions and bus bays along the stretch. The two-level bus-waiting sheds were planned in such a way that each shed would also have a toilet, an internet kiosk and a snack bar.

“The project would have changed the face of the busy stretch and resulted in more people thronging the place for a stroll. We finalised the scheme after extensive consultations with officials of government departments. At present rates, it will cost at least Rs. 6 crore,” the architect said.

A 10-metre wide portion on the western side of the present road, from Rajendra Maidan to Children’s Park would have to be acquired, to enable the construction of a 4.5-metre-wide footpath on the western side, with the area between the footpath and trees being used as parking space.

The director of Kerala Tourism, M. Shivsankar, said his department has taken a policy decision not to carry out any more road projects. “The Rs 13 crore earmarked this year will be used for creating tourism infrastructure. A lesser alternative to the model road project that would benefit pedestrians is to connect the Marine Drive walkway with the Subhash Park walkway.”

But then, the existing road and its footpaths will continue to remain in bad shape.