Kerala: Shortage of funds delays renovation work at Marina
Marina, once the favourite place to berth their yachts for seafarers, today has hardly two or three yachts berthed at the facility.
KOCHI: For several years, India’s only international Marina, owned by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC), close to the international maritime route on the southwest coast of the Indian Peninsula, has been in a shoddy condition. Though the proposal for its renovation has been on the table for a while, nothing much has been taken on board except for the replacement of old wooden slacks that were damaged and posed a threat to the customers due to a shortage of funds.
“Not much renovation work has been carried out. The shortage of funds is delaying the major renovation work. Minor works, including the replacement of the damaged wooden planks, have been carried out,” said an official with KTDC.
“A major renovation project is under discussion. We are waiting for the administrative sanction to move ahead. Works such as strengthening the underwater pillars require huge funds. Once it is attained and funds are released from the government for the project, we will begin the renovation work,” the official added.
Marina, once the favourite place to berth their yachts for seafarers, today has hardly two or three yachts berthed at the facility. Built in 2010, Kochi International Marina is said to be capable of hosting up to 34 yachts. “The marina has huge potential and will attract more seafarers once it’s back in full swing. We are trying to work on it,” said a KTDC official.
Over the last two decades, Kochi has become a destination for luxury cruise liners and a major destination for sea-based adventure tourism. Experts in sailing and cruise tourism believe that if the facility is renovated and maintained well, there is huge potential for yacht tourism.
According to a source, apart from the renovation work, there must be an attempt to ensure that the three departments—Customs, Cochin Port Trust, and Immigration—work together when an international yacht approaches Kochi International Marina.
“One of the major problems faced by the seafarers is that they have to wait for several weeks to get clearance from these three departments to enter the region. As per the law, the clearance certificate is required for international travellers,” said a source. “The crew has often raised their concern that if all these three wings could inspect the yacht together, maybe they would have to wait for just a couple of days in the bay,” the source added.