The city Corporation has never considered shifting the statue of Ayyankali from the Vellayambalam square, Mayor K. Chandrika has said. She was responding to the dissent voiced by Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM) activists against the alleged move by the Corporation to displace the statue of the social reformer from the bustling junction.
“We only strived to preserve the square and have not been part of any renovation plans,” said the Mayor, adding that the Uday Samudra Hotel group was being entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the park as per terms outlined in a five-year agreement entered with the Corporation.
Ever since the statue was unveiled in 1980 by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Corporation had been involved in its maintenance. But the Trivandrum Road Development Company Limited (TRDCL) — the implementing agency of the City Road Improvement Project — floated the idea of reducing the area of the roundabout for road widening. The proposal was shelved due to opposition. Ms. Chandrika said that on being approached by the Mahatma Ayyankali Square Samrakshana Samithi, she had asked the Public Works Department and TRDCL about the development work at the park and was told that they had stopped all construction at the site due to the protests.