Stuck in rut

Akkulam tourist village phase II project struggles to reach the finish line due to lackadaisical attitude of the government

Published: 09th February 2018 10:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2018 03:09 AM   |  A+A-

Boats seen anchored near Akkulam tourist village after boating was discontinued due to large accumulation of water hyacinth  Kaviyoor Santhosh

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The meaning of the word facelift has changed thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities entrusted with the development of Akkulam tourist village. The proposals which were announced to provide stimulus to the region are moving ahead on a sluggish pace.One such proposal was the start of the boating service at the lake. The much-hyped boating service was restarted last year as a part of giving impetus to the tourism in Akkulam region considering the development of the area following the expansion of Technopark. 

However, the unchecked proliferation of water hyacinth in the lake brought the boating service to halt. Though the government began renovation work after clearing the weed, the project gradually lost steam and is now a picture of neglect.The project was launched with much fanfare in September last year by the Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran. The government had also proposed to begin the second phase of Akkulam tourist village project with an aim to turn the destination into one that keeps up to the international standards. But sources said renovation works, which were being done as part of the project, is now moving at a snail’s pace. 

Workers cleaning and weeding the walkway at the proposed tourism village on Friday

The Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS) had been entrusted with the setting up of the recreational facilities at the village. An agreement to this effect had been drawn up with the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC). Though the works had begun a few months ago, the project at present lies in limbo. Sources said the renovation works slowed down due to the financial crunch being faced by the government. Though the government had earlier decided to source funds for the project worth Rs 4.93 crore from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), no positive tidings have come forth till date.

As far as the re-launch of boating in the lake is concerned, the officials with the DTPC and the Tourism Department are at yet to reach a consensus.When T’Puram Express contacted DTPC authorities, they refused to divulge anything and said the whole project is being supervised by the Tourism Directorate. 
“We are not aware of such a project. If there is one, then it is being supervised by the Tourism Department and not DTPC. So it would be right to speak to them,” a top officer of DTPC said. 

P Balakiran, director of Kerala Tourism said he needs to check the status of the project.  “Boating is an entirely different project and has nothing to do with the Akkulam village project. However, we will look into the issue soon,” he said.  Meanwhile, he expressed satisfaction on the progress of the Akkulam village project. “The project has not encountered any obstacles so far. The development works are underway,” Balakiran said. Akkulam Destination Management Council, chaired by the Tourism Minister, is overseeing the cleaning up of the lake. When ‘T’Puram Express’ contacted the officers, they were not available for a comment.  

Earlier, the government had directed Travancore Cements Ltd to dredge the lake. A breakwater was also proposed to prevent seepage of wastewater and sewerage from upstream into the lake. Earlier DTPC had been asked to complete the adventure tourism projects by March 2017 and the work under the master plan by August 2017.

Proposed facilities for tourist village phase II 
A digital music fountain, cricket bowling pitch, amphitheater, cycle track, winch transportation to the hilltop, art installations, artificial waterfalls and pavilion of the swimming pool, restoration of a pond below the hilltop with bowl boats and recreational space atop the hilltop. New multi-play equipment for children’s park, a restaurant,  an office block, and a pavilion at the entrance will also come upon the village.  A meditation and yoga center has also been proposed. 

Project Status
The workers are presently weeding out the undergrowth on the land at the project site.  

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