The team, led by Vishwanath, will meet Sonia Gandhi to discuss development of the district
‘Growers must be thankful to the Centre for considering coffee for debt relief'
Vishwanath stresses on promotion of tourism
in Kodagu district
Madikeri: Mysore MP A.H. Vishwanath said here on Saturday that he would lead a delegation of representatives of all political parties and members of various organisations to New Delhi, to seek a comprehensive economic package ensuring all-round development of Kodagu district.
Speaking to presspersons here, Mr. Vishwanath said he met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Friday in this regard. Ms. Gandhi had agreed to meet the delegation, he added.
Asked if he would talk to representatives of other political parties, Mr. Vishwanath said he would not consider party affiliations when it came to development of Kodagu. He would seek the cooperation of all parties.
During the meeting with Ms. Gandhi, the MP thanked the Congress president for her help in expediting the Rs. 363-crore coffee debt relief package, which was announced by the Centre recently.
Despite the dissatisfaction among some growers, it should be accepted that the package helped planters, he said. Coffee growers must be thankful to the Centre as it had picked only coffee for debt relief, he added. However, he agreed that benefits should have been considered for those who were prompt in loan repayment.
Mr. Vishwanath stressed the need for promoting tourism in Kodagu. It should be thought of as an alternative source of income, instead of depending only on cultivation of specific crops, he said.
On the objection of environmental groups to the laying of a rail line in Kodagu, he said: “We do not want people from outside the district to come and preach on the environment in Kodagu.”
But, their concerns would be looked into, he added.
Referring to the gram panchayat elections, Mr. Vishwanath said it was only the Congress that had the moral right to seek votes for all elections. The gram panchayats were the “first line of government”, he said and added that the Congress contribution to the development of rural India was immense and unparalleled.
T. John, MLC; the former Minister M.M. Nanaiah; Kodagu Congress president Veena Achaiah; party spokesman T.P. Ramesh, and local party leaders V.P. Suresh, Pemmaiah, Tara Aiyamma were present.