Tamil Nadu implements slew of tourist projects

Tamil Nadu implements slew of tourist projects

Karnataka has done nothing for tourists on Hogenakal island

The Hogenakal island, located on about 400 acres, is a prominent tourist destination. It attracts up to 10,000 tourists per day during summer. Besides waterfalls, many visit to have oil massage as the Cauvery water is believed to have medicinal properties.

The island is a disputed area as both the States are claiming it. Though, both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had agreed for a joint survey of the island in 2005 to settle the dispute, the Tamil Nadu Revenue Department has so far not attended even the preliminary meeting, let alone the survey.

Deccan Herald during its recent visit, found that the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Department has taken up a project to install railings on either side of the pedestrian paths and laying of red-coloured tiles on the island.

The changing rooms near the waterfalls are also being renovated. Recently, a watchtower was erected near the main falls, apart from the repair of the hanging bridge, which leads to the main waterfalls.

When the Tamil Nadu government took up these projects in 2005, the Karnataka Forest Department officials had raised objections.

Some of the Karnataka officers were even detained by Tamil Nadu at that time, which was first reported by this newspaper. With Karnataka Government taking strong exception to TN’s move and widespread protest by Kannada organisations, the TN government had suspended all the projects.

Unmindful of consequences

It looks now that TN has been implementing these projects unmindful of the legal consequences. Interestingly, the Karnataka Government has failed to notice these infrastructure projects though it has been opposing TN’s Hogenakal Water Supply and Fluorosis Mitigation project being implemented just a few meters away from the island.

The Tamil Nadu government has control over all tourist-related activities on the island. It has recently allowed the local fishermen to put up fish stalls on the island.

Besides, it collects Rs five per head to use the hanging bridge, Rs two per head to use fall view tower, Rs 100 for a coracle ride and Rs 10 for oil bath, earning good revenue.
This apart, TN has provided  facilities like guest houses, parking lots, public toilets and drinking water for tourists at Hogenakal village.

On the contrary, Karnataka has done nothing either on the island or on the undisputed area of its territory on the right bank of the river for sake of tourists. If one wants to reach the falls from Karnataka side, one has to take a Tamil Nadu coracle. Except for three or four huts, where only tea and biscuits are available, one cannot get anything on Karnataka side. So is the reason majority of tourists from Karnataka prefer to go to Hogenakkal from Tamil Nadu side -- via Dharmapuri.

Not come to notice

When contacted, Chamarajnagar Deputy Commissioner (in-charge) A M Yogeesh said TN implementing infrastructure project at the island has not come to his notice. “The island is a disputed area and no work can be taken up there. We are bit busy with Gram Panchayat elections. We will look into the issue,” he stated.