Kerala’s traditional backwater snake-boat races will get an India Premier League (IPL)-style makeover, under the aegis of the State government’s Tourism Department, reports The Hindu.
Under this initiative, the major boat races in Kerala—from the Nehru Trophy boat race in Alappuzha to the President’s Trophy in Kollam—will now come under a larger league format called the Kerala Boat Race League (KBRL). The races that are associated with religious customs will be exempt from the league.
The league will be conducted from August 11 to November 1 this year.
At the Nehru Boat Trophy on Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha on August 11, 20 snake-boats will battle it out for qualification into the league. Among the 20 snake-boats, only 9 will qualify, and these 9 snake-boat teams will then compete for over 12 races, concluding with the President Trophy’s Race in Kollam.
Considering that these snake-boat races are a significant tourist attraction, the State government plans to launch an extensive international campaign for the tournament.
League races are expected to be conducted in Punnamada, Pulinkunnu, Kainakari, Karuvatta, Mavelikara, Kayamkulam and Kottappuram in the Alappuzha district, Thazhathangadi in the Kottayam district and Kallada and Kollam in the Kollam district, according to The Hindu. Every team that manages to qualify for the league will receive a bonus of Rs 4 lakh per venue.
Those who finish in the top three in every league race will receive cash prizes ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Those who finish in the top three overall across the 12 races will receive cash prizes ranging from Rs 6 and 10 lakh, reports the publication. An essential criterion that all teams are required to adhere to is that 75% of team members must be natives of Kerala.
The tournament, meanwhile, is likely to cost the State exchequer Rs 10 crore, while the government is likely to bring in the additional Rs 5 crore, through sponsorship deals.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)