Two boats owned by the Forest Department in the Thekkady lake were provided with fitness certificate on Monday. The boat services will be restored from Tuesday onwards.

The fitness certificate was provided in the afternoon by an expert team consisting of chief surveyor K.P.Vindod, conservator P.K. Ashokan and marine engineer Maria Forens, after conducting the survey of the boats from the morning.

Periyar Tiger Reserve deputy director Sanjayan Kumar said that the formal test trip of the boats was conducted on Monday. The noral trips will start on Tuesday.

Though an expert team had provided fitness certificates to the boats owned by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) and the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department on October 11, the boats of the Forest Department were asked to complete repair works and adopt additional safety measures. The boats were fitted with more security measures, including lifebuoys, and had been waiting for official clearance for the past five days.

There was a heavy rush of tourists for the past few days in connection with the Deepavali season. The two boats, with a capacity of 40 and 45 persons, is expected to reduce the rush.

E.S. Bijimol MLA had brought the issue before Port Minister K. Babu and Forest Minister K.B. Ganeshkumar for speedy clearance of the fitness certificate, as the rate charged by the Forest Department is considerably less than that of the rate by KTDC which has four boats conducting tourism services in Thekkady.

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