LIFE

Walkway beautification on course

FAVOURITE HAUNT: The Marine Drive walkway in the city attracts families in the evenings. Photo: H. Vibhu

FAVOURITE HAUNT: The Marine Drive walkway in the city attracts families in the evenings. Photo: H. Vibhu  

Beautification of the 800-metre stretch of the Marine Drive walkway between Cheenavala and Rainbow bridges is on.

The Tourism Department entrusted the work to the Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (KITCO). The estimate is Rs. 90 lakhs.

The department has proposed to extend the walkway up to Rajendra Maidan and the first Goshree bridge. KITCO has prepared an estimate for extending it up to the Kerala High Court building. The work is to be completed this year.

A senior consultant of the agency, G. Pramod, said planter boxes (for plants), benches and decorative lights would be installed between the two bridges as part of the beautification. "The walkway will be paved with vitrified and cement-based tiles. The work is expected to be completed by Onam," he said.

"Garden lights will be put up on either side of the walkway. This is in addition to the existing lights. The benches will resemble those put up by the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) on the Royal Musical Walkway, but will be of a different design," Mr Pramod said.

It was about a year ago that the department began handing over `line-works' to KITCO. "The agency has a committed team, which execute projects in a timely manner. This is why it was chosen for the walkway work," a tourism official said. The entire stretch will wear a new look with the boat jetties being renovated at a cost of Rs. 2.74 crores. Work on two jetties has been completed and piling has started for constructing a building for the watchtower, tourist-amenity centre (including cloak room) and ticket counter. "Aimed at extending the walkway and renovating the boat jetties, 1.2 hectares of land was reclaimed from the backwaters," said sources in the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which is in charge of the work.

Fearing damage to the Subhash Bose Park, the Corporation of Cochin has opposed the move to extend the walkway through it.

Mayor C.M. Dinesh Mani said the park would lose its serenity. "As of now, we open it only between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Continuous flow of people to the park throughout the day may damage the flaura and fauna. Moreover, we have a proposal to beautify the park at a cost of Rs. 50 lakhs from the tourism funds. Introduction of more varieties of plants, repairs on the structures and a comfort station are in the offing," he said.

JOHN L. PAUL

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