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Political fronts spar over stalled sky-walk project once again


When it was first announced, the proposed sky-walk in Kottayam was hailed as a game-changer, a futuristic leap for the town. But the initial buzz fizzled out quickly, and now, this ambitious project stands abandoned, a stark emblem of bureaucratic inertia.

For over eight years, this elevated structure has become the epicentre of political squabbles in Kottayam – the heart of central Travancore’s political landscape. After the high intensity battle for the Lok Sabha seat, this half-built metal structure is yet again setting the tone for a political fight that is unfolding between the two leading fronts – the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

Fresh row has erupted after Transport Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar declared in the Assembly that the project was never feasible. This statement ignited a fiery exchange between the LDF and the UDF, culminating in public protests from both factions on a heated Saturday.

At a protest meet organised by the UDF, Congress Central Working Committee member Ramesh Chennithala lashed out at the State government, accusing it of discriminating against the project. “The LDF must explain why Kottayam’s project is stalled while similar ones in Kollam and Thrissur are nearing completion,” he demanded.

In a swift counter, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] took out a protest march to the site, calling for the dismantling of the structure, which they claimed was a safety hazard. During the event, the party leaders posed a barrage of questions to the Congress and Kottayam legislator Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan about the project’s impact on the town’s future development and the land acquisition process.

As the dispute intensifies, both sides are pinning their hopes on the outcome of a petition before the Kerala High Court, seeking the dismantling of the partially built structure due to public safety concerns. The court has sought the State government’s stance on the issue, and Mr. Radhakrishnan has joined the case.

Work on the pedestrian utility, situated at a key intersection in Kottayam city, began in February 2016 but came to an abrupt halt within months after the metal structure was installed. The planned 45-metre-wide skywalk, standing on six-metre-high pillars, was to include two elevators, sophisticated kiosks, and seating areas.

Originally announced by the previous UDF government in May 2015, the project lost its priority under the LDF government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. At the same time, Mr. Radhakrishnan’s repeated efforts to revive it have faltered due to the sluggish pace of land acquisition.



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