Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday ordered the Greater Cochin Development Authority to prepare a master plan for the protection of Marine Drive in two weeks and ordered the police to provide 24 hour protection to the area.
A Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice ordered this on a petition filed by Renjith G Thampi who is a member of the organisation Environme-ntal Monitoring Forum. Though the Kochi Corpora-tion told the court that it is planning to beautify Marine Drive, the court told the civic body that what is of utmost importance is to preserve its existing beauty. The petition will be considered again on August 5.
The Commissioner of Police has to ensure that there are no anti-social activities and waste dumping in the area. The Corporation of Cochin shall immediately ensure that the walkway is adequately illuminated through the restoration of the lighting facility so as to discourage antisocial activities, the court said.
The court also said that the Corporation shall also ensure that there is no unauthorised dumping of waste in the area. “If any instance of unauthorised dumping of waste comes to the notice of the Corporation, they shall report the same to the police, who shall take prompt action to book the offenders,” the court said.
The court also said that on the next date of posting, the GCDA shall file an affidavit indicating the steps proposed to be taken by them for the maintenance and continued upkeep of the walkway at Marine Drive and time frame for the said measures.
The court earlier noted that the Marine Drive walkway, barely a stone’s throw away from the High Court, was conceived as a landmark for those “visiting beautiful city of Kochi hailed as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea.’ The walkway is studded with lights and is set against a picteresque landscape and was to form the ‘Queen’s necklace’much like the walkway in Mumbai, that goes by the same name.” It also noted that the walkway was built through considerable investment of time, labour and money. However, over the years triggered by the neglect of local authorities and fuelled by the apathy of the citizenry, the landmark has lost its appeal. The place has become a waste dump and the leftover and discarded food there attracts stray animals because of which it has become unsafe.