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Karnataka - Mysore Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Heavy rush exposes brittle infrastructure

By Our Staff Correspondent

MYSORE, OCT. 24. The elephants, which remained the cynosure of all eyes during the Dasara, will take leave of the city and the caravan will roll on though the memories will linger among the tourists and the citizens. For, the success of the nine-day extravaganza has proved that the festival can be a boost to the tourism industry. Thanks to the publicity blitzkrieg, over 15 lakh people witnessed the Dasara festival-related events. But the unprecedented rush exposed the city's inadequate infrastructure.

The Union Minister of State for Tourism, Renuka Choudhary, has promised to promote Mysore as an international destination, the CII is selling the city through Mysore Travel Mart while a reputed travel agency in Bangalore brought in top executives and representatives of European travel industry and top travel writers.

Onus on Govt.

The onus is on the State Government to get its act together and have a policy in place to develop infrastructure in Mysore. Though Metropole, a heritage hotel, is ready to cater to niche tourists, there is a need to have more accommodation. Two more heritage hotels — the Rajendra Vilas Palace and Hotel Krishnaraja Sagar at Brindavan Gardens — are likely to be opened for tourists soon. Thousands of tourists turned up from Bangalore to witness Dasara despite the pathetic condition of the highway. But this is only a temporary hitch; with the Bangalore-Mysore highway likely to be repaired by June and the doubling of railway track to become a reality in a few years, there is likely to be a tremendous increase in tourist inflow.

Steep entry tax

Again, there is a need to rationalise the entry tax for tourist buses coming from other States. As a majority of the tourists are from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, it is only logical that the tax regime is more tourist-friendly if the sector is to flourish. Ms. Renuka Choudhary did highlight this point during her recent visit to Mysore. She said the entry tax and luxury tax in Karnataka were among the highest in India.

Once the Government takes steps to solve these problems, the focus will shift to the civic body, which had to provide basic infrastructure and amenities for the benefit of tourists.

Water supply

Drinking water supply could be a major problem if water supplied to the city was not augmented, especially during summer when a large number of tourists from north India prefer to visit Mysore to escape the heat.

Manjunath Bhat, Chief Executive Officer of Benaka Tourism Marketing and Research Centre, said there was a dearth of qualified guides. A large number of touts, who masquerade as guides, cheat the visitors. Similarly, the question of changing the format of the Vijayadashmi procession will continue to haunt the authorities.

The former Minister H. Vishwanath had mooted the idea of revamping the Vijayadashmi procession by co-opting the Defence services to bring an element of discipline and variety to the show on the lines of the Republic Day parade held in Delhi.

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