In some relief from an intense heat wave that has gripped northern India, the monsoon is expected to arrive on time this year, hitting Kerala on 1st June.
According to Doordarshan News, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said that there is no possibility of delay in the arrival of monsoon as of now. It also added that the normal date for monsoon onset on the southern coast is the first of the next month. However, the south west monsoon is expected to be below normal this year and the country will receive about 93 per cent rainfall.
As heat wave conditions continued to sweep many parts of northern India, Haryana’s Hisar turned out to be the hottest place at 42.5 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature was five notches above normal while Amritsar in Punjab recorded a near similar high at 42.3 degrees Celsius, four notches more than normal.
At 41.5 degrees Celsius and 39.5 degrees Celsius respectively, Narnaul and Ambala in Punjab also experienced hot weather. Chandigarh’s maximum settled at 40.1 degrees Celsius, two notches above normal.
There was no relief from heat in other parts of the two states as Ludhiana boiled at 41 degrees Celsius and Patiala at 40.7 degrees Celsius. The MeT department has forecast light rain and thunder showers at a few places in Haryana and Punjab over the next two days, and thunder squalls accompanied with hail and a wind speed exceeding 45 kilometres per hour may occur at isolated places in the two states
Are Kovalam and backwaters the first things that come to mind when thinking of Kerala? All that’s set to change as more places will soon be added to the bucket list from ‘God’s own country’ — at an outlay of Rs 500 crore.
The Kerala Tourism Department is taking new initiatives and expanding its horizons, not just in the southern belt but also the northern zone with new “must visit” destinations.
“Kerala has seen a strong tourism sector since two decades and we have been doing well domestically and internationally.
“We are starting new destinations in different geographical areas. We are widening our canvas and including new destinations,” P. Bala Kiran, Director, Kerala Tourism told IANS.
He added that the northern parts of the state like Wayanad, Kannur, Kozhikode, Thissur, Malapuram and Palakad are on the list of new tourism destinations.
“This will be a separate circuit which will be complementing the existing tourism circuit in south Kerala,” Kiran stated.
While the peak season for visiting the state is mainly November to February, the Tourism Department is also chalking out plans to attract tourists round the year.
And for that, the department has pumped in almost Rs 500 crore in the area for tourism and infrastructure development.
“We are also planning out new ventures like introducing river cruise facility in Malabar, making a Kameshwari heritage project, Jatayu Earth Centre which will feature world’s largest bird sculpture and offering plethora of adventure and rejuvenating activities and others,” Bala noted.
The department is also focusing on alluring young tourists by offering multiple adventure activities — water-based sports like river rafting and kayaking as also trekking, paragliding.
Recently, Kerala also bagged ‘Best destination for families’ award through an online poll which was conducted by Lonely Planet magazine.
Bala added in the past one year, Kerala has witnessed tremendous growth in tourist arrivals — both domestic and internatinal.
“In 2017 we had 1.09 million international tourists and 14.6 million domestic tourists which is roughly translating into a growth of 11 per cent in the last year,” he added.
Asked about the major challenges being faced by the Tourism Department, Bala pointed out that ensuring safety and security of tourists were the first priority followed by providing world class amenities to the visitors and streamlining the waste management system.
“Kerala government is setting up a Tourism Regulatory Authority which will be a statutory body with full legal powers to intervene and execute orders whenever there are complaints on tourist-related activities,” Bala noted. (IANS)