Expert team to come up with masterplan

With its green-topped hills, picturesque waterfalls, remote villages, rich wildlife and lush forests, the obscure countryside of Konni is seeking to put itself on the global tourism map.

An expert team, led by travel documentary filmmaker Santosh George Kulangara, will soon come up with a master plan for developing Konni as a major ecotourism destination. The team has carried out a preliminary inspection of local attractions across the region, which comprises 11 grama panchayats.

“The plan is to cash in on the natural heritage of Konni, which is much beyond the Konni elephant camp, Adavi or even Gavi. The very fact that it is one of the very few regions in the State that receive rainfall almost everyday makes it an ideal location for green tourism projects,” explains an official with the Forest Department.

Two circuits

According to him, the expert committee has suggested developing tourism circuits by dividing the Konni and Gavi regions into two segments.

In Konni, it has sought construction of more treetop huts in Adavi, besides developing tourism infrastructure to cater to waterfalls inside the forests. The rock formations that dot the forest fringes, including Rakshasanpara at Kalanjoor and Anjumanapara in Enadhimangalam, too will be included in the Konni circuit. The possibility of establishing a pilgrim circuit by combining the places of worship inside the forests is also being examined.

The tourism circuit in Gavi, meanwhile, will combine the villages of Seethathodu and Chittar, besides the water reservoirs of Kakki and Karikkayam. A major stretch of the Kakkattar river, which courses down the region, will be developed into a water-trail circuit.

Amenities

The department will open accommodation units in association with the District Tourism Promotion Council. Other facilities planned for tourists include food courts, ropeway, trekking and cycling paths, homestays and Ayurveda resorts.

“Once we have rediscovered these villages, international visitors could follow in droves,” observed K.U. Janeesh Kumar, MLA, who leads the initiative. The expert team is slated to submit its master plan to the State government in two months, he says.

“A meeting of the government agencies and private parties will be convened for discussing its implementation in different phases. The project will generate at least 1,000 jobs in the first phase and it may go up to 3,000 with a full-scale operation of both the circuits,” added the legislator.

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