Centre Ready to Back Malanad-Malabar Cruise Project: Alphons Kannanthanam

Alphons Kannanthanam

Thiruvananthapuram: Union Minister of State for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam has said that the Union Government is ready to support the ambitious Malanad-Malabar cruise tourism project in Kerala. The Centre will provide assistance under the Swadesh Darshan scheme if the Rs.300-crore project, aimed at linking the water bodies between Mayyazhi river in Kannur district and Chandragiri river in Kasargod district, is implemented in three phases, he added.

The Minister said this at a meeting convened to review the Central Government-funded tourism projects, which was attended by Kadakampally Surendran, Kerala Tourism Minister; V Venu IAS, Principal Secretary, Kerala Tourism, among other senior officials. The Minister reviewed the progress of the Sabarimala- Erumeli- Pampa- Sannidhanam spiritual circuit, Sree Padmanabhaswamy-Arnamula-Sabarimala spiritual circuit, and the 150-km Gavi-Wagamon mega tourism circuit being executed with the backing of the Union Government.
‘Take Over Land of Tatas’

Later, speaking to media persons Alphons Kannanthanam said that the Government take steps to take over 1000 acres of land owned by Tata Tea Company in Munnar. The land can be converted into a township that would benefit all kinds of travelers, he said. The Union Minister added that the Central Government was ready support Kerala if the State Government prepared a tourism master plan for the development of Munnar.

Though the LDF Government led by V S Achuthanandan had mulled resumption of over 1073 acres of land from Tata Tea Company in 2010 for the implementation of ‘New Munnar’ project, no steps had been initiated in this regard for various reasons.

State’s Plea on GST

In a separate development, the Kerala Government, in a note submitted to Alphons Kannanthanam, sought some key changes in GST applicable to the tourism sector.  The note submitted by Kadakampally Surendran, Kerala Tourism Minister, urged the Union Government to facilitate levying of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) by hotels and resorts so that tour operators could claim Input Tax Credit (ITC). The State also sought a presumptive tax rate of 1.8 per cent on small tour companies to overcome the post-GST difficulties.