The uninhabited Parunthuranji Island in the Periyar will soon come alive with visitors.

The isle is currently being used mainly as a grazing ground for cattle, many of which are taken there in boats when they are young. By the time their owners come to take them back, they would have grown up by feeding on the place's vegetation.

The District Tourism Promotion Council plans to introduce boating to the isle from Aluva. “We also plan a park and a walkway on the isle, where visitors from Aluva and neighbouring places can spend their evenings and weekends. All the constructions will be environment-friendly and will be carried out with the least disturbance to the isle's natural splendour,” said Shine K.S., the DTPC secretary. The project has been conceived by the Eco-Tourism Department and will help save the island from the hands of illegal sand-miners.

The place can be accessed from half a dozen boat jetties in the vicinity and the tickets to enter the park can be bought at Parunthuranji. The council hopes to raise mangroves and plant vetiver (ramacham) saplings, to add to the greenery and preserve the area's eco-system. Aluva MLA T.M. Yusuf is learnt to be taking a keen interest in the project.

The DTPC will spend Rs. 35 lakh in the first phase and the Forest Department's help will be sought for the eco-tourism initiative. Programmes have begun to create awareness among people about the need to preserve the area as a pristine one. Funds worth Rs 35 lakh will be spent in the second phase.

The Harithavanam (also called Kuttivanam) on the banks of the Periyar at Aluva too will come alive with the Aluva municipality planning to set up a boat jetty, children's park and stage. Pilgrim tourists too will benefit since it is close to the Sivarathri Manappuram. Entry to the area will be restricted through tickets so that the project would be a self-sustaining one.

The municipality also plans to establish a walkway and bathing ghat on the banks of the river at Kundalakadavu, on the lines of the Marine Drive walkway. This could also be given for shooting films to raise revenue. The Parunthuranji project has got administrative sanction and the last two projects have been tendered.

More In: Kochi