KOCHI: The Indira Gandhi boat race will resume in Kochi after 16 years during this Onam. The snake-boat event, to be held at Marine Drive on September 11, has been included in the inaugural Champions Boat League (CBL) to be held at 12 locations in six districts.
The race will be held over 1.3 km, from the first Goshree bridge to Marine Drive boat jetty. The Tourism Department, which organises the race, will set up a temporary pavilion at Marine Drive.
The organisers will visit Marine Drive to evaluate the arrangements for the race. There’s also a proposal to develop a permanent venue in the coming year. Talks in this regard will be held with Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), which owns and maintains Marine Drive.
“Kochi has been missing the regatta and we’re bringing it back to its residents,” said District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) Secretary S Vijayakumar.
Meanwhile, Goshree Boat Club’s Stalin Benny said the Irrigation Department should remove silt in the Marine Drive backwaters.
“Either the Tourism Department or Irrigation Department should remove the silt before setting up the tracks. In fact, the area needs to be cleaned fully as people dump waste there in large quantities,” said Benny.
Piravom, the another venue of the CBL in the district, will host one leg on August 31. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Alappuzha on August 10 will double as the qualifier for the CBL, with the top nine teams taking part in the League.
Local clubs want small boats too
There is great excitement regarding the resumption of Indira Gandhi Boat Race in Kochi, but the local clubs are a bit disappointed that only snake boats are allowed to compete in it. “We’re certainly happy to see the event coming back to Kochi. However, it would’ve been great had the organisers included small-sized boats as well because some clubs in and around Kochi are on the verge of closure,” said Stalin.