Just five months after it was renovated, the much hyped floating restaurant – Flotilla – by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) at the Veli Tourist Village has submerged in the backwaters. The first floor of the restaurant was damaged after water entered inside a few days ago. It had just been renovated at a cost of Rs 50 lakh.
Though fire officials tried to pump out the water inside and lift the structure up, the efforts went in vain.
"One floor is completely submerged. It would be very hard to renovate it again. This happened clearly because of the mistakes done during construction. But there were no allegations of corruption at the time of its construction. It was a very beautiful place," Vettukadu Ward Councilor, Mary Lilly Rajad said.
Flotilla was inaugurated on January 1, 2020 after Rs 50 lakh was spent for renovation and reopening. The restaurant was built in Veli lake using wild jack wood, teakwood and coconut trunks. The structure spans more than 3500 square feet and can accommodate around 80 guests. The restaurant was operating until the lockdown was announced.
The restaurant had started functioning a few years ago and it was damaged in the Ockhi cyclone of 2017. Even in 2017, the restaurant had similar issues where water seeped inside and it had to be closed for renovation. It was only two years after the closure that it got renovated and reopened in January.
"There are allegations that it submerged because the water bund nearby was broken. But that is not true, it is a problem with the construction," Mary said.
Speaking to the media, Thiruvananthapuram MLA, VS Sivakumar has similarly said that it was problems allegedly with the construction that caused water seepage in the building. He has asked for a proper inquiry into the matter. However, there are also reports that water entered through the floor via the drainage pipes of the restaurant and due to poor maintenance.