High hopes on Budget, aid expected for tourism sector

The people of the district are eagerly waiting for the grants in the upcoming State Budget for its overall development. The residents have been demanding an overhaul of the tourism sector in the district.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is expected to present the Budget on March 13 and the people are anxious — as usual since the district’s bifurcation from undivided Mysuru in 1997.

Activists claim, Chamarajanagar is the only district in the whole of India, which has two tiger reserve forests and two wildlife sanctuaries. Almost 50 per cent of the total area of the district is covered by forests.

The tourist destinations include Bandipur, Biligiriranaga Tiger Reserve, Malemahadeshwara Hill, Himavadgopalaswamy Hill, Bharachukki falls, etc. But, there is no facility to reach these places from the district headquarters, they complain.

“Except for conducting Bharachukki Jalapathothsava, the State government has not taken any steps to develop the district. Out of the Rs 4.31 crore funds released by the Centre, only Rs 1.40 crore has been spent since four years. The works are suffering due to the lack of coordination between the Tourism and Forest departments. The Hogenakal waterfalls area is also suffering due to similar reasons,” they said.

Pointing out that at least five lakh tourists visit the district every month, the activists said, the authorities concerned were not paying proper attention to give a boost to tourism here, but a lot of efforts were made in Kodagu to develop infrastructure, where the tourist footfall was not more than two lakh in a month on an average.

A Vision-2020 document was chalked out a few years ago to develop tourism in the district. However, no steps have been initiated to realise the vision.

The proposal in the last budget to develop a Tourism Circuit in the region — with Mysuru as the epicentre — is also still on the papers. The State government is expecting the Centre’s aid for the plan, activists and stakeholders point out.

Drinking water
Besides the city, villages in the Kollegal and Hanur region are facing acute shortage of drinking water, despite the fact that River Cauvery flows at least 110 km, bordering the district.

A proposal for the second stage of the works for providing Kabini River water from T Narsipur, to the residents of Chamarajanagar, costing Rs 198 crore, is pending before the government.

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