Ernakulam Fashion Street traders may be shifted to Ambedkar Stadium

A view of Mullassery canal Fashion Street on Tuesday.

A view of Mullassery canal Fashion Street on Tuesday.

After the failed attempt to rehabilitate the traders of Fashion Street to an area near the Ernakulam Maharaja’s College ground, the authorities are now toying with the idea of using the space of the Ambedkar Stadium near the bus stand of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation.

A team of officials from the Kochi Corporation, the Irrigation Department and the Greater Cochin Development Authority had carried out a joint inspection of the site to ascertain its suitability for rehabilitating the traders during the first week of January.

The rehabilitation of the 74 traders, who have set shops on the canal, remains a major stumbling block towards the implementation of the Mullassery canal rejuvenation programme. The Irrigation Department is the implementing agency of the work. The Kochi Corporation had, a few decades ago, allowed the traders to set shops on the canal as part of a rehabilitation programme.

The restoration of the canal to its original extent, removal of encroachments and leveling of its floor bed were listed as the steps to be carried out to ensure the smooth flow of water to free the city of floodwaters.

The Irrigation Department had been insisting that the shops and the encroachments be removed for it to begin the canal restoration works. The civic authorities had to backtrack from the proposal for shifting the traders temporarily to the college ground after the college authorities and a section of the general public objected to it.

The Department is waiting for the authorities to clear the encroachment on the canal and remove the shops for the work to begin. The contract for the canal work was signed between the Department and the contractor picked up for the job last week. The district administration has been apprised of the developments, said Baji Chandran, the Superintending Engineer of the Irrigation Department, who is leading the canal restoration work.

The project cost would be less than the anticipated expense as the contractor quoted an amount, which was 4% lower than the estimate. Initially, it was expected that the project may require ₹10 crore, he said.

The project site can be handed over to the contractor only when the impediments on the canal are cleared and the project site is assigned to the Irrigation Department. Any delay in handing over the site could further delay the implementation of the project, he said.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 12:51:15 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ernakulam-fashion-street-traders-may-be-shifted-to-ambedkar-stadium/article38286618.ece