If the words of authorities are anything to go by, the Chinese nets - the icon of Kochi- will have a facelift by next month.
A government project to retain the charm of iconic Chinese nets by providing teakwood posts to fishermen to construct the frames of the nets, will to be realised in April, according to Dominic Presentation MLA.
Due to high cost and non-availability of wood, the fishermen were finding it difficult to replace the damaged posts of the net. Dearth of wooden posts prompted them to use iron post which marred the beauty of the ‘cheenavalas’.
“Teakwood poles will be allotted to fishermen under a project formulated by the Department of Tourism. The project is being implemented in association with the Department of Forests,” said Dominic Presentation MLA
He admitted that there was a delay in realising the project. “The project is being implemented through Cochin Cultural Heritage Society. Earlier, there was a delay in reconstituting the Society. By the time its reconstituted, the secretary to Department of Culture, who is the chairman of the society, had to retire this month. This was the reason for the delay,” MLA said.
He added the teakwood posts are expected to be distributed once a new secretary to Cultural Department assumes office. There is no other roadblock,” he said.
The Chinese fishing nets with their large size, elegant construction and rhythm of operation has become one of the major tourist attractions of Kochi. Distribution of teak wood poles is a highlight of the tourism project being implemented for Fort Kochi and Fort Vypeen.
Usually, the poles of teak wood are used to install Chinese nets. Even as they are a tourist attraction, the Chinese nets are means of livelihood for many. Most of them are not able to meet the huge price of teak poles which prompt them to replace the old wooden poles with iron rods.
The iron rods are not capable of resisting the saline water and starts corroding. There had been incidents of iron rods breaking into pieces, creating problems for fishermen.