Efforts would be made to launch fresh eco-tourism initiatives in the lush green forest tracts of Gavi nestling in the eastern part of the district, said Mr Adoor Prakash, Health Minister.

Mr Prakash was inaugurating the workshop on the tourism potential of Gavi, organized by the District Panchayat, District TourismjPromotion Council and Pathanamthitta Press Club, at the Town Hall here on Friday.

A comprehensive eco tourism development that suits very well with the fragile eco system and forest environs was what needed at Gavi, he said.

The Minister said he would explore the possibility of exploiting the eco-tourism potential of Gavi to the maximum possible extent and to link Gavi with various other ecotourism centres like Konni, Thenmala and Achenkovil in consultation with the Tourism Minister, A.P. Anilkumar and Forest Minister, K.B. Ganeshkumar. A creative intervention of both the Tourism and Forest department was what needed in developing Gavi as a major ecotourism spot in the district, he added.

Mr Anto Antony, MP, inaugurated the photo exhibition held as part of the workshop.

Babu George, District Panchayatpresident, presided the inaugural function. He said flaws in the planning process were found to have been creating many hurdles on the tourism development in the district.

Mr George stressed the need to ensure participation of local self-government institutions for tourism promotion in the district.

Mr R. Kamalahar, Divisional Forest Officer at Ranni, said there was nothing wrong in opening places situated in the Periyar Tiger Reserve as ecotourism spots with out disturbing the otherwise serene eco system there. Protection of tiger and other wild fauna should be made part of the eco-tourism project, he added.

Raju Abraham, MLA; Varghese Punnen, DTPC secretary; Sanu George Thomas, Press Club president; Biju Kurien, secretary; Sajith Parameswararn, former secretary, P.Vijayamma, District Panchayat vice-president; Haridas Edathitta, Robin Peter, members; V.K. Ravivarma Thampuran, Nidhish Chandran, P.S. Satheeshkumar, journalists and V.K. Rajagopal, environmentalist, addressed the workshop.

James Joseph, cine director, took a class on photography, later.

Photography awards

The District Panchayat has announced the results of the photography contests on `Gavi Tourism’ held for both still and video categories on Friday.

Mr Jayakrishnan Omalloor (Kerala Kaumudi), Leju Kamal (The Hindu) and Sajan V. Nambiar (Mathrubhumi) won the first second and third prize respectively in the still photography contest.

In the video category, Aji Pushkar (Manorama News), P.S. Satheeshkumar (ACV News) and P. Biju (MCV Adoor) won the first, second and third prize respectively.