‘Declare the town as industrially backward’
Udhagamandalam: Having come a long way since the days it was referred to as the ‘hill village or little village’, Coonoor, the second largest of the three hill stations in the Nilgiris, is now a well known holiday destination.
However, since its infrastructural development is not commensurate with its growing popularity, residents have urged the government to evolve a comprehensive scheme to make the town more attractive to tourists and more comfortable for the locals.
In keeping with this, the Coonoor Citizens’ Forum (CCF) has come out with a document called ‘Vision of Coonoor’. A copy was recently submitted to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.
Pointing out that the long-term requirements of the town had been taken into consideration by technically qualified members of the CCF while preparing the document, its secretary D.Krishnarajan told The Hindu here on Saturday that the creation of a Greater Coonoor Municipal Area should be considered to ease congestion.
The town should be declared as industrially backward and Information Technology related projects promoted. For integrated tourism development of the Nilgiris a cable car project connecting Mettupalayam with Pakkasuran Malai and Mount Pleasant in Coonoor, BSNL Tower hill in Kotagiri and Dodabetta in Udhagamandalam should be implemented. While a museum on the Nilgiris with facilities to organise Light and Sound shows and an indoor theme park should be established in Coonoor, lesser known tourist spots such as Pakkasuran Malai, Highfield, Raliah Dam and Bandhumi should be developed.
Stating that the population of Coonoor now was about 66,000 and the existing water supply system had been designed to meet the needs of only 27,000, the document underscored the need to implement more water supply schemes. The storage capacity of the existing reservoirs should be increased.
The existing municipal bus stand constructed in 1960 was not capable of coping with the increasing demand. It should be extended by shifting the nearby Fire and Rescue Service station to a place near the Brindavan Public School.
The frequency of buses plying between Coonoor and Mettupalayam should be increased. The possibility of permitting private sector operators on the route should be explored. The Mount Road should be widened and more parking facilities provided.
An alternative road connecting Mettupalayam and Coonoor along the railway line should be laid. Though it would involve the construction of a couple of tunnels and a few bridges it would reduce the distance from 30 km to 20. The necessary expertise to execute the work was available in India itself. A well planned underground sewerage system should be provided and storm water drains improved.
Mr. Krishnarajan said that a town hall was a must for the town. The municipal market should be replaced with a modern facility. The Hill Area Building Rules should be changed and height restrictions lifted.