Development project drags on, Kovalam’s wait for redemption continues
No. of footfall declines season after season owing to sea erosion and lack of infrastructure
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kovalam beach’s wait for redemption continues as the ambitious development project aimed at restoring the glory of the district’s iconic tourist spot drags on. The delay in developing the destination, frequented by people from across the globe, is hurting its potential. The number of footfall has been on the decline season after season owing to sea erosion and lack of infrastructure.
The tourism department conceived the project, aimed at giving a makeover to the beach, in 2021. The government sanctioned `93 crore for the project two years later, in February this year. The department had roped in WAPCOS as the special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the project.
Sources said the project will face cost escalation owing to the addition of a clause and changes proposed by the KIIFB (Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board) - the funding agency.
“KIIFB has proposed adding a 12-year operation and maintenance contract in the proposal. The project has received administrative sanction. However, there is now cost escalation which the government has to approve,” said a source.
The project envisages the overall development of the beach and upgrading its status. The plan is to implement the project in two phases that focus on the renovation of Kovalam and adjacent beaches and ensure their protection.
“KIIFB is vetting the project and its terms and conditions. Once they green light it, we will initiate steps to float the tender,” said an official.
Proper pathways, waste management, shifting of cables into underground ducts, setting up changing rooms, introducing hybrid lighting and organising local trade fairs have been planned as part of the project.
The government has appointed the district collector as the nodal officer for facilitating the implementation. The department is also planning to acquire land to set up more amenities for tourists. Besides infrastructure development, the project also proposes extensive development of the Adimalathura and IB Beaches in the second phase. “In the first phase, we will be marking the boundaries of the beaches,” said the official.