Facilities at Jog will fall in place soon

Special Correspondent

Vittalamurthy says landscaping at the site will be taken up soon

SHIMOGA: Secretary to the Department of Tourism, Information, Kannada and Culture I.M. Vitthalamurthy said here on Monday that the Jog Management Authority had decided to complete the development work in and around the Jog Falls as a time-bound programme.

He told presspersons after reviewing the tourism-related activities in the district with officials and representatives of private agencies concerned that it was decided to complete the construction of the metals up to the bottom of the falls at a revised cost of Rs.1. 81 crore by May 31.

He said that Deputy Commissioner T.K. Anilkumar would monitor the progress of work being implemented by the Department of Public Works every month. He said there was no paucity of funds and that the work was already under progress.

He said the landscaping of the Jog Falls to be taken up at a cost of Rs. 4.09 crore would be started immediately after the Finance Department accorded it formal approval.

He said that the work would be entrusted to the Karnataka Housing Board.

He said the houses surrounding the shops would be shifted elsewhere as they had posed a pollution problem. He said that Rs. 8 lakh had been released for this.

Admitting that the development of the Jog Falls was not to the expected level, Mr. Vittalamurthy said some of the structures belonging to the Tourism Department would be transferred to the Jog Management Authority for maintenance. He said that some projects would be entrusted to the private agencies on the basis of “build own operate and transfer” (BOOT) and added that the Expression of Interest for it would be called for next month.

He said it had been decided to make the food items of different regions in the State available at Jog Falls at affordable cost taking into consideration the fact that a majority of the visitors were from middle class families.

Asked about the proposed ropeway between gorges of the valley of the Jog Falls, he said the Expression of Interest for it would be called for before January 15. He said that 60 acres of land earmarked for the development of the garden on the model of the Brindavan Garden at Jog of which 30 acres would be utilised for developing the garden and another 30 acres for developing other amenities.

Mr. Vittalamurthy said that the Centre had sanctioned Rs. 3.5 crore for it. He said that the pictorial exhibition of photographer Keshav Vitla on the famous water falls would be held in Bangalore next month.

He told the review meeting that Jog would be developed into a major tourist centre with the help of the local people. There had been a delay in completing the development works in and around Jog. “There should be no further delay in completing them,” he said.

The former Minister D.H. Shankaramurthy suggested that there was a proposal to lay the ropeway to provide the view of the Jog Falls from a closer angle.

The Deputy Commissioner outlined the progress achieved so far in the development of Jog Falls.

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