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.
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.
Education is the crest gate of the potential reservoir called human resource. With a country of over 1.3 billion population, it is an uphill task to provide quality education to students at an affordable cost. A large amount of capital from our national income has to be spared on education.
If we confine our study to Kodagu district only, the educational setup is satisfactory. We have 15 degree colleges, a post-graduation centre in Chikka Aluvara near Somwarpet, and at two degree colleges we have post-graduation options. A B.Ed college is in Virajpet. We have two engineering colleges – one each in Halligattu near Ponnampet and Kushalnagar.
A dental college is situated in Virajpet. Just two years ago a government medical college was established in Madikeri. ITI colleges are there at three locations. We have a forestry college in Ponnampet. A Sainik school is also there. Even though we have so many educational institutions still we are lagging behind in providing technical and professional education in our district.
When there was no internet, no Netflix and no 200 plus entertainment channels on television, cinemas were the main source of entertainment for residents of Kodagu. In the 80s and 90s, movie going was merriment and an experience by itself. Many of us remember the joy of watching popular Kannada, Hindi and Tamil flicks at Kaveri Mahal and Basappa theatres in Madikeri.
However, it is sad to know that in 2018 only three cinema halls are functional in Kodagu. Kaveri Mahal in Madikeri, Woodland in Siddapur and Cineplex in Kushalnagar are the only existing theatres. Also, for company there is a cinema tent in Shanivarsanthe called Yashaswini.