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All will be consulted on seaplane service: Kerala minister

All will be consulted on seaplane service: Kerala ministerThiruvananthapuram, June 19 - Kerala Tourism Minister A. P. Anil Kumar Wednesday said that all stakeholders would be taken into confidence regarding the operations of a sea plane service in the state's picturesque backwaters.

"I assure the assembly that we will not do anything that would affect any community in the state. All the stakeholders in the fishing sector as well as legislators will be taken into confidence. We will conduct awareness programmes to this effect and then only will we go ahead with the plan," the minister told the state assembly while responding to a question.

Earlier this month, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy launched the country's first seaplane service from the backwaters at Kollam to provide an impetus to the tourism industry in Kerala.

However, the fishing community opposed the project fearing that it would pose a threat to their livelihood. Environmentalists, too, have opposed the amphibian seaplane service.

Chandy was to fly on the inaugural flight from Kollam to Alappuzha. But after coming to know that a section of the fishing community was opposed to the project, he cancelled his trip.

"To start with, we will operate from Kollam, Alapuzha, Bekal and Bolgatty (in Kochi), and then it will be extended to Wayanad and Munnar," Kumar said.

The government has entered into an agreement with a Bangalore-based firm to provide the six-seater Cessna 206 H amphibian aircraft to start the operations.

Although the service has not been started on account of the monsoon season and in view of the fears expressed by the fishing community, the state government is hopeful that regular operations would commence by August.

The seaplanes will fly roughly 6,500 feet above ground to provide a breathtaking view of the greenery Kerala is known for. (IANS)