MLA Raghupati Bhat said on Tuesday that a task force comprising representatives from private sector should be set up to exploit the tourism potential of Udupi district. He was inaugurating the World Tourism Day function organised by the district administration and other organisations here.

Mr. Bhat said the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms had become a hindrance for the development of tourism in the district. Costal Regulation Zones had not been drawn up in a scientific manner.

The hospitality industry was deeply affected because of the CRZ norms as businessmen could not invest near the coast. “The CRZ norms are affecting the growth of tourism in the district,” he said.

Tourist spots in the district were suffering because of lack of basic facilities. The Government had allotted Rs. 2 crore for the construction of a jetty at Malpe and at St. Mary's Island. Both of them had got stuck up for technical reasons. It was yet to be decided whether a floating or a permanent jetty should be built.

An amount of Rs. 1.6 crore had been allocated for the preservation of Sural Mud Palace, about 30 km from Udupi. Plans were on to throw the Heritage Village in Manipal open to the general public. About Rs. 1.3 crore had been allotted for the development of Malpe beach. About Rs. 3 crore spent on the erection of a statue of exponent of Dwaita philosophy Sri Madhwacharya at Malpe beach, Mr. Bhat said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner M.T. Reju said the administration would come up with a new logo and a caption to boost tourism.

The Western Ghats and the sea coast also made the district an attractive tourism destination. Besides temples, the district also had rich cultural forms including buffalo race. “We want to showcase Udupi district in a wider manner as a tourism destination”, he said