A heaven brought down to earth, the tourist village rests on the thin hope of renovation and better amenities for visitors

Have been to Akkulam Tourist Village? You would make a quick about-turn.

The village, closed since last September, presents a sorry sight, all that can go wrong in the upkeep and renovation of a place of unmatched beauty. A perfect holiday spot, brought down to a shambles.

The tourist village and the adjoining boat club are mere shadows of what they were, perhaps, a decade ago, when tourists, mostly domestic, and the denizens of the city used to throng it to take in the shimmering sights of the Akkulam Lake and go on boat rides all the way to Veli Tourist Village.

Done to death

The tourist village is now undergoing renovation, with a promise of more facilities. And the boat club has been done to death, inch by inch, first by water hyacinths that encroached on the lake, rendering boat rides impossible, and then, by the delay in clearing the lake of its illegal occupants. This is the fifth year of the boat club’s “demise.” The Comptroller and Auditor General, in a report, has criticised the way the cleaning and regeneration of the lake has been taken up. Even that did not suffice to stir the contractors into action.

In June, the Water Resources Department served a notice on Travancore Cements Ltd., asking it to speed up dredging and clearing of weeds or get the contract cancelled. Nothing happened; the work drags on.

The roads towards the village have turned muddy, offering bumpy rollercoaster rides, courtesy the slow pace of work on re-laying them.

But the District Tourism Promotion Council says the renovation of the tourist village is progressing at a fast pace and it plans to reopen the spot to the public by Onam.

The council was sanctioned Rs. 1.33 crore for the work, out of which Rs. 90 lakh has been released.

The village is being turned into an “entertainment and leisure park,” O.T. Prakash, Secretary of the council, says.

Promises

An artificial waterfall, a renovated swimming pool, a restaurant, a pavilion to sit and view the lake, separate tracks for cycling enthusiasts and walkers, a children’s play area and a park are coming up, Mr. Prakash says.

A fresh lease of life for the boat club will have to wait till the lake is cleaned, he says. The boats have reached a point of no return. Funds have been sanctioned to buy new boats.

The tender process is on, he adds.

New boats or a new look for the tourist village will be of little value until the lake is cleaned and the roads are repaired.

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