Luxury box at Kerala's Nehru Trophy Boat Race: Are facilities up to the mark?

According to an official of the NTBR organising committee, the plan is to make 100 seats available in the luxury box. Representative image/Manorama

Alappuzha: While the organisers have decided to introduce the novel concept of a high-priced ‘luxury box' to view the 70th annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race, to be held in Punnamada Lake on August 10, fans’ response ranged from outright rejection to measured optimism. 

“This is not what the boat race needs now,” says Balu Dayanandan, an architect and a boat race fan. “The seating arrangement for the boat race is exceptionally poor. The organisers sell tickets beyond the seating capacity resulting overcrowding each year. Then the relatives and friends of highly placed officials with free passes get the good seats, making the mockery of the whole system,” he adds. According to him provision should also be made to ensure that genuine ticket holders get an uninterrupted view of the race. 

Reigning champions Pallathuruthy Boat Club captain Suneer Kambiveli is optimistic about the concept of a luxury box.  “Times are changing and we too need to change with time. The luxury box is a good concept, and if the organisers manage to implement it properly, it will do good for the image of the boat race. They intend to charge Rs 10,000 per head for the luxury box, so it better be good!” says Suneer.

According to him, rather than searching for a new location, the current VIP Pavillion should be converted into the luxury box facility. “That spot offers the best view of the boat race,” he says. Ensuring proper protection of the viewers for a hassle-free experience should also be considered on priority, Suneer adds. 

Booking likely from mid-July 
According to an official of the NTBR organising committee, the plan is to make 100 seats available in the luxury box. The booking will begin likely in mid-July. “Till now, our most priced ticket was the Rs 3,000 Nehru Pavillion seats. For luxury boxes, the prices are fixed at Rs 10,000 per head and Rs 25,000 for a family of three. Details are being sorted out and a clearer picture will emerge after a couple more of the sub-committee meetings,” the official says.

The location for setting up the luxury box has not been finalised. The organisers agreed that the proposed luxury box must offer an an unobstructed view of the race. "The spot will be under police observation to prevent any untoward incidents,” he says.

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