Vagamon (Idukki): Kerala’s tourism merits major projects encompassing its major locations that must have enhanced facilities and scope for longer stay, said K J Alphons, Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), here the other day.
Given that God’s Own Country is among the country’s top tourism destinations, the State should focus on projects that sustain the segment, he said after inaugurating the Pathanamthitta-Gavi-Vagamon-Thekkady (PGVT) Ecotourism Circuit under the Union Government’s Swadesh Darshan Scheme that supports communities, provides employment and fosters social integration while preserving ecology.
“Each such tourism spot must have all necessary amenities. They should prompt the tourist to stay there for at least 10 days,” he said. “The Union Government is extending all cooperation to improving Kerala’s tourism,” he added.
M M Mani, Kerala Power Minister, presiding over the function, said the State was duty-bound to implement any Central project under its area. “There is nothing like a Central project and a State project in tourism; we don’t believe in such differentiation,” he said. “We (Kerala Government) are looking forward to the Centre’s approval for more tourism projects in Kerala,” he said.
Commenting on the project, Kadakampally Surendran, State Tourism Minister, said Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts have vast tourism potential, which can be a vital factor in firmly positioning Kerala on the international ecotourism map. “The development of this ecotourism circuit will considerably improve tourism amenities in the area”, Surendran said in Thiruvananthapuram.
P Bala Kiran IAS, Director, Kerala Tourism, welcomed the gathering. Other speakers included Joice George MP, E S Bijimol MLA, top tourism officials of both the State and the Centre and leaders of various political parties.
The Centre has allotted Kerala six projects under the scheme that began in 2014-15. Of the Rs. 503.82 crore earmarked, the State has received Rs. 153.67 crore. Kerala has begun work on three tourism circuits, with the PGVT circuit being allotted Rs 76.55 crore.
The projects are being developed by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation and implement by central PSU Hindustan Prefab, State Public Works Department, Kerala State Electricity Board and Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation.
The PGVT circuit, linking Kerala’s south-east hill districts of Pathanamthitta and Idukki, had earned permission to start work in December 2015.