The 69th edition of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, one of Kerala’s flagship cultural events, could be held on the second Saturday of August this year, sticking to the traditional schedule which was disrupted for the past five years due to floods and the pandemic.
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race Society (NTBRS) which organises the annual regatta in the deep waters of the Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha district, has suggested that the event be held on August 12.
However, a final decision will be taken by the state government only. The decision will depend on the fixture of the Champions Boat League (CBL), a series of boat races organised by the state tourism department. A season of the CBL usually begins with the Nehru Trophy race. From 2019, CBL is held across 12 venues over a few months.
“Earlier, the NTBRS had the authority to decided the date of the event. However, after the introduction of the CBL, the date could be fixed only in consultation with the tourism department. The NTBRS has proposed to conduct the race on August 12, second Saturday, and we hope that the government would approve the date,” a district official involved in the matter told Onmanorama.
The Nehru Trophy schedule started witnessing postponements and cancellations since 2018, the year when the floods of a century wreaked havoc in the state. That year, the event was held as late as November 10. In 2019 also the event was postponed to August 31 due to flood situation.
The next two years witnessed the event being cancelled due to the COVID pandemic. After the two-year break, the race was held on September 4, last year. ‘Mahadevikad Kattil Thekkethil Chundan’, the snake boat rowed by Pallathuruthy Boat Club, won the title last year. It was their hat-trick win. As many as 77 boats, including 20 snake boats, competed in the race in nine categories.
The race is named after the first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru as the trophy for the winners was sent by him after he was excited to watch an exhibition race that was held for him during his visit to the state in 1952.