KOCHI: The Fort Kochi and Mattancherry heritage conservation project with an estimated cost of Rs 50 crore proposed over a decade ago is yet to be effectively implemented. The shabby upkeep of the area, large number of illegal encroachments and rampant violation of heritage conservation norms reveal the failure in implementing the project. The state government has made a budget allocation of Rs 15 crore for the project in 2011.
The long-drawn demand for a comprehensive master plan for the heritage area, including renovation and conservation of monuments, Vasco de Gama Square, cleaning of Fort Kochi beach and ensuring basic facilities for the visitors, is yet to be met.
“The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has come up with an action plan for the conservation and management of the heritage zone after the city joined the Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation (IHCNF) programme of UNESCO. But, the Rs 50-crore project reached nowhere,” said Mr K. J. Sohan, former corporation town planning committee chairman and member of Fort Kochi Heritage Zone Conservation Society.
“Several projects proposed for Fort Kochi tourism development are still in the conceptual stage. Though the state government has offered to provide financial assistance for renovation of Chinese nets, after the visit of top Chinese officials, the funds are yet to be handed over,” said Mr M.P. Sivadathan, member of the conservation society.