Infrastructure for farm and aqua tourism to be readied in the village under the ₹5-crore project
A ₹5-crore project by the Ernakulam District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) to woo guests to Kadamakudy, a cluster of 14 pristine isles located off Kochi, by readying infrastructure for diverse tourism avenues like farm and aqua tourism, received the much-awaited no-objection certificate (NOC) from the panchayat on Thursday.
The innovative project abutting the backwaters is aimed at taking tourists back to the 1950’s, when traditional farming practices held sway in Kerala, said Mahesh Gopalakrishnan, architect and Sunil N.S., project coordinator, who made the project presentation.
Kadamakudy grama panchayat president Mary Vincent said the NOC had been issued on condition that the project would not affect local ecology and would adhere to CRZ norms. “It will also earn revenue for the panchayat,” she said.
The project is replete with initiatives like creating cycle tracks by reinforcing bunds that separate the famed Pokkali paddy fields in the area, walkways, and mangrove trails. “The project has been conceived in such a way that there will be little reliance on concrete. Footpaths will be laid using laterite or burnt bricks, doing away with reliance on concrete tiles that is the norm in most urban areas. Emphasis will also be given to setting up floating pontoons made of recycled plastic, at boat jetties,” Mr. Gopalakrishnan said.
In short, the project will be a unique venture aimed at environmental restoration of the isles, even as people from urban areas visiting Kadamakudy will be able to go back to their roots. “Efforts will be made to get green certification based on UN guidelines. Among others, we have envisaged bio-toilets which will not pollute waterbodies even when the groundwater level is high. Similarly, families will be able to hire bamboo cottages, where they can cook. There will also be a watch tower for bird watching,” Mr. Gopalakrishnan added. Mr. Gopalakrishnan and Mr. Sunil are part of Society for Economic and Environmental Development (SEED), which readied a detailed project report (DPR).
The project was envisaged by the DTPC after the State government identified the isles as those holding immense potential for sustainable rural and responsible tourism.
Village life activities
A whole lot of activities have been identified in Kadamakudy to further the cause of rural tourism under the DTPC’s ₹5-crore project, said DTPC Secretary S. Vijayakumar. “They include boating, angling, organic farming, village walks, cycling tours, and a mangrove trail on Charianturuth isle where guests will be able to walk through bamboo foot overbridges and explore vast area of mangroves. Kadamakudy, Charianturuth and Pizhala isles have been identified for cycling tours. A kids’ park, floating restaurant, amphitheatre, and a coir museum-cum-souvenir shop too have been planned,” he added.
It will create better places for people to live in and visit, in keeping with the motto of Responsible Tourism. It will in turn improve the quality of the life of islanders. The ultimate aim is to provide guests a feel and livelihood experience of Kuttanad without going all the way there. Waterway connectivity to Kadamakudy will improve once Water Metro ferries begin touching upon the region. It will prevent influx of vehicles, thus lessening pollution and ensuring that the number of visitors is well within the locale’s carrying capacity, Mr. Vijayakumar said.
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