Chennai: After years of being notoriously known as a destination for drunken revelry, good seafood and fishermen with fierce tempers, the fishing hamlet of Pazhaverkadu has netted a prize catch - a clutch of ministers and top officials from the State government descended on the lakeshore town and agreed to a Rs 20-crore proposal to increase heritage tourism.
Popularly known as Pulicat, the name which the Dutch bestowed on it four centuries ago, the town will see a veritable makeover in the next few months, according to Xavier Benedict, who runs AARDE Foundation. The not-for-profit trust is incidentally the nodal agency which submitted the development proposal to the Tiruvallur district administration, a few months ago.
The largest drawback that has stopped people from holidaying in Pulicat all these years is the fact there isn’t a single hotel, inn or even homestay. “The tourism department will offer incentives for local people with large houses who are willing to renovate and operate a few rooms on a bed-and-breakfast basis,” explained Benedict. Other than this, there will also be better roads, highways, streetlights and public water dispensers to make the place tourist-friendly.
After years of being notoriously known as a destination for drunken revelry, Pazhaverkadu has netted a prize catch.
Along with ministers Gokula Indira and BV Ramana, Tourism Secretary VK Jeyakodi, Tourism Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni and Ponneri MLA S Raja visited the area and surveyed the heritage structures there. To promote international tourism, the AARDE foundation is also looking to rope in the Dutch Embassy as a knowledge partner. “Culture seeking tourists will be able to access Pulicat and our services through them easily,” he said.
Saddened by the shrub-covered wasteland that the Dutch-built Fort Geldria has become, the officials immediately agreed to begin renovation work on the monument, “They will declare it as a heritage monument and renovate the fort complex into a heritage park, where cultural programmes will be staged,” he added.
Similarly, restoration work will be done on the Adinarayana Perumal Temple, which will also be declared a heritage structure. While the Dutch cemetery is under the care of the ASI, the ministers have ordered that the Portuguese cemetery be cleaned with haste and direction boards be put up.