Staff Correspondent

Terms and conditions are being finalised, says official

There are 10 Assistant Directors of Tourism for 27 districts Jungle Lodges and Resorts at Dubare to be inaugurated by May Plea to link Kodagu by rail till Kushalnagar Investors' meet to be held in Madikeri in July

Madikeri: Six tourism projects in the State will be offered for public/private participation within a month's time, Commissioner for Tourism Yogendra Tripathi said here on Saturday.

Addressing an interaction meet here on tourism, organised under the aegis of Coorg Tourism and Coffee Festival Committee, Mr. Tripathi said the process of laying down terms and conditions were being finalised. Projects included hotels, some of which have now become defunct.

He said that shortage of officers and staff had hit the functioning of the Department of Tourism. There were 10 Assistant Directors working for 27 districts.

The Department of Tourism considered Kodagu as an important tourism destination, Mr. Tripathi said, adding private initiative for developing tourism in the district had paid rich dividends.

However, while involving private parties in tourism development in Kodagu, maintaining ecological balance and environment must be given utmost care, he said. Local views would have to be elicited. Mr. Tripathi said the Jungle Lodges and Resorts facilities now under way at Dubare in the district would be inaugurated either by the end of April or May.

Mr. Tripathi said tourists from Bangalore would be goaded to visit Kodagu too.

The former Minister M.M. Nanaiah, who inaugurated the seminar, called upon all concerned to tap the potential for improving tourism of the district without endangering the environment.

Commissioner of the Department of Information K.V.R. Tagore suggested to the District Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the FKCCI to chalk out plans and develop tourism in phases in Kodagu.

Chairman of the United Planters Association of South India (UPASI) E.B. Sethna, who spoke on cultivation of organic coffee, said 24 million hectares of land had come organic cultivation in the world.

That included fruits, vegetables and other agriculture products.

The extent of organic farming in Asia was very low. India's share in organic farming was only 0.3 per cent of the total area in the world, Mr. Sethna said.

General secretary of the District Chamber of Commerce G.Chidvilas, who read out a memorandum that was handed over later to Mr. Tripathi, said a Rs. 5.5 crore was granted to Kodagu for development of tourism in 2003, but none of the projects listed were implemented.

Participants suggested that Kodagu be linked to rail services till Kushalnagar. President of the FKCCI S. Babu said he would convene an investors' meet in Madikeri in the second week of July. Chairman of the Coorg Tourism and Festival Committee S.R. Mehroz Khan welcomed the gathering. Ejaz Ahmed Sait and Lakshmi Kamat of the FKCCI were present.

Festival inaugurated

The Coorg Tourism and Coffee Festival was inaugurated on Friday evening by Madikeri MLA K.G. Bopaiah. C.S. Arun Machaiah, MLC, was the chief guest