Best wishes on being named candidates for BJP (Pratap Simha) and Congress-JD-S (C H Vijayshankar) combine for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Mysuru-Kodagu Lok Sabha constituency. As you would know, Kodagu and Mysuru are two different regions having different necessities, requirements and even goals.
We, at Kodagu Connect, asked our readers to list out their expectations from the new Member of Parliament who will represent them from 2019 till 2024. Here are some of the issues which were raised by them.
Thanks to its tourism tag, Kodagu has undergone development way beyond its carrying capacity. Resorts, hotels and commercial construction activities are on the rise by converting agricultural land into commercial use. Rules are being flouted and norms ignored threatening the fragile ecosystem of the district. Some reports claim around 2,800 acres of land were converted for commercial purposes in last 10 years in Kodagu. Strict rules and regulations are needed to contain this menace so that environment of district is protected.
Kodagu is not only known for its natural beauty and hospitality but also for its cultural diversity. The district is home to people with different cultures and rituals. That is why Kodagu definitely has a place in the cultural map of India.
Even though we have a very rich and prosperous cultural heritage, we lag far behind in showcasing that to the outside world. The truth is that very few cultural programmes take place in Kodagu. One thing I want to make clear here is by mentioning cultural programmes, I am referring to pure classical dance or music, and not dancing to filmy or DJ music.
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.
A few days back Karnataka government unveiled a proposal to construct a 125-feet tall statue of ‘Mother Kaveri’ at Brindavan Gardens in Krishna Raja Sagar reservoir near Mysuru at a cost of Rs 1,200 crores. The state government has claimed the statue will be a tribute to the river that is often called ‘mother’.
People of Kodagu are not happy with the announcement at this point of time when the district is yet to come to terms with the massive floods and landslides. Rehabilitation is going on at a slow place in the land of River Kaveri.
Recently we had book festivals in Bengaluru and Mangaluru. We all know that a book is the good friend of mankind. Is the youth generation in Kodagu reading enough books? The answer is a big no.
After electronic gadgets made inroads into our lives, we are all turning our back to books and libraries. In this competitive world, modern day parents are treating modern day children and students as machines of scoring marks. We have confined them only to text books. It is very surprising to observe that many teenagers don’t even know about literary giants. To me it’s very astonishing that majority of youngsters in Kodagu don’t know about the history of our district.
Kodagu is well known for defence personnel and sports achievers. Even though a tiny district, Kodagu has produced innumerable sporting icons over the years. A report recently said that over 50 players from Kodagu have represented Indian hockey team till date. Not only hockey, we have had brilliant sportspersons in other disciplines like athletics, tennis and badminton too.
From September to May Kodagu sees a lot of sports events ranging from hockey to cricket to volleyball. Track and field events are being organised every year. Thousands of young budding sportspersons participate in these.
One important question though. Does Kodagu have the appropriate or adequate sports infrastructure? Sadly, the facilities are not up to the mark. We have two turf hockey grounds, one each in Madikeri and Ponnampet. Few years ago, there was a public swimming pool in Madikeri, but today it is in a mess. Hockey is encouraged in Kodagu with many tournaments taking place around the year. But what about other sports? We have three sports hostels in our district. But the facilities available are not adequate.
Industrialise or perish is the modern-day phrase. For faster economic growth and to improve the standard of living, industrialisation has become necessary. Industries can be established in a geographical area where the administration can provide infrastructure like all-season road connectivity, railway lines, airports, 24×7 electricity etc. But in a place like Kodagu, it is a tough task to establish industries and also it is not advisable or feasible from the environment point of view.
What are the opportunities in Kodagu to generate revenue? Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of this land. But the fluctuation in the prices of agricultural products and persistent labour problems are major issues faced by farmers. Tourism is adding a substantial amount to Kodagu’s economy, but its negative impact on culture, geography and environment is hard to ignore.