It seems the uncertainty over the restoration of Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi is over as the state government has appointed a committee headed by the Fort Kochi MLA to oversee the implementation of the project. The government issued an order in this regard on Wednesday.
Since the Chinese nets are regarded as an integral part of the state's rich heritage, the Tourism Department had shouldered the responsibility of the restoration work. In 2014, the state government sanctioned Rs 1.50 crore for renovating 13 Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi. However, the work could not be started due to non-availability of the high-quality wood for restructuring the net. The issue was sorted out recently after the Forest divisions in Kothamanagalam and Malayatoor agreed to provide high-quality timber required for the project, which is being implemented by KITCO.
However, the project failed to failed to take off as other than local artisans no reputed agency is familiar with the construction and repair of these ancient nets. The Tourism Department later approached the government for allotting the work to the Chinese Net Owners' Association. "The work has to allotted to local artisans without any tender procedures. To ensure the work is carried out properly, it was recommended that a committee had to be constituted to oversee the work," said an officer with the Tourism Department.
As per the order, the Joint Director of Kerala Tourism, Ernakulam, will be the convenor of the committee. Fort Kochi Sub-Collector, KITCO representative and member of Chinese Fishing Net Owners' Association are the members of the committee. The committee will also ensure that the implementation of the project will not cause any financial loss to the state.
"The committee will monitor the work carried out by the Chinese Fishing Net Owners' Association. The committee will pass the bills for the work. It should also conduct regular meetings and evaluate the work carried out," said K P Nandakumar, Joint Director, Kerala Tourism.