Prof. Thomas’ assumption of office as a minister at the Centre will give a boost to the revival of the Kumbalanghi Model Tourism Village project.
KOCHI: The little village on the city suburbs has got its smile back. Ever since the news broke that K.V. Thomas is going to assume office as Minister at the Centre on Thursday, the people at Kumbalanghi have been ecstatic.
This means revival of the Kumbalanghi Model Tourism Village project. Even though the project got off to a splendid start in 2003, making it the first model tourism village in the country, it lost steam a couple of years down the lane.
Homestays that came up during the upbeat phase continued to get customers.
New hotels have come up. But the village is left wanting for official support in having the infrastructure in place.
“Funds to the tune of Rs. 1 crore for setting up the Kalagramam lapsed as we failed to prepare the ground,” said M.P. Sivadathan, chairman of the Kumbalanghi Model Tourism Village Development Society.
Kalagramam, or the Artists’ Village, was one of the prominent components of the model tourism village project. It envisaged setting up a space for performing indigenous art forms and showcase traditional artefacts on a 4-acre island in the middle of the backwaters at Kallencheri, to be reclaimed using the sand dredged out of the backwaters spread over 14 acres.
According to the original proposal, the village was to house a handicrafts centre, a museum to preserve and exhibit traditional fishing equipment, an ethnic food court and an open-air theatre. The Artists’ Village was also to have a 1-km-long walkway along the banks of the backwaters.
Due to the lack of organisation involved in the process, the concept never took off. The same was the case of the park, which was part of the grand scheme to make the entrance point to the village attractive.
The space now lies in disarray. Various other components of the project, like installing bio-gas units for treating solid waste and other environmentally-sensitive measures, remain to be completed.
“We do hope that Thomas Mash gets the tourism portfolio. If he does, this is the best thing that can happen to Kumbalanghi,” said Mr. Sivadathan, even as he celebrates the news along with Mr. Thomas’ supporters at his residence.