India’s first oceanarium
Come 2011 and Kochi would be beckoning tourists and marine researchers from around the globe. That is when the Kerala Fisheries Department proposes to complete India’s first Oceanarium and Marine Biological Research Institute in Puthuvype on the southern tip of the Vypin Island off the Kochi coast. On Wednesday, the state cabinet approved the formation of a company under public-private partnership for executing the project estimated to cost Rs 400 crore. The private parties would hold not less than 51 percent equity in the company and the state a minimum of 26 percent. Announcing this, chief minister V S Achutanandan said the finer details were still being worked out. According to the concept note, the Oceanarium which is in fact an artificial ocean “will enable people to walk under the water through an acrylic tunnel directly experiencing the unique excitement of the wonders available at the bottom of the oceans without getting wet. “The tunnel shall have a slow moving walkway, as also a fixed platform inside the tunnel for the visitors to step aside if they wish to view a particular species of their interest in detail. The moving walkway shall enable the visitors to have panoramic views of marine life inside the main tank,” says A Gopalakrishnan, executive director of the Fisheries Resource Management Society, which is overseeing the project. “Forty acres of land has already been acquired for the Oceanarium and this is being developed. The MBRI will come up in another 10 acres beside the Oceanarium,” he said. “A consortium chosen by the state government is currently preparing a feasibility report for the formation of the company on PPP basis,” he said.