THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Though the influx of domestic tourists to Kovalam has increased in the past months, authorities have turned a blind eye towards the development of basic amenities at Eve and Lighthouse beaches. The single tiled walkway is broken at many places due to frequent sea attacks. Lack of clean public toilets for tourists and lighting facilities add to the problems. Lighthouse beach has not been reopened yet for public use.
Social media is buzzing with negative reviews from visitors. “There are no dustbins, toilets or ATMs on the beachside. Incidentally, many restaurants and shacks don’t receive credit or debit cards for digital payments and they need only cash. Above all, the beach looks dirty and there is no periodical cleaning taking place,” says one of the reviews.
“Compared to Kovalam, more tourists prefer Varkala now, due to the bad infrastructure. Kovalam badly needs a facelift. Otherwise, this beach will disappear from the world tourist map soon”, says Senthil Kumar, a restaurant owner on Lighthouse beach.
Revival project enters deadlock
In 2019, the tourism department launched a project worth Rs 20 crore for the beautification and development of the defunct Samudra, Eve’s, Sea Rock and LightHouse beaches. As per the project, the government had assured that the Samudra beach area will be developed into a vibrant beach park. The authorities planned for a Rs 10 crore worth project which could transform the beach by adding a slew of facilities including viewing deck, water hammering deck, roller skating rinks, and stone mandapams of various sizes. The project had also included setting up toilet complexes, changing rooms, open-air theatre and multi-level car parking facilities.
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran had promised project completion in two years. Development of Eve’s beach, Sea Rock Beach and Lighthouse Beach included walkways of 13 feet width and 400-meter length, laser show facility and tripods for coastal safety. However, nothing has been materialised yet. Meanwhile, a senior official of the Tourism department told TNIE that the government had renovated the walkway and lights in 2019 as part of the first step and it was delayed only due to the pandemic. “The pandemic and frequent sea erosion had delayed the beautification. The works will begin after the elections,”the official said.