MoT punishes Kerala with Rs17 crore funding cut
Union Tourism minister Kumari Selja is not happy with Kerala’s progress on some of its tourism projects and so is slashing the state’s funding by Rs17 crore. This is the first time Kerala is at this receiving end and is part of the MoT’s larger move to tighten monitoring norms.
What led to this drastic move is Kerala’s tardy progress on some of its tourism infrastructure projects.
In a recent review with the Kerala government, the ministry found that projects dating as far back as 2003 were still under execution. According to sources, the ministry has told the state that funds will not be released for projects sanctioned in 2004-2005 and it has asked the state to drop projects like development of Thekkinadu Maidan in Thrissur while certain projects like pilgrim tourism circuit has been severely curtailed.
Speaking to TOI, Kerala tourism secretary K Venu said, “This will not affect Kerala tourism or the tourist’s experience. This strong measure of the ministry ensures that states will come up with more responsible projects.”
The ministry had sanctioned about Rs31.24 crore in 2007-2008 which was hiked to Rs42.69 crore in 2008-2009.
Sources said there was deep concern over lack of spending and lack of compliance by states. The ministry is planning to set up prioritisation meetings with states from February to expedite spending. The review will monitor progress of projects sanctioned. While the ministry has decided to cut off spending for any incomplete projects sanctioned before 2004-2005, it has also introduced stricter norms to ensure future compliance.