Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala recently inaugurated India’s first solar energy-driven Miniature Railway in Thiruvananthapuram. Located at the Veli Tourist Village, this is a part of projects that amount to INR 60 crore to upgrade the facilities to international standards.
Vijayan further dedicated the Urban Park and swimming pool at the eco-friendly tourist Village.
The INR 10-crore project is the first of its kind in the country
Vijayan said, “The eco-friendly solar-powered 2.5 km miniature railway will enable visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature. Artificial steam spouted by the engine of the train, modeled after the vintage steam locomotive, will stir nostalgic feelings. Also, the station house is designed in a traditional style and the surplus energy generated by the system will be routed to the KSEB’s grid.”
Additionally, a tourist facilitation centre, convention centre and art cafe will open at Veli soon. The convention centre will consist of an art gallery and a digital display facility to showcase major tourism and cultural centres of the state. There will also be an open-air theatre.
“Giving respect and honour to visitors is key to the success of tourism. It is necessary to keep this in mind all the time”, Vijayan added.
The government has allotted around INR 120 crore for the tourism sector in one year alone
Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Minister of Kerala presided over the event. He said, “Out of this INR 120 crore budget, administrative sanction has been given to INR 60-crore worth of projects for Veli itself. This shows the government’s determination to transform Veli into one of the most attractive destinations for domestic tourists. Among the projects for Veli, INR 20 crore worth of works have been completed, and other schemes are progressing. The Tourist Facilitation Centre will open in January.”.
The Miniature Rail includes features like a tunnel, station, and ticket office. The train that is a joy ride for children especially, has three bogies. At a time, these can accommodate around 45 individuals on board. The Urban Park has a budget of INR 5 crore and the swimming pool INR 2.5 crore.
At the event, V S Sivakumar, MLA, K Sreekumar, Mayor, and M Vijayakumar, Chairman, KTDC were present. Rani George, Tourism Secretary welcomed the audience and P Bala Kiran, Director, Tourism, showcased the report. Lastly, K Rajkumar, Joint Director, Tourism, offered a vote of thanks.