Rs. 45-cr. phase one of development project gets Centre’s nod

Several beaches in Karnataka are set to get a facelift with the Union government approving Rs. 45-crore phase one of a project to develop tourism in ‘Coastal Karnataka Tourism Circuit’.

This is one of the four circuits identified in Karnataka for tourism development.

In Dakshina Kannada district, beaches at Uchila, Someshwar, Ullal, Tannirbavi, Panambur and Surathkal are likely to be taken up for development apart from some islands. They will get facilities such as approach roads, toilets, and watchtowers, according to sources in the Tourism Department.

While Director of Karnataka Tourism G. Satyavathi confirmed that the Centre has approved the Rs. 45-crore project, official sources said this was only the first instalment of the bigger project envisaging expenditure of about Rs. 500 crore to develop more than 140 beaches. In the next three years, about Rs. 150 crore is expected to be spent, with bulk of it coming from the Union government.

Though the plan was to provide cottages along the beeches, there is no government land outside the Coastal Regulation Zone (200 m away from the high tide line) in Dakshina Kannada. The department, however, hopes to encourage private players to build cottages for tourists.

Four circuits identified

A study conducted by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. for the government of India’s Tourism Department has identified four circuits for development in Karnataka. One of them, the Coastal Karnataka Tourism Circuit, comprises destinations in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Uttara Kannada districts along the coastline extending up to Goa.

The study said, “Based on the carrying capacity assessment, tourism potential, and discussion with the Department of Tourism, Karnataka, the Circuit 1 (coastal tourism) … has been proposed as the priority circuit.” It listed Mangalore’s good connectivity with domestic and international destinations via air, rail and road network as a key advantage. It said tourism destinations in the three districts have good connectivity with Mangalore, with NHAI having taken up the project to upgrade the national highway from Talapady to Kundapur into a four-lane road.

Key positives

Significant tourist inflows, diversity and quality of tourism assets in terms of beaches, scenic destinations, backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries and adventure tourism, and historical monuments were other key positives for the circuit.

The poor state of approach roads, and lack of drinking water facility, parking, food and beverages outlets, quality wayside amenities and public conveniences on the way to some of the tourism destinations were mentioned as weaknesses.

But the coastline circuit had significant potential for development of beach tourism, “given that Karnataka shares the same coastline with Goa and Kerala”, the study concluded.