Kerala's non-cooperation affecting Central tourism projects: Alphons Kannanthanam

By Express News Service

KOTTAYAM: Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam on Saturday alleged that though the Central Government had sanctioned the highest amount of funds for Kerala for the development of tourism, the non-cooperation of the state government has been affecting the timely implementation of the projects.

Kannanthanam told reporters here the state govt has not utilised a single penny of the Rs 20 crore sanctioned in the first phase of the Rs 99.99 crore Central Government project for Sabarimala. “There is no meaning in announcing Rs 900 core package for Sabarimala, without utilising the amount already sanctioned by the Centre. Meanwhile, the implementation of the Rs 46 crore project at Guruvayur temple is also moving at a snail’s pace,” he said.

Highest share for Kerala
Kannanthanam said the Centre has earmarked a total of Rs550 crore for Kerala, which is the highest amount for any state. The amount is for various tourism projects, giving prominence to spiritual tourism in the state. “Apart from the special project for Sabarimala and Guruvayur, a pilgrimage circuit project, having an estimated cost of Rs 69.47 crore centering Sivagiri will be launched on Sunday. 

The work on the Gavi – Wagamon –  Thekkadi tourism project has been completed at a cost of Rs76.55 crore and its inauguration will be held on February 17. A project for a spiritual circuit connecting 133 shrines across the state will be launched on February 16. While the Prime Minister launched the Padmanabha Swami temple – Aranmula – Sabarimala circuit project (Rs 92.44 cr) recently, the Malanadu cruise tourism project (Rs 80.37 cr) is in the pipeline,” he said. 

To give a boost to the flood-ravaged tourism industry of the state, the Union Ministry of Tourism will organise a ‘cultural festival of India’ at Thekkinkadu Maidanam, Thrissur and Amal Jyothi Engineering College, Kanjirappally on February 23 and 24 respectively. Art forms of 10 states, including Kerala will be staged on the occasion, in which around 150 artists from different parts of the state are expected to participate. “The tourism industry in Kerala has suffered a major loss and we hope to regain the tempo with the festival,” Kannanthanam said.


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‘Letter’ controversy 
Kannanthanam criticised Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for creating an ‘unwarranted’ controversy by sending a letter to the Prime Minister with regard to the inauguration of the Sivagiri pilgrimage circuit project.

 “I don’t know why the CM sent such a letter to the Prime Minister as the Sivagiri project is being implemented under 100 per cent funding of the Central Government. “It is the Centre’s discretion as to who should be invited. However, as a matter of courtesy, I personally sent intimation letters to the State Tourism Minister and the CM on the inauguration of the project,” he said.

ITDC starts process for setting up spiritual circuit
Kochi: The Union Government has expedited measures to launch works for developing Sivagiri Mutt and Chempazanthy Gurukulam as spiritual circuit. The Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has come out with a notification for appointment of architects/ consulting firms for the development of Sree Narayana Guru Spiritual Circuit at Sivagiri Mutt and Chempazanthy Gurukualm in Thiruvananthapuram, under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, Ministry of Tourism.

The Sivagiri Mutt will have a tourist facilitation centre, enquiry room, waiting room, first aid, kiosks, clock room (236 Sqm), community dining hall with kicthen and audio-visual hall to be constructed at a cost of Rs 14.92 crore. Chemp-azhanthy Gurukulam will have tourist facilitation centre, enquiry room, waiting room, first aid, kiosks, clock room, cafeteria and a reading room (170 Sqm), which will be constructed at a cost of Rs 1.24 crore.

Phase-I of Swadesh Darshan to be opened today
T’Puram: Union Minister of State for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam will lay the foundation stone for the first phase of Swadesh Darshan development works at places associated with Sree Narayana Guru on February 10.  The function will be held at the Sivagiri Mutt at 9 am. Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham president Swami Visudhananda will preside over the function.

Trust general secretary Swami Sandrananda will welcome the gathering.  Tourism Minister Kadakmaplly Surendran, MPs A Sampath, Richard Hay, V joy MLA, SNDP Yogam vice-president Thushar Vellappally and ITDC managing director Ravneet Kaur will offer felicitations. Trust treasurer Saradananda will pay a vote of thanks.  The places to be developed under the scheme are Chembazhanti Narayana Gurukulam, Aruvippuram temple, Subramanya Sawmi temple and mutt at Kunnumpara and the Sivagiri mutt. The total project cost is I70 crore.