A comprehensive plan will be drawn up soon to develop Jog into a tourism hub, Minister for Tourism R.V. Deshpande has said.
The Minister, who is the chairman of the Jog Management Authority (JMA), was speaking at the general body meeting of the authority at Jog in Sagar taluk on Saturday. He said the jurisdiction of the JMA would be expanded by bringing tourism places in Shimoga and Uttara Kannada districts under its purview.
It has been planned to organise Jog Utsav every year on the lines of the annual cultural festivals being held in Hampi, Pattadakal and Banavasi. The event would provide a platform for local artistes to showcase their talent.
The comprehensive plan would lay emphasis on involving local people in tourism-related activities at Jog, Mr. Deshpande said. Outlets would be set up to sell handicrafts made by local artisans and food items prepared by members of self-help groups from nearby villages. A ropeway and a watch tower were also being planned at Jog, he added.
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Kagodu Thimmappa said after the construction of the Linganamakki reservoir across the Sharavati, Jog Falls had become a seasonal tourism spot as the waterfall becomes dry during summer. Water flow could be ensured round the year by introducing water recycling technology here, Mr. Thimmappa said.
He stressed on the need to beautify Jog by undertaking landscaping. A garden should be developed on the 60 acres of land belonging to the JMA downstream the Linganamakki reservoir, Mr. Thimmappa added.
Sagar Assistant Commissioner B. Udaykumar Shetty told The Hindu over phone that the meeting discussed the feasibility of conducting adventure activities such as rock climbing at Jog and programmes to sensitise tourists on the biodiversity of the region.
The meeting decided to create parking slots in four places at Jog and to design a package tour for people visiting Jog, covering nearby places such as Ikkeri, Banavasi, Keladi and Tyavarekoppa, Mr. Shetty added.
Additional Secretary of the Department of Tourism Arvind Jadhav and Shimoga Deputy Commissioner Vipul Bansal were among those who attended the meeting.