Kochi: The Kochi Metro is all set to lift the city out of the frustratingly clogged roads and the pillars of the track will be an unlikely address for the areas along the arterial roads.
About 1,300 pillars have lined up across Kochi as the Metro project raced to the deadline with incredible speed. Now they are giving the city a surprise gift: A vertical garden on every sixth pillar.
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At first, the pillars were intruders on the already crowded roads. Then they lent an aesthetic touch to the city when artists attending the Kochi Biennale let loose their creativity on them. Now, they stand as beacons of greenery amid the drab concrete cityscape.
The pillars are already part of the city lingo. They have turned the unofficial addresses for many areas along the Metro. Some of the residents and shop owners think it easier to cite the number of the nearest pillar than writing down the pin code or the name of the road.
“If I tell someone that my bakery is at Koonamthai, they draw a blank. Tell them 362 and everything is clear. It is good for business,” says T B Noushad from inside his modest confectionery between Edappally and Aluva. He is visibly elated at the new address.
Abdul Sathar, who runs a restaurant at Kadavanthra, has similar stories to tell. “Customers who call up no longer ask for the address. They just want to know the pillar number,” he says. “These pillars will surely be Kochi’s pride,” his staff P A Majeed adds.
Sakeer, who runs a spare-parts shop at Edappally, is already considering adding the pillar number to his address.
The pillars came to public discourse when BJP workers covered them with Amit Shah’s flexes and when movie director Ashiq Abu led an initiative to free them of advertisements. “There was even a report on the possibility of constructing police watch towers on the pillars. That would be brilliant,” says Johnson, a shop owner along the Vyttila-Kadavanthra road.