Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy said that the Tourism Minister has been asked to conduct a feasibility study on the possibility of setting up a laser show at Punnamada finishing point for the benefit of tourists during the famous Nehru Trophy Boat Race.

The Chief Minister was inaugurating the construction works for the VIP Pavilion in connection with the Nehru Trophy Boat Race at the Finishing Point here on Sunday. Mr. Chandy said that the MP of the area and Union Minister of State for Power, K.C.Venugopal had requested for the laser show. Though the Government was convinced of the importance of this modern communication technology,it will have to assess its feasibility since it entails additional financial burden.

A total of three construction works worth Rs 15 crore has started now at Punnamada. He said that Mr.Venugopal had also raised a demand of a bridge from Punnamada Finishing Point to VIP Pavilion.The cost of this bridge is estimated at Rs 5 crore. State Tourism Department will take up this work, he said.

Mr.Venugopal inaugurated the renovation and beautification activities to be undertaken at the Punnamada Finishing Point. He said that the present facilities at Punnamada will be upgraded with an aim to attract foreign tourists. He suggested that the bridge to be constructed should be referred as `Gateway to backwater tourism' and the sculptural beauty of the bridge should itself attract tourists to the spot.

He said that backwater tourism and houseboats alone are the main attractions of the tourists now flocking to Alappuzha. Apart from this, arrangements should be made to make them stay and enjoy other tourist attractions. This will increase the business of the land and open more employment opportunities.

He said that the laser show now in places like Dubai and Singapore has immense possibilities in Alappuzha and by setting up this facility, tourists could be attracted, he said.

Tourism Minister, A.P.Anil Kumar presided over the function. He said that this is the beginning of the second phase of tourism development of Alappuzha and Punnamada could be transformed into the `Gateway of tourism'.

He said that a total of Rs 50 crore has been sanctioned for the backwater mega tourism project submitted by the State Government to Centre. The amount will be received in June.

He said that a night halting centre will be set up to avoid situations house boats not operating beyond 6 p.m. Thus, tourists could enjoy the beauty of backwaters even during night, he said.

He said that the statue of Jawaharlal Nehru will be completed before this year's Nehru Trophy Boat Race. Funds have been allotted for ensuring this, he said. The tourism department will directly put in place publicity for the Boat Race at the international level.

T.M. Thomas Issac, MLA inaugurated the construction of boat museum. G. Sudhakaran, MLA was the chief guest.