Tourism: Karnataka is behind in use of central funds

Tourism: Karnataka is behind in use of central funds

A view of the Om beach in Gokarna. So far, 15% of the central funds have been sanctioned for the state's coastal circuit. But the project is yet to take off. dh file photo

Looks like Karnataka is yet to catch up on the tourism front to increase revenue and get more tourists, officials from the Union Ministry of Tourism (MoT) have said.

While other states are creating multiple tourism circuits and seeking funds from the Centre, Karnataka is yet to finalise even one. Since 2014, Karnataka has not finalised its coastal circuit, under the Swadesh Darshan circuits, funded by the Centre.

“Karnataka is yet to finalise its details on the coastal circuit. So far they have only spoken about it with the ministry, but nothing has been finalised. Karnataka is lagging behind other states,” Mohamed Farouk, director, Indiatourism, MoT, Bengaluru, told DH.

He said Karnataka is slow when compared to other states in coming up with plans and finalising them. It seems like they are busy with many projects and will take them up one at a time.

Under Swadesh Darshan programme, each state can create 15 circuits on various themes like tribal, rural, environment and religious. The Centre can sanction up to Rs 100 crore for the circuits.

“All that Karnataka has to do is come up with a proper working plan and the funds will be given. So far, 15% of the amount has been sanctioned for the coastal circuit. But the project is yet to take off,” Farouk said.

Only Dasara, Hampi

Another official from MoT said while the state was promoting Dasara in foreign countries, it should lay more stress on domestic tourism, improving infrastructure and new projects.

“The focus of Karnataka is only at Hampi, where United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Orgsanistion (Unesco), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) along with state and central tourism departments are already on the job. But that is not all in Karnataka. We have sanctioned Rs 100 crore for excavation, site restoration and tourism in Hampi. Karnataka tourism should work on more projects as it has the potential,” the official added.

Reacting to this, a senior Karnataka tourism department official said, “Since the minister and director have changed, things have slowed down. Apart from being new, they are travelling most of the time. Things are happening, but are slow.”