The Union Tourism Ministry's offer to part-fund the Muziris project will give a boost to the conservation-cum-tourism initiative, Venu V., Secretary, Department of Tourism, has said.

Union Tourism Secretary Sujit Banerjee had late last week visited important heritage sites of the project and offered to allot Rs.50 crore for the Rs.160-crore project. Mr. Banerjee had visited the sites at the invitation of Mr. Venu. Earlier last week, Mr. Venu had made a presentation, highlighting the key project aspects and seeking financial support, before top Union government officials in New Delhi.

He said the Rs.50-crore aid would come from the Mega Destination Development Scheme of the Tourism Ministry. A formal decision on the aid was expected in a few days. The Tourism Ministry's financial commitment would also open up funding sources in other Union government ministries and agencies. The State government had sought Rs.75 crore from the Centre, but Rs.50 crore was the maximum possible under the mega destination scheme.

The State government has proposed to allot Rs.110 crore for the project. A Rs.7.5-crore aid has been allotted by the Financial Commission for building jetties along the project's waterway route.

Mr. Venu said the project, centred on the footprints of the ancient port located close to Kodungalloor, was a unique project in its conception and execution. It was a ‘project of convergence' in that it was a partnership of several government departments and agencies. It was a multidisciplinary project with the local people as stakeholders.

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