KOCHI: When the Kadamakudy tourism project was conceived a couple of years ago, it was one of the most promising projects that would give a fillip to the tourism sector in Ernakulam district. However, the project has been waiting for green signal from the Local Self-Government Department for the past one year.
Kadamakudy panchayat comprises 14 islands located on the outskirts of Kochi city. The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), along with 21 stakeholders, including Kadamakudy grama panchayat, Tourism Department and the district administration had proposed a special purpose vehicle (SPV) modelled on the successful Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) to develop Kadamakudy islands as a hub of village tourism in the state. The infrastructure development project was formulated after considering the ecology of the area.
“For the past one year, the file has been caught in red tape at the Local Self-Government Department (LSGD). If the project is to materialise, 49 cents of government land has to be handed over to the Tourism Department. Till now the LSG Department has not given sanction for transferring the land which is vital for the project,” an official associated with the project said.
The project was presented to the government work committee which is authorised to sanction tourism projects. But it saw no further progress. “Earlier, to take up such projects, only the sanction of respective panchayats was required. But owing to amendments brought in the proceedings, the sanction has to be availed of from the LSG Department. A meeting in this regard will be held in Thiruvananthapuram in the coming days. We hope the meeting will take a positive decision on implementing the project,” an official said.
Ernakulam DTPC secretary S Vijayakumar said once they get sanction from the Local Self-Government Department, the project could be completed without further delay. “We are waiting for the sanction from the LSG Department to go ahead with the project. It is one of the priority projects of the DTPC,” he said.
When Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran visited Pizhala in Kadamakudy panchayat in January this year, he promised to speed up the procedures. However, nothing has changed in the past six months.
According to the proposal, the project can be completed in a year spending `5 crore. Once completed, visitors can park their vehicles at a plot close to the Container Road in Kochi. From the Container Road, visitors can take a tour of 14 islands using regular boat service. Visitors can spend their time in the islands enjoying the scenic beauty and taking part in a slew of activities like cooking, fishing and boat rides. There will be walkways connecting various pokkali farms spread across the islands.
Similarly, adventure activities, mangrove park, floating market, floating restaurant, cottages, amphitheatre and a watchtower will be constructed. There will also be a houseboat terminal which facilitates a cruise in the backwaters around the islands.
A mangrove trail is also part of the package. Floating boat jetties will also be built so that tourists can reach the islands easily. The project is expected to generate employment and income for the local residents.