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Saturday, 04 March, 2017, 16 : 00 PM [IST]

Kerala Budget earmarks INR 120 cr for infrastructure development at tourist destinations

Govt. to acquire 5 acres for permanent biennale venue at Fort Kochi
The annual budget for Kerala for 2017-18 presented by State Finance Minister, Thomas Issac today in the State Assembly proposed a major allocation of INR 120 cr for infrastructure development at tourism destinations in the State. The government will also spend INR 75 cr for tourism marketing activities in the coming financial year.

Presenting the budget, Dr Issac said, “Tourism development lies in the marketing of our natural beauty and heritage as effective tourism products. Therefore, the major portion of the outlay, ie, INR 75 crore has been earmarked for marketing.”

Mentioning Muziris Heritage Project and other heritage projects proposed in the last budget like Alappuzha and Thalassery, as “important tourism projects”, the Finance Minister allocated INR 40 cr for these projects. The main component of Alappuzha heritage project is the renovation of canals.

A master plan for this is being prepared with Dutch technological collaboration. Not only the main canals, but small canals and estuaries will be cleaned and protected as part of this project. The main components of the master plan will be funded through Kerala Infrastructure Infrastructure Fund Board ( KIIFB). The first two museums in Alappuzha will be completed in 2017-18. They are the Thomas Norton’s Memorial and Coir museum. An amount of INR10 crore is specially earmarked for this purpose. The District Court in Thalassery will be undertaken in Heritage Protection Network.

An amount of INR 400 crore has been earmarked in the last budget from KIIFB for the development of infrastructure facilities in the tourism destinations at Dharmadam-Muzhippilangadu, KannurFort, Arakkal palace, Karappuzha-Wayanad, Chethi-Mararikkulam, Thrissur-Guruvayoor-Paliyoor circuit, Akkulam, Ponnani and Ponmudi. The detailed project reports are being prepared for these projects. An amount of INR 80 crore has been provided in the current year’s plan for the infrastructure development of the tourist destinations at Kovalam, Kumarakam, Thekkady, Munnar, Fort Kochi, Athirappally, Wayanad, Varkala, Neyyar, Ashtamudi, Thenmala, Sabarimala, Vembanad, Vagamon, Cherai, Peechi, Guruvayur, Malambuzha, Nelliyampathi, Nila, Nilambur, Kappad,Irinjal and Thusharagiri and INR 40 crore for the other minor destinations. Pathiramanal Eco Tourism Project will be rejuvenated, the Budget says.

A master plan will be formulated for the development of tourism by linking the backwaters and rivers in Malabar.

With Kochi Biennale getting lot of international attention for Kochi and Kerala, the Finance Minister has proposed a Budget allocation of INR 2 cr for Kochi Biennale. The government will acquire 5 acres of land including the Aspinwall House and Cabral Yard in Fort Kochi to convert them into permanent venue for the biennale. The government will also acquire Aspinwall factory in Alappuzha from the Trivandrum Royal family and set up a culture complex with KIIFB investment of INR100 cr.

There were many proposals which indirectly support Tourism promotion and development in the Budget. The Finance Minister proposed to restructure Hydel Tourism Centre and make it a subsidiary company of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). In order to promote tourism around the water bodies in the State, the budget has proposed various measures including Passenger Tourist Water Taxi Services in Alappuzha, Kumarakom, Ernakulam, Ashtamudi, etc.
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