Udupi (The Hindu): Efforts are on to introduce better facilities on St. Mary’s Island, about 6.5 km from the Malpe Beach here, to develop it as a major tourist spot.
This picturesque palm fringed island has unique basalt rock formations jutting out in different shapes, which were declared as a national geological monument by the Geological Survey of India in 1979.
The island is accessible to tourists only during the off-monsoon period from October to mid-May, barring periods when the sea is rough. At present, there is no waiting lounge on the island, which is 30-minute boat ride from Malpe.
Hence, the Malpe Development Committee, which supervises the development of both Malpe Beach and St. Mary’s Island, has decided to construct two waiting lounges on the island at a cost of Rs. 4.25 lakh. “We will start the construction work after the monsoon and complete it in two months,” said Sachin Kumar, Project Engineer, Nirmiti Kendra.
Besides this, three food stalls would be set up on the island. “This would help tourists avoid taking food from Malpe to St. Mary’s Island. One of the food stalls would provide sea food to tourists,” said Sudesh Shetty, head of a private agency, developing the beach and the island.
Water sports would be promoted in a big way on the island.
There are plans to start a water sports club. Jet skiing, parasailing and kayaking would be promoted. “We will be introducing small mechanised boats for tourists to do angling while in the sea,” he said.
That is not all, a zip-line facility would be provided. The basalt rock formations on the island would be publicised in a big manner. “We are keen on promoting research on local vegetation and fish by tying up with educational institutions. We would like to set up a botanical garden on the island,” Mr. Shetty said.
Since these facilities would be provided, it was necessary to press into service at least two guards on the island during night. Six solar lamps would be set up on the island to improve lighting there during evenings.
“After an improvement in facilities such as provision of gazebos and toilets last year, the footfall to the island had increased. But we want to provide more facilities to attract more tourists from across the country and abroad. We also intend to hold cultural events on the island during the daytime,” Mr. Shetty said.
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