Thiruvananthapuram: The spacious park which had a few artificial waterfalls in front of the Kerala Water Authority office opposite Kanakakunnu Palace has been out of bounds for the public for several years now.
Rotary Club of Trivandrum North had beautified the children's park earlier, only to be left in a dilapidated condition since early 2000.
Earlier, the public could access the park on weekends. Old timers would recall the way the artificial waterfall was a huge hit and also the adjoining children's park being a major attraction among city dwellers.
It was during the tenure of former managing director of KWA, K. Ramachandran that he took steps to modernise the spacious area.
K. Raveendran, former director of Museum and Zoo, recalled that coinciding with the flower show, Mr Ramachandran who was then serving as the chief coordinator took steps to beautify the garden with waterfalls, children's park and then with lotus pond next to the Kalmandapam (stone structure).
"Agri Horticultural Society along with the tourism department used to hold the annual flower show during the '80s and '90s. Mr Ramachandran was keen to develop another green lung in the area apart from the neighbouring Museum and Zoo and Kanakakunnu Palace grounds. For years, it was maintained well. But by early 2000, the area cut a sorry figure with the children's park lying idle", said Raveendran.
K. P. Krishnakumar, former Chief Engineer, KWA told DC that the KWA premises would be between five to seven acres. While in service, Krishnakumar had given a proposal to revive the fountain to a musical fountain and also to develop a tourism circuit along Aruvikkara - Vellayambalam - Peppara.
"But unfortunately it never materialised. The view from the elevated area from the KWA compound to the adjoining Kanakakunnu Palace and Museum and Zoo compound is really picturesque. If the government can allot Rs 10 lakh, then the area can be developed", said Krishnakumar.
Currently, the children's park on the museum premises is congested, especially during weekends.
If the KWA park is beautified and re-opened, then it would be beneficial to scores of children and their parents.
K. Krishnankutty, water resources minister, told DC that he would look into the issue and do the needful. Last year, the government had allotted 19.81 cents of land for installing the statue of social reformer Sree Narayana Guru in the area where earlier the lotus pond and the Kalmandapam situated and the Museum - Vellayambalam road branches off to Nandavanam.
It was decided to install the statue to mark the centenary celebrations of the Guru's Namukku Jathiyilla ('I have no caste') proclamation. But long ago, there was a statue of Sethu Parvathi Bayi, better known as Amma Maharani, who was also the mother of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the last king of Travancore.
But Kowdiar palace authorities told DC that there was a Naxal attack on the statue which led to its destruction and never had it back.
Suresh Chandran, superintending engineer, KWA, promised to ensure the park opened to the public by Onam.
"The city corporation's smart city project has also evinced keen interest in developing the area. We will be beautifying the area which will be open to the general public," he told DC....