Indira boat race a distant dream

Kochiites’ plan to set the Kochi backwaters on fire by restarting the ‘Indira Gandhi’ snake-boat race will remain a distant dream.

The efforts by GCDA and the district administration to hold the race after 1995 have backfired. Reason: the race course was too shallow after formation of mud deposits due to the dredging for the shipping-channel in its vicinity.

“A team of experts including engineers from Irrigation, Canal and Port departments conducted tests. Then it was found the dredging has resulted in soil deposits there, and it’s no more deep enough for snake boats. It was also found loose soil was being carried during high tide,” GCDA (Greater Cochin Development Authority Chairman N. Venugopal told DC.

The ‘Indira Gandhi’ boat race was first held in 1994 and again the next year. Then it was stopped as no one came forward to organise it.

However, last year, the authorities and elected representatives like K.V. Thomas and Hibi Eden MLA took special interest to restart the event.

High-level meetings were held and preliminary measures like funding and pattern of the event were fixed. “Three months back, we held a small snake-boat race beneath the Goshree bridges. Then the boats could not row fast due to shallowness of the river. So, how can the big snake-boats perform here? It’s a big disappointment to us,” Hibi Eden said.

However, Venugopal exuded confidence that the course could be made into a permanent race venue.
“Currently we’re seeking technical advice from experts on how to stop the soil formation.

We’re determined to host the event at least next year,” he said.

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