Kerala

Houseboats resume cruises in Alappuzha

After a three-month hiatus, houseboats and shikara boats resumed cruises on the backwaters of the district on Thursday.

The sector restarted operations, which came to a halt in May when the government declared a Statewide lockdown following the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, after the district administration granted permission to the boats to resume operations under strict conditions. An order in this regard was issued by District Collector A. Alexander on Wednesday.

15 boats on first day

M. Malin, secretary, District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC), said that at least 15 houseboats had conducted services on the first day of resumption of operations. “Only domestic tourists came for backwater cruises on Thursday. We are receiving a lot of enquiries and expect more tourist arrivals in the coming weeks,” Mr. Malin said.

Officials said that only those employees who had received both the doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were allowed to operate the boats. Tourists arriving in Alappuzha for backwater cruises should either produce a COVID-19- negative certificate after an RT-PCR test taken not more than 72 hours prior to their visit or a COVID-19 vaccination certificate of at least one dose.

The houseboats are allowed to operate from two houseboat terminals at the Punnamada Finishing Point and Pallathuruthy. Boarding passes are issued by the DTPC at both the terminals.

Shikara boats

Boarding passes for shikara boats are issued from the DTPC office in Alappuzha. “Vessels will not be allowed to operate without boarding passes. Besides, houseboats and shikara boats should be disinfected every day prior to conducting services. Houseboats should pay a user fee of ₹100 a day to the DTPC for disinfection. The fee for shikara boats is fixed at ₹20,” said an official.

Mr. Alexander directed the District Police Chief, DTPC Secretary, Tourism Deputy Director, and Alappuzha port officer to initiate action against those indulging in violations under the Disaster Management Act and the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Act.


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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 4:26:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/houseboats-resume-cruises-in-alappuzha/article35749831.ece

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