Container operators express difficulties in transporting it

The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation's move to shift a recently acquired 32-seater boat from the Raindrop boathouse at Mudaliarkuppam near here to Pykara in the Nilgiris has hit a hurdle, with transporters expressing difficulties.

According to officials, the decision was taken recently considering the lack of depth at entry and exit points of the 3.5-kilometre Buckingham Canal. While experts feel they require a depth of at least six feet of water, the available depth at the Mudaliarkuppam boat jetty is about five feet.

The nearest boathouse is at Muttukadu and that also is not deep enough to accommodate the boat. Muttukadu, just 30 km from Chennai, receives more visitors than Mudaliarkuppam.

The other alternative was to move it to Pykara.

Talking to The Hindu, tourism officials said though it was decided to buy two 32-seater boats, the TTDC purchased only one. It was commissioned by the Tourism Minister on January 12, 2012. About 40 trips were conducted from January till mid-March.

Having spent nearly Rs.16 lakh, the authorities decided to shift it to Pykara instead of keeping it idle. They also asked the staff to take the help of a boat manufacturer to expedite the transfer to take advantage of the summer season. The manufacturer has also expressed his inability to do so.

Officials at Pykara were shocked when container trailer operators said it would not be possible to bring the boat through the Mettupalayam route, which has several hairpin bends. The boat is 40 feet long, 13 feet wide and has a height of 10 feet. Hence, it would be moved to Pykara through the Mysore route.

“We wanted to take advantage of the summer season. But our hopes have dipped as the boat may not arrive here before June-end. The road connecting the Pykara boat house is narrow and it may it be difficult to move the boat to the entrance and to the jetty, which is about 200 feet down,” said a Pykara boat house official.

Of late, Pykara is competing with Udhagamandalam in attracting more visitors owing to factors such as the serene and pollution-free atmosphere, coupled with clean water. Pykara has several boats, including a 15-seater.

When contacted, a TTDC official said that they were trying their best to shift the boat at the earliest.