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Kerala eyes river cruise tourism

V. Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 11, 2018

The stretch in National Waterways No:3 between Kottappuram-Kollam would reduce the construction time of the project, as this 205 km portion has already started witnessing cargo movements in barges. - Photo: T.E. Raja Simhan

Chief Minister to personally supervise the project to make it a reality within three years



Focusing on high spending tourists, the Kerala Government is envisaging a ‘River Cruise Tourism’ project on the models of Nile Cruise by developing the 450-km inland waterways from Hozdurg in the North to Kovalam in the South.

Cochin International Airport Ltd has been entrusted to execute the project by forming a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), in which both government and CIAL each will be holding 49 per cent stake and the remaining 2 per cent will be given to private stakeholders.

First step

A senior official in CIAL told BusinessLine that they are in the process of starting a survey for which tenders have been issued. Asked on the investment for the project, he said “it is too early to say. It could be evaluated only after completing the survey. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is personally supervising the project to make it a reality within three years”, the official said.

However, implementation of the project involves land acquisitions, construction of new canals, reworking of existing canals etc, so as to provide 20 feet depth and 70 feet width for the waterways. The major challenges are constructing new canal in the 26 km uncut portion in northern Kerala in the Kannur-Kasargod stretch, construction of 52 new bridges and widening of two tunnels at Varkala.

The active navigable stretch in National Waterways No:3 between Kottappuram-Kollam would definitely reduce the construction time of the entire project, as this 205 km portion has already started witnessing cargo movements in barges.

Slow tourism

The idea is to promote the concept of a “slow tourism” where the tourists can spend more days to complete the circuit. There are plans to deploy premium and Non premium boats. Since the proposed waterway is connecting 11 districts, there will be facilitation centres in every 25 km where the tourist can hop off and hop on at any stations to enjoy the geo-cultural theme based art forms, culture and cuisine of respective regions hitherto unexplored especially in North Kerala.

Besides developing tourist destinations, the waterway project will help generate job opportunities for locals, the official added.

Published on July 16, 2017

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