By Hareesh K G
Economic development mainly depends on proper infrastructure. The availability of good infrastructure attracts entrepreneurs and investment. Not only for industrial sector, even for agricultural and service sector growth, infrastructure is very essential. All-season roads, uninterrupted power supply, good and efficient communication facility, proper health care facilities, provision of clean and pure drinking water facilities etc. play an important role in development. Investment in infrastructure builds human resource potentialities.
Are the people of Kodagu suffering from not-so-great infrastructure facilities? Yes, without doubt. But Kodagu has a complex problem. Often in the process of developing infrastructure nature gets a hit. Kodagu which is part of Western Ghat range is facing numerous hindrances in this aspect. As we all know, the only national highway which passes through our district is National Highway 275 which connects Mysuru with Mangaluru.
If readers could remember few weeks earlier we had discussed about other economic opportunities we have other than agriculture. But the main question is whether it is economically feasible? Whatever you produce, you have to market it. The size of the market inside district is too small. So, we have to send it out. The roads in our district are in pathetic condition. Proper storage facilities are also not available. To provide financial assistance for small scale and micro scale entrepreneurs, state and central governments have many plans like MUDRA and others. But all these plans are not reaching our people.
Even though we are living on the land of Kaveri, many towns are facing the scarcity of potable drinking water. Many plans are just on paper. Our representatives are failing miserably to make the projects materialise. Often many projects which were inaugurated are abruptly stopped. Today health care facilities in our district are not up to the mark. With a population around six lakhs, we have only two to three good hospitals, that too in private sector. For majority of treatments, we have to approach the hospitals outside our district. Our primary health care centres are ‘suffering from diseases’. Doctors are not willing to work in rural areas, moreover even the basic medicines are not available in those centres. This is a major area government should look into.
Power sector reforms should take place here. In monsoon, most parts of the district plunge into darkness, that too for a week or more. More sub power stations have to be established. Many villages of our district even today lack road connectivity. It is ridiculous to live in these conditions even after 70 years of independence.
In the era of information technology most parts of the district don’t have telephone connectivity. When we are expecting 5G to be launched, not providing a single G to rural area is not acceptable.
As I mentioned above, often sometimes when infrastructure development happens environment takes a hit. But how to develop sustainably is the key here. We can’t reject environment protection and at the same time development also. I strongly think that our representatives will not think differently. So, it’s the people, young minds to think differently and put their ideas in black and white. Public discussions should take place in this regard by keeping aside religion, caste, creed, gender bias and political affiliations.
(Hareesh K G is an Assistant Professor at First Grade College, Murnad, Kodagu.)