Kumarakom: Basic infrastructural facilities at the world-renowned tourism destination of Kumarakom in Kottayam district in Kerala have been poor over the past several years. However, the situation is all set to change for the better within a few days, with the authorities of various state government departments engaged in sprucing up the area on a war-footing in view of the Sherpas’ (officers’) meet to be held there during March 30-April 2 as part of the prestigious G-20 summit being hosted by India later this year.
Incidentally, Kumarakom had previously witnessed similar developmental activities back in the year in 2000, when the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the tourist spot.
As part of the officers’ summit, which will attended by dignitaries from all the G-20 countries, the Kerala Government is modernizing the road from Thanneermukkom to Illikkal passing along Kumarakom, at a cost of Rs 10 crore. Local residents had been pleading with the authorities of Kerala Public Works Department (PWD) to repair this road, which was in a bad shape, for the past several years. While the authorities had constantly turned a deaf ear to the pleas of the local people, they are now engaged in urgent work to enable a smooth ride for delegates from abroad.
The stretch from Thanneermukkom to Kaippuzhamuttu was in the worst situation, with potholes everywhere, and the ongoing work has brought much relief to the residents of the area.
Meanwhile, the stretch from Kaippuzhamuttu to Illikkal is being given another layer of tar even though it is already rubberised. Moreover, all along this road, authorities are cutting branches of trees overhanging the path. The roadsides are also being cleaned.
Roads leading to the hotels where the delegates would be staying are also being improved. They include the Kavanattinkara-Saktheeswaran Road and Kumarakom-Ammankari Road. The tarring of the Ammankari Road, which is being modernized spending Rs 1.80 crore, is currently going on. Both these roads were in a dilapidated condition for nearly a decade.
Measures to ensure constant power supply to Kumarakom are underway. This work by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) too would later benefit the local people.
Not only are non-functional streetlights repaired but the old bulbs on the working streetlights are being replaced with those having better brightness and many areas which had remained dark after nightfall would now be illuminated properly.
KSEB is removing the obstructions on the 11KV line in order to provide steady power supply and new power lines are being installed at some areas. These new power lines would be retained after the G-20 summit, said authorities.
A power line will soon connect Kodimatha in Kottayam town to Illikkal, while another one will be laid along the Thanneermukkom Bund to provide emergency supply. A new line is also being laid along the side of the Kumarakom Road to bring electricity from Chengalam sub-station.
Yet another work of the KSEB which would be beneficial to pedestrians and motorists living in the area is removal of unauthorized hoardings and boards attached to electric posts and fixed on the roadsides.
Cleaning the canals
The canals in and around Kumarakom are being cleared of water hyacinth to make boat rides of the foreign delegates smooth. Ironically, even though the houseboat owners had staged a strike some time ago demanding removal of the hyacinth as it was adversely affecting tourism activities there was no response from the authorities.
However, with state government now directing the Irrigation Department to clear the weeds, the work has been taken up on an emergency basis.
The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) has built a new convention centre at its Waterscapes resort in Kumarakom. The convention centre and the clean canals are expected to further boost the tourism activities in the area.