As much as 728.43 hectares near Devikulam has been identified for an eco-township in the Munnar Special Tourism Zone (STZ) to address the urban issues facing the hill station, create an infrastructure for sustaining tourism growth and bring it to international tourism destination standards.
The land, 4 km from Munnar town, is near Grahams Land in Devikulam panchayat.
Almost uninhabited, the land ownership is predominantly with the government. A layout plan has been prepared taking the natural feature of the Mattupetty river as the cardinal vein, imparting full potential of the spatial allocation of the spaces on either side.
Zones for rehabilitation (80.93 ha); tourist facility (64.74 ha); residential (76.89 ha); green (129.49 ha); resorts (105.21 ha); public and semi-public (60.70 ha); institutional (72.84 ha); commercial (40.46 ha); leisure and recreational (40.46 ha); culture and heritage (10.11 ha); convention (6.07 ha); and non-conventional energy park (20.23 ha) have been proposed.
An airstrip in 20.23 ha has been mooted to bring the hill station on the aviation map.
The township had been mooted in the ‘Tourism Development plan for Munnar Special Tourism Zone’ prepared for Kerala Tourism to regulate developments in the ecologically fragile area in a planned manner.
A study has found that “all recent developments in the name of tourism have inflicted inseparable losses to the local ecology and cultural facets.
It said that unregulated and haphazard infrastructural development is resulting in affecting the beauty and character” of the hill station, rated one of the best in Asia.
The township has been mooted as the redevelopment of Munnar town is impossible due to lack of land and in view of the huge rehabilitation requirements.
The rehabilitation zone is meant for rehabilitation of tea workers and others in Munnar with accommodation units and all facilities. The public and semi-public zone is for setting up a mini-civil station.
Three star and above hotels, spas and clubs will come up in the hotels and resorts zone.
A convention centre along with museums, rural haat and an amphitheatre will be in the cultural and heritage zone.
In the leisure and recreation zone, a mini-golf course, high altitude sports complex and an amusement park have been proposed.
A biodiversity park, a botanical garden, agri-horti gardens and a herbal garden are planned in the green zone and development of houses will be taken up in the housing zone.
Shopping malls, theatres and financial institutions along with a new market will be located in the commercial zone.
Kerala Tourism awarded the preparation of master plan through bidding process to Consulting Engineering Services (India) Ltd. and Great India Tourism Planners and Consultants (GIPAC).
A special development authority has been mooted for coordinating and managing development of the township.
A special purpose company has been mooted for coordinating the development in the STZ and for implementing it in public-private partnership basis.