K.V. Subramanya

CHICKABALLAPUR: To make Nandi Hills more tourist-friendly, the Department of Horticulture will set up a food court at a cost of Rs. 80 lakh at the hill station, billed as Karnataka’s Ooty.

A landscape artist has prepared a plan for the open-air food court on the lines of a similar one in Singapore. The Department of Horticulture, which maintains the hill station, has sent the project estimate to the Public Works Department for cost certification and, the work would commence shortly, Mahantesh Murgod, Special Officer, Nandi Hills, said.

The proposed food court would come up on the picturesque zigzag lawn next to the old school building. All kinds of vegetarian food, beverages, bakery products, ice-creams and fresh fruit juices would be available at the food court, which would become operational in a couple of months, Mr. Murgod told The Hindu.

Once the food court starts functioning, the existing eateries and restaurants at the hill station, except Maurya Pine Top run by Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, would be closed. The establishment of the food court would help tourists in getting variety and quality food at a reasonable price at one place. It would also prevent the increasing littering at the hill station, he explained.

To provide entertainment to tourists, a band stand would be constructed at Nandi Hills. During weekends and holidays, the Department of Horticulture, in association with the Department of Kannada and Culture, would organise cultural programmes at the band stand. The band stand would come up in the three-and-a-half acre grove, which has hundreds of eucalyptus trees and rain trees in addition to flowering plants. The band stand would be constructed out of the Rs. 30 lakh sanctioned by the Department of Tourism. To prevent the increasing congestion and pollution at Nandi Hills, four-wheelers would not be allowed once the ongoing work on the parking stand near the entrance is ready.