Kerala is aiming at initiation of tourism projects worth a staggering total of Rs.450 crore across the State this fiscal year itself, Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said.
Inaugurating a Beach Tourism project under the Tsunami Rehabilitation Programme (TRP) at Andhakaranazhi near Cherthala here on Saturday, Mr. Balakrishnan said these projects would include both State and Centrally-sponsored schemes, all of which would aim at enhancing the tourism potential and related infrastructure of the State without causing any harm to the environment.
A Rs.50 crore mega tourism project for Alappuzha district, the ‘Alappuzha Tourism Circuit’project, was awaiting funds from the Centre, he said, adding that the entire sum of Rs.100 crore sanctioned from tsunami rehabilitation funds for the Tourism department was being spent to uplift the coastal area and the fisheries sector.
Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran, launching the distribution of financial assistance for construction of houses under the TRP, said the State was aiming at completion of all tsunami rehabilitation programmes by December this year, though the deadline stipulated by the Centre was March 31, 2010. The Government had no doubts over whether it would be able to complete the projects and had already invited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to announce completion of the projects later, he said.
Pointing out that the Centre had commended the State’s progress in tsunami rehabilitation in its nine coastal districts, Mr. Rajendran said the Central Planning Commission had even recommended to other States the Kerala model in certain tsunami rehabilitation projects.
Announcing the setting up of five life science parks in coastal schools in Alappuzha, Mr. Rajendran added that the Centre had approved a Rs.400 crore-project to set up permanent calamity relief centres in the State, at least eight of which would be in Alappuzha.
Fisheries Minister S. Sarma laid the foundation stone for two bridges in Andhakaranazhi, a tiny but picturesque fishing village that lost three of its occupants to the December 2004 tsunami. K.C. Venugopal,
MP, delivered the keynote address. District Collector Mini Antony, District Panchayat president R. Nazar, CPI (M) district secretary and District Cooperative Bank president C.B. Chandrababu, and A.M. Arif,
MLA, also spoke.