Entertainment centres fail to amuse govt

No progress in plan to develop such spaces in 14 cities since pre-feasibility study 3 years ago

Entertainment centres fail to amuse govt

That most cities in Karnataka, including Bangalore, lack urban spaces is well-known. And that, malls and shopping centres do not give a complete experience of an urban centre is something people, especially visitors, have made no secret of.

Inspired by such cities as Hyderabad and Noida, infrastructure agencies in Karnataka had proposed setting up Urban Entertainment Centres (UECs) in 14 cities.

A UEC can be defined as a family-oriented entertainment destination. Such centres combine shopping and recreation with entertainment to form an overall experience. Retail needs entertainment to attract people and entertainment needs retail to support the overall operation, an official pointed out. “A UEC should be a space with the right balance of retail and entertainment. If it contains too much retail, it may seem to the visitor as an ordinary shopping mall.

Conversely, if there are too many entertainment options, people forget to make purchases,” he added. The ambitious plan, which experts believe is well worth investing in, was mooted after surveys showed that visitors complain about the lack of such places in the State. The benefits reaped by private players from such entertainment centres was another reason for pushing for the plan.

Accordingly, a pre-feasibility study was conducted by the Infrastructure Development Corporation (Karnataka) Limited (iDeCK) in 2009-10. But there had been little progress since, another government source said. As per the pre-feasibility study, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, the 14 cities are Bellary, Hubli-Dharwad, Mysore, Mangalore, Shimoga, Bijapur, Belgaum, Davangere, Gulbarga, Raichur, Manipal, Madikeri and Chitradurga, besides Bangalore.

A senior official said: “...In order to provide better entertainment and shopping facilities to tourists (both domestic and foreign) in Karnataka, it was suggested that an integrated system such as a UEC should be developed in major cities.”  According to the official, most cities in the State have reasonable shopping and entertainment facilities such as amusement parks, but the concept of an integrated centre where visitors can experience entertainment as well as retail shopping does not exist.

Specific components

These centres would have retail stores, theme or amusement parks, multiplexes, restaurants and other facilities, the plan envisaged. “Besides, city-/district-specific components may also be added to a UEC. For example, a UEC in Mysore may have a heritage-specific retail store or museum,” the official said.

UECs are created on the fundamental of partnership between retail and entertainment. Combinations of this partnership provide variations of UECs which can be adopted depending on the culture and heritage of the city.

A grounded pilot

In its pre-feasibility study, the Infrastructure Development Corporation (Karnataka) Limited (iDeCK) recommended that a pilot project be implemented in Mysore, given that it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Karnataka.

“Apart from tourism, Mysore is fast becoming a choice destination for software and hardware companies for setting up offices. The city is growing at a fast pace and the populace will soon reflect the same profile as that in Bangalore,” the report says.  It further says that a round of meeting was held with the commissioner who evinced interest. “He even suggested a site in the outskirts,” a source said, adding that the proposed site measured 160 acres.

The project, however, remains in cold storage.

*Movie halls
* Restaurants
*  Sports complex
*Shopping complex
*  Theme parks
* Walkways
*  Museums

Note: Other facilities can be included.

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