Inauguration on June 2; Fishermen say project will affect their livelihood

The tourism industry, especially the houseboat industry, is welcoming the launch of the first seaplane service in Alappuzha on June 2 even as the fishermen are protesting against the project, which they allege will affect their livelihood.

All Kerala Houseboat Owners Association general secretary N. Sreekumar says the tourism industry welcomes the launch because it will be an added attraction to the State tourism sector.

“Certainly, it will boost the State tourism sector and is a positive development for Alappuzha. There is also a great opportunity for exploiting the possibilities of water sports in Alappuzha,” he says.

The seaplane, which arrived in Kochi on Thursday, will be taken to Kollam and a trial run is expected to be conducted on Friday or Saturday. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate the first service from Ashtamudi in Kollam on June 2.

The seaplane project, which was showcased at the Emerging Kerala Global Connect meet, had attracted many companies last year. District Tourism Promotion Council secretary C. Pradeep claims the project will definitely boost the tourism sector in Alappuzha.

Even though the authorities have made it clear that the seaplane services will be operated only during day time and there will not be refuelling or maintenance of planes in the lakes,the opposition to the project is gathering momentum among the environmentalists and fishermen organisations.

‘Vested interests’

The fisheries coordination committee points out in a release that the hastiness with which the project is being launched by ignoring fishermen organisations’ demand for appointing an expert committee to study the project shows that there are ‘vested interests’ behind it. The organisations wanted the expert committee to study the impact of the project on environment and the fisheries sector. The release says that the committee leaders had travelled along the lake to see the works for the seaplane project in the Vembanad lake.

The release claims that the leaders are convinced that hundreds of acres of lake areas have been earmarked for the project.

“Many of the fishermen and clam collectors along the lake whom we saw during our travel complained to us of the loss of livelihood,” the leaders say in the release.

The committee leaders say that a protest will be staged on the inaugural day of the project. Matsya Thozhilali Federation (AITUC) State president T.J. Anjalose, and Matsya Thozhilali Federation (CITU) State secretary, P.P. Chitaranjan led the leaders who visited the seaplane project areas.

  • Chief Minister to inaugurate service from Ashtamudi

  • Fishermen to stage protest on the inaugural day