Heritage sites ignored

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Kochi: Illegal encroachments, shoddily-maintained footpaths, potholed roads and an untidy beach in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry — all these once much-admired tourist destinations and major heritage sites of the city, are now woefully neglected. Their sorry state clearly indicate the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities. There is no interest in conserving the heritage of these places or beautifying them. 
 
The Fort Kochi Heritage Zone Conservation Society, nominated by the state government to co-ordinate the conservation and management of heritage sites in the city, has been inactive for more than a year.
 
The society’s office in Fort Kochi stays shut and no meeting has been convened after the body was reconstituted last year with the tourism secretary as the chairman. Though an officer and other staff have been appointed for regular functioning of the society's office, nobody has taken charge.
 
“Heritage sites like Fort Kochi and Mattancherry, which attract large crowds from all over the world, are the face of the city. Proper management of these sites through maintenance of roads, drains, daily cleaning, evacuation of encroachers and proper sanitation, are important. But inaction of the society has badly hit the conservation and sustainable development of these areas,” said a civic expert.
 
Though the state government had promised projects worth Rs 10 crore for an image makeover for the locals, the proposal remains on paper more than four years later. “If the society could take an active role with local participation, some of the projects could have been realised. At present, there is no system even to manage the cleaning workers,” the expert added.
 
Meanwhile, Dominic Presentation, MLA, told Deccan Chronicle that a meeting of the Society would be convened soon. “Instructions have been given to the district collector to convene a meeting of the Society soon, even though the tourism secretary is not available. The meeting will decide the future plans on conservation of heritage sites,” he said.

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