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Tourism zone: demand to include Alappuzha
March 21, 2010

Tourism zone: demand to include Alappuzha

Project aims at improving infrastructure

Snake boat race to be held in the Kayamkulam Lake
Two houseboats of DTPC out of service

http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/21/stories/2010032152030300.htm

21 March 2010


Staff Reporter , ALAPPUZHA

The district administration has decided to push for inclusion of the district in the State's Special Tourism Zone (STZ) project proposed by the government.

An executive committee meeting of the District Tourism Promotion Council here on Saturday, citing C.K. Sadashivan MLA's question in the State Assembly regarding non-inclusion of Alappuzha in the zone, passed a resolution demanding that the district should be included in the project.

The present proposal of the Tourism Department has Munnar, Kumarakom, Fort Kochi and Kovalam as the composite areas of the STZ project.

However, Alappuzha, which records one of the highest tourist inflows in the State to its backwaters and houseboats, was not included in the first phase of the project, which aims at improving infrastructure in the selected areas. The DTPC resolution, Mr. Sadashivan told The Hindu, would ask the government to include Alappuzha at least in the second phase.

The DTPC meeting also decided to conduct a snake boat race in the Kayamkulam Lake on August 28. The race, which will eventually be made an annual event on every fourth Saturday of August, will be held on the lines of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, but will include the ‘palliyodam' category of boats, famous from the Aranmula Boat Race, as well.

Preparations are on for the event, Mr. Sadashivan said.

Training

The DTPC meeting has also called for a training programme under the aegis of the council, for the crew of houseboats, motorboats and ‘shikara' boats used for tourism purposes in the district. The training programme, prompted by the rising number of drowning accidents involving tourists, will impart rescue and first aid tips to the crew. A programme to train tourist guides too will be conducted.

Asset management

An executive committee meeting of the District Tourism Promotion Council here on Saturday witnessed severe criticism from people's representatives over the management of the council's assets and income, following which the DTPC has been asked to table details of its revenue and assets in the next meeting.

The meeting, chaired by District Collector P. Venugopal, saw people's representatives accusing officials of the DTPC of being hand in glove with the private lobby.

It was pointed out that the two houseboats owned and operated by the DTPC were now lying idle. While one was sunk near the Thottappally Spillway with no efforts at all to retrieve it, the second houseboat was docked for want of a licensed driver. Legislators alleged that no remedial measures were taken by the DTPC, allegedly to help private houseboat operators, following which the committee ruled that both houseboats would have to be made fit for operations from April 10.

The meeting also witnessed a furore over the collection of parking fee at the Alappuzha Beach by the council. Collector P. Venugopal; C.K. Sadashivan, A.A. Shukoor, P. Thilothaman and A.M. Arif, MLAs; and P.P. Chitharanjan, Municipal Chairman were present.