Shifting of India Tourism office gains pace

Central PWD to speed up process

The long-awaited shifting of India Tourism office from Willingdon Island to Fort Kochi, which was till recently considered amongst the most happening heritage and beach tourism hubs in Kerala, is set to gain momentum after getting caught in red tape for over two years.

India Tourism decided to shift its office from near BTP Berth on the island, to the ground floor of the Folklore Cultural Theatre, located next to the bus stand and ro-ro ferry terminal in Fort Kochi, soon after Cochin Port Trust requested it to relocate. This followed a decision to let out the port’s spaces for long-term lease.

Fair-rent certificate

Soon after, it approached the Central PWD (CPWD), seeking fair-rent certificate for the office space it proposed to take on rent in Fort Kochi. This is mandatory in order to zero in on the rent that ought to be paid to the Kochi Corporation, after assessing the age of the building, its present condition and the value of the extent of space available, among other parameters, sources said.

The tourism office on Willingdon Island augured well for tourists who arrived at the BTP Berth in cruise liners and for those who boarded ships to Lakshadweep. Cruise ships would henceforth call at the new international cruise terminal a little away from the office. As for Kochi city, offices of Kerala Tourism, KTDC and Ernakulam DTPC are located on the same road. In contrast, Fort Kochi is always a happening place and such offices must be easily accessible for tourists who are in search of information and guidance, they added.

It is expected that shifting office to Fort Kochi will help India Tourism play a proactive role in tidying the heritage streets and the beachfront which has been crying for upkeep. Awareness and cleanliness initiatives too could be initiated in tandem with different stakeholders. Sadly, the premises of the folklore theatre building in Fort Kochi are dirty and ill-maintained and would need considerable preening up.

Official sources said the CPWD will shortly begin the process of assessing the rent, as per parameters mentioned in its manual and hand over the fair-rent certificate to India Tourism.

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