|Rivers and backwaters in Kannur and Kasaragod districts are all set to be connected to tap the cruise-tourism potential of the waterbodies-rich north Malabar region.|
The blueprint for what has been christened the Malanad-Malabar Cruise Tourism Project connecting the waterbodies between the Mayyazhi river in the southern border of Kannur district and the Chandragiri river in Kasaragod has already been drawn up as part of a master plan. A meeting of tourism officials and MLAs from the two districts convened by Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran in Thiruvananthapuram recently reviewed the project for implementation.
The waterbodies to be covered are Mayyazhi, Anjarakkandy, Valapattanam, Kuppam, Perumba, Thejaswini, Valiyaparamba, and Chandragiri rivers and backwaters. The meeting also decided to constitute a committee comprising MLAs, among others, to monitor the project, which includes development of basic amenities and tourism infrastructure.
“The basic idea of the project is proper utilisation of natural resources such as waterbodies in the region that have not yet been explored for attracting tourists,” said V. Venu, Principal Secretary, Tourism Department, who was present at the meeting.
He told The Hindu over phone that the master plan outlined an integrated approach that combined the waterbodies and other elements of tourism such as history, culture, arts, music, rituals, places of worship, and products, among others.
While the total outlay of the project is ₹300 crore, a detailed project report of works estimated at ₹100 crore will be submitted to the Central government for sanctioning of funds. The State government has already sanctioned ₹16 crore for the project.
An official press release briefing the decisions of the meeting said that a special officer would be appointed for the project. The Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies has been entrusted with the task of inculcating tourism awareness among local people and of setting up basic amenities for tourists. The meeting also decided to offer training for local tourism guides.
A hop-on hop-off boat service connecting tourist hotspots in the region would also be launched. A project for renovating the Sultan Canal that links inland navigation routes in the region has already been approved.
MLAs James Mathew, T.V. Rajesh, C. Krishnan, and M. Rajagopal and Tourism Director P. Bala Kiran were attended the meeting.