Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTA: Kerala Congress (M) State general secretary Joseph M. Puthusserry, MLA, has said the government move to categorise the Uthrattathi Vallamkali (snake-boat pageantry and race) in river Pampa, at Aranmula, as a district-level event is highly deplorable.

In a statement issued here on Friday, Mr. Puthuserry said an extra-ordinary Kerala gazette notification, dated June 23, had announced the government’s intention to prepare certain uniform code and guidelines for the Vallamkali (boat race) taking place in different parts of the State.

The notification further stated that the proposal was to recognise the Nehru Trophy boat race in Alappuzha as the lone boat race of State-level importance, he added. The MLA said he had already written to Sports and Youth Affairs Secretary Tikaram Meena in this regard. According to Mr. Puthussery, the Aranmula snake-boat pageantry and race too had attained national and international fame over the years.

The Central Tourism Department had identified Aranmula as one of the two rural tourism destinations in the State for implementing the national rural tourism project, he said.

He said the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had accepted the Uthrittathi boat race and pageantry as a major cultural tourism attraction in the State.

Aranmula was also identified for implementing the Endogenous Tourism Project, jointly sponsored by the Government of India and the UNDP, three years ago, he said.

The UNDP had taken into consideration the cultural tourism potential of Uthrattathi Vallamkali, Aranmula Kannadi (metal mirror), Vallasadya (ritualistic feast), etc, he added.

The KC(M) leader alleged that the move to ‘degrade’ the event was politically motivated. The government should categorise Aranmula Vallamkali as a national tourism event in the larger interests of the State.