Kovalam, Edakkal rocks, Ponmudi, and Varkala

A Rs.15-crore drinking-water scheme for Kovalam, beautification of the Edakkal rocks, four-star guest house and a tourist amenity centre at Ponmudi, edutainment-cum-leisure enclave at Akkulam tourist village, and beautification of the helipad area at Varkala are the highlights of Kerala Tourism's “Destination Development Initiatives” for major tourist spots in the capital district.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Thursday, Minister for Tourism A.P. Anil Kumar said the drinking-water scheme at the famed beach destination of Kovalam had been entrusted to the Kerala Water Authority. The department had initiated measures to make the beach garbage-free and the biogas plant, being set up at a cost of Rs.1.18 crore by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), was towards achieving this goal.

Edakkal, a rocky promontory that extends over one acre and a half, between the Light House and the Eve's beach at Kovalam, was to be beautified at a cost of Rs.49 lakh, he said. Bio-fencing using pandanus, bamboo check-posts, eco-sensitive lighting, a rock- garden, and rock furniture and a light-house-model building for life guards would be constructed at Edakkal as part of the project.

Both sides of the NH bypass from the international airport to the beach will be cleaned and beautified by Kerala Tourism. The roads leading from Kovalam to the Samudra beach resort will be beautified and facilities in the parking area will be enhanced.

Rs.4-crore facility

“A four-star guest house is to come up on the 40 cents of land where the dilapidated government guest house is located at the hill station of Ponmudi. The Rs.4-crore guest house will have 24 rooms and will have all modern facilities, including a banquet hall and a board room. The children's park on the location will be refurbished,” the Minsiter said.

Mr. Anil Kumar said a tourist amenity centre would be set up at the upper sanatorium of the hill station. Besides an interpretation centre, toilet facility, relaxation centre, and a dining facility, it would also have a rain shelter. The Minister said the Rs.49-lakh centre would be constructed without affecting the beauty of the area and by using eco-friendly materials like bamboo.

In Varkala that had emerged as a favourite place of the tan-seekers, the beautification of the helipad area would be taken up at a cost of Rs.1.36 crore. Tensile structures, seating arrangements for tourists, e-toilets, and an open-air theatre that can seat 200 people would be built.

He added that boat service from Kappil, further north of Varkala, to Hariharapuram would be introduced for the benefit of tourists. Arivalam and Rathikkal, seaside tourist spots, would be developed as part of the destination development plan.

An “edutainment-cum-leisure enclave” was to be set up in 2.5 acres of land atop the hillock in the Akkulam tourist village. An activity zone, creative zone, workshops, skill game arcade, fun zone, indoor golf simulator, and a LED dance floor would come up in the enclave in stages. A 2.5-m wide walkway, a cycle track and four electronics skill games area would be set up, the Minister said. The first phase would cost Rs.1.34 crore and the second Rs.2.15 crore. Besides, the water falls, musical fountain, and the swimming pool at the village would be renovated.

To a query, the Minister said the Irrigation Department was going ahead with the plan to remove the water weeds from the Akkulam lake and to make it navigable for operating cruise boats. All the projects announced for the capital district would be completed on a time-bound manner, he added.