Alappuza to have better backwater tourism infra


Alappuzha will offer tourists a far better  infrastructure in the near future to make its backwaters experience a memorable one, as the Union Tourism Ministry has given its nod to the Kerala tourism to go ahead with the first phase of Rs 400 crore master plan for the comprehensive development of backwaters of Alappuzha, including creation of a backwater circuit.    
To be completed in two years, the first phase will see creation of more houseboat terminals, rest points, night-halt centres, shopping centres and restaurants, to provide a memorable experience of the destination, to the tourists. Also, the first phase will see creation of new routes for houseboats.  
“The first phase of the master plan involves developing a comprehensive backwater circuit to link more places and carving out more routes for houseboats,” says Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar. 
He conveyed that his department has already identified places for night-halts of houseboats, new shopping centres, handicraft stalls, restaurants and live performances of traditional art forms, to give a real feeling of the local culture and cuisine for the visitors. The master plan also seeks to address the safety concerns of the tourists. 
“We will be launching the works on the first phase very soon. The stress is on linking more places by charting new routes for the houseboats, as it will be an added attraction to the tourists, who have already explored backwaters of Alappuzha several times. We are sure that this measure will further spread the benefits of tourism in more areas of Kuttanad,” adds a confident Kumar. 
As per the available information, the new facilities planned along the backwaters will be developed on a public private partnership (PPP) mode. The state will lay the necessary infrastructure for the purpose, while the private players will create and run the shops and other ventures, to woo the visitors. 
The plan, among other things, includes development of tourist spots from Aroor to Kayamkulam and the move is expected to benefit 58 panchayats and three municipalities that fall between these places. The master plan also suggests south and north Vembanad and certain areas alongside the Pampa in Kayamkulam and Kuttanad as possible new routes. Besides, there are indications that concerns about some bridges at Kidangara, Vattakayal and Pulinkunnu, obstructing free movement of boats, would be addressed. “There will also be provisions for waste management with focus on eco-friendly tourism, smiles the Kerala Tourism Minister. 
“The master plan for Alappuzha stresses on basic infrastructure development of backwater tourism in the district, with special focus on protection of the environment. We are also considering proposals for allowing luxury houseboats and floating restaurants,” the minister adds.