KOLLAM: Better days are ahead for Vattakayal in the city, a freshwater lake facing the bane of encroachment.
Last week, a team from the Union Home Ministry inspected the lake for setting up a Home Ministry-funded National Water Sports Academy.
The team was led by Deputy Inspector-General of Police Mukesh Jain, who is also Director (Operations) of the National Water Sports Academy functioning under the Union Home Ministry. If cleared, the academy will be set up at a cost of Rs.300 crore.
The aim of the academy is to provide training in water events to the personnel of para-military forces. When the proposal came from the Home Ministry to the State government, Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts were opted for setting up the academy.
Though the team inspected Vellayani Lake in Thiruvananthapuram, it did not find it suitable. It was at the initiative of Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran and Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran that the team inspected Vattakayal.
Two other locations of Ashtamudi Lake, Kuthiramunambu and East Kallada, were inspected. Collector A. Shahjehan, who accompanied the team, said that the team was satisfied with the location of Vattakayal since it was found suitable to the requirements.
Mr. Shahjehan said that the requirements were 30 acres of freshwater body and 15 to 20 acres of land adjacent to it.
The land is for the construction of administrative blocks and other buildings as part of the training course. The team will submit its report to the Home Ministry this week, following which a decision is expected.
In addition to the academy, the district administration has submitted a Rs.2-crore project for constructing a fishermen’s park at Vattakayal.
The park is a scheme for protecting and developing the lake under the tsunami rehabilitation programme. The project in this connection was prepared by an architect based in Thiruvananthapuram.
The project involves dredging the lake wherever depth is less than four metres, removal of water hyacinth and moss, a four-km walkway around the lake, resting place for fishermen, car parking facilities, recreational facilities like pedal boats and an entrance arch to the project site.