S. Anil Radhakrishnan
My Village, Tourism Friendly Village' scheme soonVenture of Kerala Tourism, LSG Department.
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Tourism has worked out a scheme to partner with local self-government institutions to ensure active participation of people at the grassroots level in the planning and implementation of tourism projects in the State.
The scheme will end the practice of depending on the district tourism promotion councils for developing places of interest as tourist destinations and tourism promotion.
The "My Village, A Tourism Friendly Village" scheme envisages taking up tourism projects and providing financial support for them on a priority basis, a senior Kerala Tourism official told The Hindu .
With this, development of tourism, now State-controlled, will be decentralised.
Potential of the 1,214 local bodies for creating employment opportunities, bringing income to the local population, assisting in social development and building quality infrastructure is the reason for partnering with them.
The scheme aims at developing attractive centres, products and activities within villages, which are beneficial to the local people and tourists, with the support of the local bodies. The local bodies will be eligible for only one project a year, he said.
The financial support to be extended will be half the project cost, subject to a maximum of Rs. 10 lakh. Arrangements for proper waste disposal and sanitation at the tourist centre by the local body will be a prerequisite for considering the project. The implementation agency will be the local body, but the project will be a joint venture of Kerala Tourism and the Local Self-Government Department.
The official said 80 per cent of Kerala Tourism's share of the funds would be given on sanctioning the project and the balance on completion.
The proposal is to take up the scheme in phases and cover at least 25 per cent of the local bodies in five years. Fifty projects will be taken up with an average spending of Rs. 5 lakh this financial year. The financial requirement this year is estimated at Rs. 2.5 crore, the official said.