Thursday, August 4, 2016


The Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Corporation Ltd (TRDCL),  the concessionaire  under the KRFB, in association with the District Administration has undertaken the development of roads at Eastfort, during the last two years. The medians were shifted to give more carriage way on the eastern side (fort side). Handrails and signals were erected. But, still people jump over the medians without showing the patience to cross at signals, and fall in front of the buses, causing accidents. The haphazard way in which the buses and other vehicles run, wrong parking of auto rickshaws, footpaths occupied by the hawkers, the large number of KSRTC buses and most importantly, the private buses unauthorisedly parking/ terminating at Eastfort - all contribute and result in frequent accidents. The District Administration had intervened in the matter and made several improvements but the efforts have not become effective, since  all such initiatives are being undertaken on a piecemeal basis, without substantial investments and without a long term vision. Another reason that a comprehensive  plan could not be implemented was due to the fact that several departments/organisations possessing land at Eastfort were not willing to share them for the benefit of common man.

Thus, barring the 3 acres in respect of the school, more than 10 acres of land -- sufficient for implementation of a comprehensive plan at Eastfort. But  what is absent is the comprehensive development plan and  the chaotic situation remains unsolved. It is proposed that the following suggestions may be kindly implemented in a phased manner during the next two years under the CRDP in association with the KSRTC and Corporation of Thiruvanathapuram.

A. Suggestions to improve and beautify Eastfort:-
a. Construct a shopping-cum-hospital complex in the one acre land owned by Health department. About 40  shops in the KSTRC land as well as the disputed land of Revenue department (total area 1.13 acres) to be shifted to the land belonging to the Homeo Hospital of  health department after building the complex in a BoT or Annuity model. Alternatively, without taking the land of the Homeo Hospital, all the shops could be shifted to the two bus stand complexes mentioned in item (d) below.
b. The Gandhi Park to be shifted to the 75 cents now occupied by KSRTC and 38 cents in dispute with the traders, on both sides of the Fort entrance, fully exposing the heritage structure, which is the icon of Thiruvananthapuram. It may be noted Gandhi park is only 75 cents now, it can be shifted to 1.13 acres of land, on the opposite side of the road.
c. The Chalai road shall be extended through the middle of the Gandhi Park, restoring the original glory of East fort and by dividing the park into two, but connected through a subway.
d. The northern part of the Gandhi park shall be combined to the 1.90 acres of land belonging to the KSTRC and a new bus terminal cum shopping complex to be constructed there. KSRTC will gain around 75 cents they lost on the other side.
e. Similarly, the southern portion of the Gandhi Park to be combined together with 1.64 acres of TRIDA (acquired for new Bus Terminal) and another shopping complex cum bus terminal could be constructed (one can be set apart for KSRTC and other for Private Buses, Taxi and Autorikshaws).
f. Multi level car parking, Police outpost, Taxi/Auto Stands etc to be constructed at the land owned by TRIDA.

g. A road starting from the new Bus stand of KSRTC through the front of Sree Padmanabha Theatre and  shall pass through the TRIDA land to meet Attakulangara Junction over the drains (near new Ramachandra Textiles). This will be one way and decongest the Eastfort.
h. A skywalk or a subway, with sufficient measures to prevent flooding, with shops on both sides shall be constructed from the proposed shopping-cum-hospital complex  connecting the new bus terminals and  Putharikandam. Similarly an underpass shall be constructed connecting the two bus terminals.
i. About 60 shops were displaced by the construction of the Thakaraparambu Flyover. Some were rehabilitated by the side of Central Theatre road and blocking one of the main roads. It is proposed that the 23 cents  where Horticorp is located  and the 28 cents in front of the Sree Chithra Home may be utilised for construction of shopping complex on BoT model so that such shifting will not only decongest the Central Theatre road but also have the following benefits.
i. Sree Chithra Home will get extra income from the rental of shops which could be utilised for financial assistance for girls marrying off.
ii. About 60 shop owners could rehabilitated

B. Suggestions to decongest Thampanoor and Improvement of Public Transport System in Thiruvananthapuram 

The above area is without taking into account the land possessed by KSRTC for various offices and training colleges.When an area of 26.08 acres is available in various parts of the city for bus depots, the entire fleet of long distance buses and local buses of KSTRC are being operated from Thampanoor, creating serious traffic problems and causing accidents. There has never been any attempt to decentralise the operations of KSRTC at any point of time in the past. The city roads cannot bear the overcrowding of vehicles. 

      In all big cities like Banglore, Coimbatore etc the long distance buses are being operated, not from the heart of city, but from the periphery. The city is yet to find a place for the long distance private buses. In fact, private buses are being given a second class treatment and most believe that KSTRC alone can solve the public transport woes. There shall be policy shifted to encourage any form of public transport vehicles (taxi, autos, maxi cabs etc) so that people can depend on such vehicles, reducing the multiplication of private vehicles --  bikes and owned cars. Suggestions in this regard are:-
a. After constructing a full fledged Bus terminal cum shopping complex in the 5.80 acres  of land avaialable at Enchakkal, shift those long distance buses plying through NH and MC roads towards north Kerala from thampanoor Central Bus stand to that terminal. Most of the  buses to MC road may turn from Kazhakoottam to Venjaramood. Some buses can be routed through Sreekaryam, Keshavadasapuram and Mannanthala to take care of the passengers between Venjaramood and Keshavadasapuram.
b. The 3.5 acres plot near Anayara World Market shall be converted to a 'multi modal transport hub' from where private long distance (Volvo/Scania/Benz) buses will start and terminate. There shall be city bus terminal, a boat jetty and taxi/Auto stand and  paid parking area for private vehicles. Sufficient  toilets, hotels, restaurants, car parking spaces and shopping malls will also be provided in the hub. After the deweeding of Parvathy Puthanar, Akkulam/Veli Lake and TS canal, regular boats can be plied to carry passenger to Kovalam as southern side and Varkala on northern side. (This will again decongest NH stretch and also improve tourism revenues)
c. The East/South bound KSRTC/Tamil Nadu and private long distance buses shall be shifted to Pappanamcode Bus depot, which shall also be developed into another transport hub. The buses to Chengotta side through Nedumangad can also start from this hub.
d. The Bus terminals of Vikas Bhavan and Peroorkada along with Thampanoor shall be hub of operation of city service.All  the city service buses shall have only temporary halt at Eastfort.
e. There will be circular services every five minutes connecting Pappanamcode, Enchakkal, Anayara, Thampanoor and Peroorkada bus depots for the benefit of long distance commuters. They will also be given option to take tickets towards any of the above depots and travel in the circular service will be free in KSRTC, on showing the land distance tickets.
f. All the Long distance trains may be shifted to Kochuveli station from Thampanoor. Parking bays for bus, taxi,private cars, bikes could be constructed on the air space above the railway lines under a JV with Railways (which is to be formed as part of the sub-urban project). There shall be a corridor connecting the Anayara multi modal hub with the Kochu Veli Railway Station and battery operated cars/trolleys carry passengers to and fro.
g. About 20 acres of land should be acquired between the Veli Railway station and the new transport Hub at Anayara, to set up a lorry parking area and drivers amenity centre. The lorries shall only enter city, especially Chalai and other places only after 8 pm for loading and unloading operations.

The 45 mts wide  NH Bypass from Kazhakoottam to Karode  once operational will take away much of the long distance heavy vehicle traffic towards Tamil Nadu from the city. It is necessary that these heavy vehicles should not be given an opportunity to enter the city during peak hours. The above measures are essentially required to decongest the city traffic in that way.

Other add-on Components :

1. The deweeding and deepening of the TS Canal and Paravaty Puthanar is being done. The earlier LDF govt has initiated a project called ‘Theerapadham’ to rehabilitate the unauthorised dwellers on both sides of the river and to convert it into a beautiful walkway  and commercial hub. This may be revived.

2. The former director of airport had initiated a project called aeropolis. This envisaged a convention centre, use of water way of Parvathi Puthanar etc along with the development of airport. The land acquisition for the shifting of domestic terminal airport, which will save 6 kms for the passengers, when shifted to International airport side, is also pending. These may be integrated with the project.

3. At present railway lines of Thampanoor Central Railway stations are clogged and several trains have to wait at the outskirts during peak hours. A railway siding is planned from Nemom to Vizhinjam, which in other words means that the container and goods train from all over Kerala will have to cross the busy Thampanoor to reach Nemom to proceed to Vizhinjam. The ideal solution is to look at the feasibility of a railway siding from Kazhakoottam passing through the VSSC, Tvm International Airport and Kovalam to reach Vizhinjam. All the good strains to Vizhinjam and Tamilnadu could be diverted through this line reducing the traffic congestion at Thampanoor Central Railway station. The passengers from all over Kerala can travel directly to the Thiruvanthapuram International Airport. The hundreds of employees of VSSC can get down at their offices without relying on taxis or autos. The thousands of Technopark employees can obtain cheap accommodation in small towns like like Chirayinkeezhu (triggering the economic development of that area) and come directly to Veli station and then move to Anayara Transport Hub to get any mode of transport to their offices. 

It is requested that all these proposals  may be included in the Capital Region Development Authority/Corporation as two flag ship projects – to beautify the East fort and to improve the public transport system of Thiruvananthapuram city.

24-6-2016                                                    BIJU PRABHAKAR           District Collector 

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