Vallakadavu Boathouse to be renovated for the purpose

Over the past few decades, the regal structure of the Vallakadavu Boathouse has witnessed government officials from various departments inspecting it and devising grand plans for its restoration. And now, there is reason for hope. In the place of the abandoned building and the polluted water body will be the Kerala Biodiversity Museum by next year. The pool of water in front will be cleaned within a month.

The Kerala State Science and Technology Museum (KSSTM) prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) and submitted it for government sanction a month ago.

Experts and engineers with the KSSTM were involved in formulating a comprehensive plan that envisaged the strengthening of the ‘boat pura’ (boathouse) without disturbing its antique appearance. The building stands at the end of the Parvathy Puthanar, and the cleaning of the canal will take place only in front of the building until the arch marked by the Travancore royal insignia.

Oommen V. Oommen, chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) that proposed the project, said the Kerala State Nirmithi Kendra would be charged with the responsibility of clearing the pool of all the garbage and hyacinth that the canal is steeped in.

The section would first be cordoned off from the rest of the canal and the filth and water would be pumped out. The canal would then be dredged and levelled. The boundary would be bolstered so that water from beyond would not filter in.

Clear springs

“This has worked out well because when we inspected the site we found a number of fresh water streams running beside the boathouse. They are clear springs and we do not have to worry about refilling the canal or maintaining it,” he said.

Once completed, the water body would have a range of aquatic plants and fishes indigenous to the State. A walkway could also be constructed around to enable easy viewing.

“We had plans to name it the Natural History Museum first but then realised that it could be confused with the one on the Napier Museum premises,” said Dr. Oommen. Panels and visuals would be installed inside, highlighting the flora and fauna present in the ecologically sensitive regions of the Western Ghats.

An estimate of Rs.3.2 crore has been sought for the renovation and a part of it may only be allocated during the next financial year’s Budget. The KSBB will have to conduct another meeting with the District Tourism Promotion Council, the current custodian of the building, before proceeding with the plan.