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Is it a Park in Kerala or a European City?

The Vagbhatananda Park in Kozhikode district of Kerala has got a face-lift like none other in all of India. Re-built in the memory of Vagbhatananda Guru, the great social reformer during the British time, it has started getting national and international attention.
Indian Masterminds Stories

It’s a show-stopper of a park, a piece of dazzling beauty which will stop most people in their tracks. A sight to behold it is, and has been built in the memory of renaissance hero & social reformer Vagbhatananda Guru. The Kerala Tourism Department has built it, by transforming the Vagbhatananda Park at Vadakara, Kozhikode district in Kerala.

 A10-month long project, it turned out to be spell-binding structure, something not easily found in other parts of India.

 In an exclusive interview with Indian Masterminds, IAS officer Mr. P Bala Kiran, who is currently posted as the Director of Kerala Tourism and CEO of Smart City Thiruvananthapuram, spoke about the transformation drive of this place which has set the internet on fire.

IDEA BEHIND THE INITIATIVE

Mr. Bala said, “Vagbhatananda Guru was a social renaissance reformer who brought new concepts of social equality in the northern Kerala region. He was also a pioneer in starting India’s oldest worker cooperative, the Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society (ULCCS). It comprises of almost 13,000 people with more than 1,000 engineers.”

“When the concept of developing urban spaces came up in the state, we identified a beautiful stretch along the Onchiyam- Nadapuram Road from the railway station to the national highway which covers 300-350 metres of the area. We wanted to develop it as a show piece, as well as a park which can be used by the people in several ways. Working on the proposal, the Tourism Department sanctioned 2.80 crores to fully transform the identified area”, he added.

THE EXECUTION

The proposal was sanctioned in the month of October in 2019. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the work started in February 2020. The project was completed in a record time of 10 months, in which four months were spent on execution and the remaining months for paper work and obtaining various permissions. The construction of the park was taken up by the Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society itself, as to honor the Vagbhatananda Guru.

Mr. Bala said, “After the execution of developing the park, the result came out pretty well. As this type of development activities generally happen in smart cities and along smart roads, we wanted to do it in a rural set up as well.”

After execution picture

THE TRANSFORMATION

While speaking about the past condition of the area, Mr. Bala said “Earlier, it was a normal village situated on a mud road. The area didn’t have any facilities and was filled with trees, shrubs and even waste disposal, as it was built near the railway station. However, we sought help from the locals and the shopkeepers living in the area and told them that we are going to transform the whole carriage and also do the underground cabling and storm water draining during the upcoming project.”

Before and After picture of Vagbhatananda Park

People living in the area were very supportive. They were excited to see the administration and the government focusing on the development of their area. With the support of the shopkeepers, the government obtained land to build a wider road and a pedestrian walkway. 

Before and After Photos

The final result looked like the slice of a beautiful European city, adorned by magnificent roads, footpaths, street lights, shops and the houses which too had been renovated keeping the overall aesthetics in mind.

The park also provides several other facilities such as a badminton court, open gym, wide pedestrian park, disabled friendly toilets, modern and clean fish market, restrooms, open air stage, cycle tracks, and a beautiful landscape which leaves people fascinated.

The Transformation

With hundreds of people thronging here every day, has become a meeting hub where people come and have fun. 

The great Vagbhatananda Guru, had he been alive to see the finished project, would have certainly jumped in joy.


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