Govt plans heritage town in Hampi

Centre to bear 20 per cent of the cost

 The State tourism department is now planning a ‘heritage town’ in place of the scrapped Vijayanagara Theme Park in Hampi, which was shrouded in many a controversy.

 Addressing reporters here on Saturday, Tourism Minister Anand Singh said that a project (on the lines of Janapada Loka on Mysore Road in Bangalore) would come up on 80 acres earmarked for the Theme Park project.

The government has also dissolved the Vijayanagar Punaschetan Prathisthan that had been constituted to implement the Theme Park project.

Singh said the heritage town would be developed into a cultural hub, creating a platform for local artists to exhibit their works. The aim was also to generate job opportunities, he said.

The project would cost between Rs 50 crore and Rs 100 crore, and the department had sought financial assistance from the union tourism ministry for its implementation. The Centre would bear 20 per cent of the cost, he said.

When asked why the Theme Park project was dropped, Singh said it would have “taken away” the importance of Hampi’s monuments, as a parallel place of attraction.
The Minister said the department had sought financial assistance for tourism projects to be developed in 2012-13, including the setting up of a theme park at Suttur Mutt near Mysore and the overall development of the coastal circuit.
Next to Mutt?

Singh said the Mutt had requested the department to set up a theme park on its land near its premises.

However, when the State sought the Centre’s assistance of around Rs 30 crore for the project, the union ministry demanded that the Mutt hand over around 28 acres to the government. The Mutt was considering the proposal, he said.
The Minister said responsibility entrusted with the Vivekananda Trust to develop Joladarashigudda at Hospet had been withdrawn and that the tourism department would develop the place.

He said a 36-foot Vivekananda statue would come up there, alongside a meditation centre. The department also planned a ropeway with cable cars, he said.
The Centre had sought from the department detailed project reports for all the proposals, and the department would provide them in 20 to 25 days, he said.

KSTDC properties

Singh said the department had taken note of the many
Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) properties being in bad shape. He said properties in deplorable condition would be leased out to private companies for maintenance. “The Ooty property generates around Rs 65 lakh per annum. If it were to be handed over to a private firm, the revenue would double,” he said. Currently, KSTDC runs 18 properties.

The Corporation had earlier handed over 31 of its properties to private companies. When asked about the alleged irregularities in this, he said the department would re-examine the memoranda of understanding entered into with the firms .

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