Local body plans to woo sand mining workers to operate river trips

Many workers are struggling to find jobs with restrictions imposed on mining

The district panchayat’s decision to enlist the participation of sand mining workers and their families in its upcoming river tourism promotion projects has kindled fresh hopes among hundreds of jobless labourers. Many of them have been struggling to find alternative jobs with the restrictions imposed on river sand mining by the local bodies in view of environmental issues.

The plan of the district panchayat is to encourage the entry of such workers into the domestic tourism sector and explore the scope of operating sightseeing trips using their boats through the Chaliyar and Iruvazhinji rivers. Many boats earlier used for sand collection now remain idle on the river banks, which can be used for tourism purpose after getting approval from the government departments concerned.

There is also a proposal to use the houses of interested labourers as homestays for tourists. Many of such houses have amazing views of the river and are set amid scenic surroundings, which will attract national or international sightseers.

As of now, only a few private entrepreneurs are exploring the scope of such homestay services along the rivers.

District panchayat president Babu Parassery, who recently conducted a boat trip along with other panchayat members for assessing the development potential, said that about 20-km distance of the Chaliyar and Iruvazhinji rivers could be explored for tourism purposes if the sand mining labourers were willing to cooperate with the proposal. They could even serve homemade delicacies to tourists as a means of generating additional revenue along with the boat trips, he added.

According to Mr. Babu, the local bodies, Tourism Department and local investors could do a lot to support the project in their own way and come up with more attractive ventures. It could even be linked to other eco-tourism projects in Kozhikode district and generate good income for local entrepreneurs, he added.

The entry of sand mining labourers to the tourism sector is also expected to create a safer environment for those who wish to go for river trips. The labourers have several years of experience in manoeuvring boats and are well aware of risky stretches in the river. They are also experts in rescue operations.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:21:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/local-body-plans-to-woo-sand-mining-workers-to-operate-river-trips/article30831849.ece

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