John L. Paul
Eight-storeyed building built at a cost of Rs.8.45 crores
KOCHI: Government-owned accommodation will reach an all-time high in Kochi with the additional guesthouse block readying for inauguration in February.
Located on the guesthouse complex in the heart of the city, the eight-storeyed building with all modern amenities was built at a cost of Rs.8.45 crores.
It has 44 rooms, covering an area of over 10,000 square metres. A separate building has been constructed to house electrical equipment and supporting systems of the building.
The demand for more rooms to house VVIPs and VIPs who visit Kochi has been raised since 1986. This was because the Tourism Department-owned Guest House had just six rooms. VVIPs, including heads of State, used to be accommodated in the building which overlooked the sea.
It was once the residence of the Diwan of Kochi and the building's central hall has portraits of the Diwans. The occupants could see ships arriving from afar.
Faced with acute shortage of rooms, the Government handed over 11 rooms of the nearby PWD rest house to the Tourism Department. The condition was that the rooms had to be handed over to the PWD once the Tourism Department got a new structure.
Once the additional guesthouse is ready, the Tourism Department will have 64 rooms in Kochi and the PWD-owned rest house will have 23 rooms, bringing the total number of rooms for VVIPs and VIPs in the city to 87. This includes 14 rooms in the Yatri Nivas.
Principal Secretary, Tourism, E.K. Bharat Bhushan said that the additional number of rooms would come in handy to accommodate VVIPs. "They are now put up in expensive star hotels. Members of the public too can use the rooms, based on Government norms," he said.
Four VVIP rooms
The top floor of the additional guesthouse will have four VVIP rooms for accommodating heads of State. There are both deluxe and ordinary rooms that face the sea. Some of the rooms have a balcony.
The atrium-styled building, which was designed by Chennai-based Gerzi Eastern Limited, has a boardroom to hold small conferences.
There is also a visitor's room, library, dining room, kitchen and banquet hall.
Electronic safety and security systems, including closed-circuit cameras and fire alarms have been installed.
The flooring comprises marble and granite. The building has an inbuilt sewage-treatment plant and a sump with the capacity to store one-lakh litres of water.
Regional joint director, Tourism, V.A. Aurangazeb said that a few temporary structures in the compound would be dismantled to pave way for car parking. Landscaping too would be carried out. An additional gate had been put to facilitate exit of vehicles.