Koppam: Surging flood waters have destroyed a ready-to-be inaugurated folk art centre at Koppam in Palakkad district.
Recently built at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore, the Thiruvegappura Thootha Puzhayoram Heritage Park now lies ruined after water from the overflowing Thootha river entered the premises and left a trail of destruction.
Before the floods, the park, which is situated at the river level, was already inundated by the water that swept down the mountains.
The work on the first phase of the park was completed and was awaiting inauguration when the water entered its premises and deposited a thick layer of mud and slush. The tiled courtyard, entrance, office, children's park and seating facilities all were damaged. The plants on both sides of the park have died.
The heritage park was a dream project of the Thiruvegappura panchayat that was aiming to combine the historic Rayinellur hills and the lores and legends of Naranathu Bhranthan (the madman of Naranam), a great philosopher who disguised himself as a madman from the legend of the 'Clan of Twelve' (Parayipetta Panthirukulam) that highlights the evolution of the social structure of ancient Kerala.
A four-acre poramboke land was handed over to the government two years ago to build the heritage park. A project to build a folklore park at a cost of Rs 5 crore on the riverside plot was entrusted with the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC). The cost estimates and the project plan were ready and the previous government granted Rs 1.5 crore to begin work on one-and-a-half acres.
Rs 1 crore was allocated in two phases, and works were completed. The park was ready for inauguration but by then the new government took charge it didn't take place.
Since lack of fencing for the park invited the attention of anti-social elements, the panchayat raised a complaint and a Rs 30 lakh estimate for building a fence was prepared. But it was not taken forward.
Though flood waters had entered the park last year too, it didn't damage the park. But this time, the floods literally washed away the park. Now, the DTPC is also not interested in renovating the park that was eagerly awaited by the local residents of Thiruvegappura, Irimbiliyam and Edayur panchayats.