Lax Karnataka misses Centre's tourism bus

Lax Karnataka misses Centre's tourism bus

Swadesh Darshan

While many states across the country made use of the project to the best possible extent with multiple circuits, Karnataka is perhaps one of the few states which hardly figured in the list with no tourist circuit to boast of.

Squandering the potential for tourism, Karnataka seems to have failed to grab Centre’s attention under its ambitious Swadesh Darshan programme. Even as the neighbouring states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have benefited with maximum funds under the project, Karnataka has failed to derive benefits out of the project, according to a statement made by the Centre in Lok Sabha last week.

Though the Centre had sanctioned the lone project for developing a “Coastal Circuit” including Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts worth Rs 95.67 crore, the Union Ministry of Tourism had to drop the project “due to nil progress on the ground”.

The shocking revelation was made by the Centre in reply to a question on the subject by Bangalore South parliamentarian L S Tejasvi Surya.

Proposing to tap into India’s rich cultural, historical, religious and natural heritage which will attract lakhs of tourists and create jobs for locals, the Centre had launched Swadesh Darshan project in 2014-15 by pumping in several crores.

While many states across the country made use of the project to the best possible extent with multiple circuits, Karnataka is perhaps one of the few states which hardly figured in the list with no tourist circuit to boast of.

Later, realising the gaffe, the Karnataka government wrote to the Centre that “funds amounting to Rs 11.08 crore have been released to the executing agencies and work of Rs 24.12 crore approved under the scheme has been taken up for implementation”, according to the information provided by the central ministry.

The Central tourism minister stated in his reply, “Following its submission, we have asked the Karnataka government to submit all the details of the work allotted for implementation and payments made.”

When asked about the status, T K Anil Kumar, Secretary, Tourism Department told DH that they have been pursuing the project with the Centre. “We have submitted the revised proposal and owing to issues pertaining to the implementation, we could not complete the project earlier,” he explained.