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Tough time for film festival delegates as they jostle for parking spaces in Kochi

Lack of adequate parking space for delegates’ vehicles at the main venue proved to be a major hurdle on the first day of the Kerala International Regional Film Festival (IFFK) which kicked off here on Friday.

The five-day festival has the complex housing the Saritha, Savitha and Sangeetha theaters as its main venue housing the office of the organizing committee and the delegates’ cell for collecting passes and festival kits.

Although entry into the premises of the main venue remains limited to certain vehicles of office staff and guests, no other space has been provided for in the immediate vicinity either. Last year, when the city hosted IFFK, when it was held decentralized in several cities across the state due to pandemic curbs, the sprawling St. Albert High School campus in the vicinity immediate was made available for parking, which was not the case this time.

Delegates who made it to campus were turned away by security guards. “We have endeavored to make the campus available as a parking space. But the management couldn’t allow it, because it was a test assessment center. There was also no alternative parking space in the neighborhood,” said Shibu Chakravarthy, general manager of the regional IFFK organizing committee.

With the limited space around the venue already filled with parked vehicles, the majority of delegates had to keep circling around the busy Banerjee road to find a parking space which proved elusive. Delegates who attempted to park vehicles in front of stores were chased away by shopkeepers claiming the spaces were for their customers. Left with few options, they were forced to squeeze their vehicles even into narrow lanes.

Asked about the difficulties faced by the delegates, Mayor Mr. Anilkumar said that the company could not actively get involved in the preparations for the festival unlike last year due to the hectic year-end works.

Daniel, a delegate, fumed that he had to park his vehicle at a chargeable facility about 200 yards from the venue and that too after driving the busy road several times.

Interestingly, while a regional IFFK board was placed outside the facility, no provision was made for parking. “Many drive around assuming it’s a parking space for IFFK, and that leads to arguments when we say they have to pay,” a security guard said.

Deena S. Hawkins

The author Deena S. Hawkins