Staff Correspondent

‘Surveys on eco-tourism potential being held’

HASSAN: Principal Secretary to the Tourism, Information and Kannada and Culture departments I.M. Vittal Murthy has said that Rs. 148 crore had been allocated for tourism development in the State for 2007. This was 10 times more than that allocated previous previously.

He told presspersons in Hassan on Monday, that the Government had released Rs. 1 crore to the Karnataka State Industrial Development Board, and had asked the officials to prepare an action plan for the State, including tourist circuits. In every district, amounts ranging between Rs. 2.5 crore to Rs. 5 crore would be spent on providing tourist infrastructure.

Mr. Vittal Murthy said the house where Jnanapith awardee Da. Ra. Bendre lived, and the Sadhana Keri, where the poet spent most of his days, in Dharwad, would be developed at a cost of Rs. 3 crore. Work would start from December 22, he added.

He said a hotel would be set up on the banks of the Yagachi in Belur, for which a 10-acre plot of land had already been given by the Irrigation Department. The backyard of the Belur temple would be developed at a cost of Rs. 4 crore.

In Halebeedu, the food craft industry would come up at Pushpagiri, for which the Union Government had already released Rs. 4.3 crore. Here, students would be trained in food craft, stewardship, and hospitality.

Mr. Murthy said the Government had decided to recruit 30 tourist executives — one in each district. Applications would be called for soon. He also said with regard to eco-tourism ventures, that surveys were being conducted to assess potential. They were also aimed at creating awareness on preserving the eco-system. The State had sent two projects to the Union Government, each comprising an outlay of Rs. 3 crore — one on the Western Ghats, and the other on the thick forests in Hassan district.

“We are also thinking of packages where people can stay outside the forest area, and go trekking inside, for wildlife education. Mr. Murthy also said the famous Angadi temple bordering on Chikmagalur and Hassan district was in dilapidated condition, and would be renovated at a cost of Rs. 1 crore.