THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Union Ministry of Tourism has announced Rs 85.23 crore assistance for developing a spiritual tourism circuit which will cover 133 places of worship in the state. The shrines belonging to different faiths were selected from all the 14 districts.
“The destinations were chosen after considering their historic, cultural and religious significance. This is the sixth project to be sanctioned for the state under the Swadesh Darshan scheme,” said Union Minister of State(MoS) for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam.
Under this, annadana mandapam, community hall, multipurpose hall, toilets, cafeteria, parking space, landscaping, pathways, illumination of the campus and signage will be ensured at the destinations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the Sree Padmanabhaswami temple here on Monday at 7.20 p.m. He will dedicate the amenities developed at the temple as part of the Swadesh Darshan scheme, with 95 per cent of the project works completed, Kannanthanam said.
The Centre has sanctioned a total of Rs 550 crore to Kerala under the Swadesh Darshan and Prasad schemes. There are six projects under Swadesh Darshan and one under the Prasad scheme, with Rs 175 crore sanctioned so far.
Kannanthanam says state govt can’t blame floods
Union Minister of State(MoS) for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam said the state government cannot blame the floods for non-implementation of the Rs 99.99 crore project for Sabarimala, Erumeli and Pampa under the Swadesh Darshan project. “The first instalment was sanctioned two years ago. The state is yet to submit details of utilising the first instalment. The second instalment can be sanctioned only after receiving it,” he said.
40 million tourists by 2026
The country has set a target of 40 million tourists annually by 2026. Kannathanam said he wanted to see Kerala improving its position as a must-visit destination. “I’m not satisfied with Kerala’s positioning. Nearby Tamil Nadu leads the country in terms of domestic tourist arrivals while occupying the third spot in foreign tourist arrivals. Kerala’s ranking is 16 and 8, respectively,” he said.
Kannanthanam said the Centre is giving wide publicity for Kerala to tide over the post-flood crisis. There is a shortage of about 18.50 pc in tourist arrivals to the state. “Many people outside are under the impression that Kerala’s tourism destinations are yet to recover from the havoc caused by the deluge.
“The Tourism Ministry and myself are using every opportunity to convince tourists Kerala’s tourism sector is back to normal well and truly,” he said.
‘Party to take call’
Kannanthanam said the BJP brass will decide on his candidature in the Lok Sabha polls. “The BJP has grown closer to the people of Kerala. It will be much more than the party opening its account in the LS polls from the state,” he said.