Bid to promote cruise tourism to Kovalam

The 18.045-km Kovalam-Akkulam stretch of the Parvathy Puthanar passing through the capital district will be cleaned, dredged, and made navigable for cruise operations from the international airport to Kovalam, the beach tourism destination.

A high-level meeting convened by V.J. Kurien, Principal Secretary, Costal Shipping and Inland Navigation, here on Thursday to work out the modalities to develop the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport as a multi-modal hub, also asked the Irrigation Department to prepare an estimate for the work and submit it next month.

Mr. Kurien told The Hindu that those who participated in the meeting were keen on developing the world-class terminal of the airport as a multi-modal hub as it had the potential to offer connectivity by water, rail, and road. “Though many hurdles have to be overcome, the focus is to make the canal navigable with the existing width. We can do it and the attempt is to keep the canal clean for operating cruise vessels,” he said.

The Kerala Road Fund Board (KRFB), functioning under the PWD, which had been asked to conduct a feasibility study on the project mooted by Airport director V.N. Chandran, would take up the reconstruction of the bridges on the stretch so that the vessels would be able to move beneath it.

He said the Kerala Water Authority would take care of the sewerage.

The need to lay a sewerage line would be considered. The sewerage plant, to be commissioned in 45 days, would bring about a sea change, he said.

He said the District Collector had been asked to consider removal of encroachments as the width of the canal varied from 12 metres to 50 metres on the Kovalam side. The meeting also decided to take an estimate of the sand that would have to be removed from the canal.

The cleaning up of the water channel, which ran close to the world-class terminal complex of the airport on the city side, assumed significance in the wake of the announcement by Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal to start cruise tourism from the airport side to Kovalam.

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