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Kochi:

The Kerala High Court on Monday asked for round the clock police surveillance at Marine Drive Walkway. The surveillance is intended to stop waste dumping and anti-social activities at the walkway. The court has directed the City Police Commissioner to station enough police personnel to watch the place.

The order came while hearing a petition filed by Ranjit G Thampy, Chittoor Road, Ernakulam, citing Marine Drive’s deplorable state. Division Bench headed by High Court Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and comprising Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar issued the order.

Senior advocate Jaju Babu, who represented the petitioner opined that the walkway is in a shabby condition. He said that faulty tiles along with the poor drainage system in the walkway are causing heavy waterlogging in several areas near the walkway, especially in the rainy season.

The petitioner also complained of stinking garbage piles, broken chairs and non-functional lights and lack of sanitation facilities at Marine Drive.

People who are residing on the apartments nearby are dumping the waste. Along with this, the littering by boat operators, street vendors and others have turned the walkway into a garbage dump yard, the petitioner pointed out. Open defecation and urination were also pointed out as a major concern.

Hearing the petition, the court directed the Commissioner of Police to have round-the-clock surveillance along the walkway of the Marine Drive to prevent anti-social activities and dumping of waste in the area.

It also directed the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) to come up with a master plan for Marine Drive. It also ordered the corporation to light up the walkway and to take steps to prevent the dumping of waste in the area and asked it to approach police in case of any illegal dumping of wastes.

The next hearing of the case is on August 5th.

The Corporation should light up the walkway besides taking steps to prevent dumping of waste in the area. The civic body should seek police intervention in case of any illegal dumping of waste, the court directed.

“From the environment angle, the place has become a dumping site for solid wastes, mostly non-biodegradable refuse. The leftover attracts strays and as a result of this many pedestrians and nature lovers, who frequented the place earlier, have now stopped going there. This has turned it into a heaven for anti-socials.”

In the order, the court termed the present state of Marine Drive ‘a sore testament of civil negligence’.

“The walkway was built through a considerable investment of time, labour and money and when completed, brought cheer to many of Kochi’s residents for they could then enjoy the soothing ambience and the cool breeze that the gentle waves of the estuary brought in. Over the years, however, triggered primarily by the neglect of the local authorities and fuelled by the apathy of our citizenry, the landmark has steadily lost its appeal to tourists and residents alike and today stands as a sore testament to our civic negligence,” the court observed.

Responding to The Woke Journal Alex, who does boat service for students from the National Institute of Oceanography(NIO) here said, “There were no issues here before the walkway came. Youngsters use marijuana, there are anti-social activities that happen in the night. It is inconvenient even for a passenger to come here after 7 in the evening. ”

However, Anand a youngster had different concerns to share. “Me and my friends like spending time here in the evening. Till date, I haven’t come across any anti-social activity. People do talk about youngsters smoking-up. But I don’t know anything about it. It depends on the kind of people and has nothing to do with the place,” he said to The Woke Journal.

Youngsters also complained about the moral-policing by the police personnel after 8 PM at marine drive.

“They aren’t interested in cleaning the area or taking it out of a deplorable state. They merely want to stop youngsters from sitting together, spending time. It is an issue of a generation gap. 24-hour surveillance can’t solve the issues of this place,” said Abin, who works at Kochi.

GCDA has been given two weeks to come up with a master plan.

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