In a major reversal for Kerala, India govt drops two of its key tourism projects

Swadesh Darshan Ministry of Tourism India

The Central government has dropped two tourism projects worth Rs 154 crore, proposed by Kerala, under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.

The proposed projects included the Sivagiri pilgrimage circuit and a spiritual circuit linking 133 places of worship right across Kerala.

The Union Ministry of Tourism has not cited any reason for dropping the ₹69.47-crore Sree Narayana Guru spiritual circuit and the ₹85.23-crore spiritual circuit, in its letter to the Kerala Tourism secretary.

The two projects were initially approved under Swadesh Darshan — as part of integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits — in 2014-15.

State Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran urged the Union Tourism Ministry to reconsider the decision to drop the Sree Narayana Guru spiritual circuit. The Sree Narayana Dharma Sanghom and those involved in promoting the ideals of the Guru should come forward and voice against the decision, the Minister said.

The Minister said the concept prepared by Kerala Tourism for the Sivagiri project in 2017 had put the estimate at ₹118 crore. The Sivagiri mutt, meanwhile, prepared another concept and submitted it to the Ministry. The estimate was downsized to ₹69.47 crore and ITDC was entrusted with the execution. Former Union Minister of State for Tourism K.J. Alphons kicked off the project in February 2019.

Dropping the two circuit projects estimated at ₹154 crore without any warning is a big set back to the tourism development in Kerala, Kadakampally said, adding that the Centre should immediately withdraw the decision.