THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: To spice up the spirit of Onam, snake boat race or vallamkali will be organised in the format of Indian Premier League cricket. According to Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, hordes of domestic and foreign tourists are expected to throng the banks of the famed rivers this season to get a glimpse of the ancient water-sport during Onam.
The department has started arranging infrastructure facilities required for the smooth conduct of the event to be held in five districts - Kollam, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, and Thrissur, for which it has sought the help of sponsors.
Kerala Tourism secretary Rani George said the two-month long regatta will be held every weekend so as to ensure the participation of people from all walks of life. In case there is any major ceremonial traditional boat race scheduled for that day, the date of the League event would be re-arranged according to the convenience of the people in the locality, she said.
The introduction the event will enhance the quality and standard of the local boat races as it offers attractive prize money for the winners and ensures large-scale participation of the tourists for which the department would hold apromotional campaign both inside and outside the country, said Tourism Director P Bala Kiran.
Billed as the first-ever attempt in the history of the snake boat races in the state, the boat race league will bring major small and big boat races in the state - ranging from the Nehru Trophy boat race at Punnamada lake to President’s Trophy Boat Race in Kollam - under a single platform.
The two-month-long regatta will follow the IPL format in many counts like limiting the participation of oarsmen from other states or abroad to 25 per cent and making mandatory 75 per cent local participation. Besides, a series of league rounds, apart from the qualifying race, would be held to decide who will race in the finals etc.
Kerala Boat Race League will begin August 11 with the qualifying round of Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Alappuzha
The finals of the event will be the President’s Trophy Boat Race in Kollam on Nov 1
Nine top teams from the total 20 will be selected for the league round
The league rounds will be held in different venues in five districts which included Punnamada, Pulinkunnu, Kainakari, Karuvatta, Mavelikkara, Kayamkulam, Piravom, Poothotta, Kottappuram, Thazathangadi, Kallada and Kollam
75 per cent local participation (oarsmen) would be a must
Each team that qualifies for the league round will be given a sum of Rs 4 lakhs as a bonus.