MADIKERI: It is almost two months since the flood disaster struck Kodagu. While the rehabilitation process for flood-affected people is on, there is a growing concern among travel and tourism industry stakeholders about a huge drop in tourists visiting Kodagu after the tragedy in August.
Most residents who do not depend on tourism are vociferously stating this is the right time to reduce tourism pressure on the district and take corrective measures to avoid further tragedies in the future. The tourism industry folks are leaving no stone unturned in their campaigning efforts to convince the world that all is well in Kodagu and it is a safe place to visit.
Kodagu Connect collected opinion of a cross-section of people from Kodagu and this is what they had to say.
India is a country of hamlets with more than 60 percent of the geographical area consisting of villages. But the scenario is changing. As the migration towards cities is on a rise due to factors like employment and quality of life, urbanisation is gaining pace.
But the question is, are our cities scientifically planned? Cities and towns are expanding at an alarming pace. Factories are coming up, commercial buildings are being built by converting agricultural lands and the number of vehicles on roads are increasing by the day. Traffic gridlocks, air pollution, sewage issue, shortage of drinking water, increasing crime rate, and mushrooming slums are part of the growth curve.
MADIKERI: According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), heavy rains have been forecast for the coastal and south interior districts of Karnataka including Kodagu over the weekend due to a low-pressure trough that is expected to form over Arabian Sea.
A low pressure is likely to concentrate into a depression and move north-westwards to form into a cyclone, the bulletin from IMD said.
Four districts of Karnataka – Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Kodagu and Mysuru – received excess rainfall this year. Kodagu received the highest-ever daily rainfall when it recorded 300mm in a single day on August 17, 2018.
Neighbouring states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are also likely to receive heavy rain due to the low-pressure effect.
With its unique wild habitat, Kodagu is home to several endemic species of medicinal plants. Over the years these plants have become the true backbones of a wide range of local health traditions and hundreds of home remedies.
With the introduction of Allopathy in Kodagu, indigenous use of medicinal plants has taken a serious beating over the years. Despite all the affinity for ‘English medicines’, even now for ailments like jaundice and herpes many people in Kodagu prefer herbal medicines because natural products are safe and free from side effects.
Aadhi Kaveri, Igguthappa Travels, Subrahmanya, Gafoor Travels, Gowhar Travels, Panchakshari… rings a bell? Well, these are the names of private buses in Kodagu of the yesteryears. All these are part of nostalgia now.
Over the last few decades, many of the iconic buses have ceased operations while some of them have changed their names and in some cases the routes have been cancelled.
In the 1980s, residents of Kodagu would know the time of day by looking at the names of these buses at a particular location. The iconic Subrahmanya Travels shuttling between Virajpet and Madikeri was a bus etched in the memory of senior citizens. Even now, they have fond stories to tell about the driver, conductor and cleaner of that particular bus which was operational till 1990.
MADIKERI: Kerala’s fourth international airport, at Kannur, is expected to boost tourism in Kodagu. The airport located in Mattannur, just 58 km from Virajpet and about 90 km from Madikeri, will soon open for commercial operations. With the National Highway Authority of India planning to convert the road into a national highway, the travelling time will be reduced further.
In an interview with Kodagu Connect, V Thulasidas, Managing Director, Kannur International Airport, says increase in inbound tourists and export opportunities will improve the socio-economic conditions of Kodagu district.
There are not enough adjectives to explain the enchanting beauty of Kodagu, the tiniest district in Karnataka. Thanks to its exquisiteness, Kodagu has been seeing a tourism boom from the last two decades. As a result, too many home stays and resorts have sprung up across the district. The upgradation of Mysuru-Bantwal state highway 9 (now NH 275) a decade back saw mass flow of tourists into Kodagu from Bengaluru. With more than 15 lakhs tourists visiting Kodagu every year, the ecology of this district is under immense pressure.
An important point to be noted here is that many original inhabitants of Kodagu migrated to metros and some moved abroad. Those who purchased land here started to see monetary benefits from all nook and corners after their acquisition. As a result, many unauthorised structures were built to lure the tourists.
Increased footfall of tourists resulted in a surge of income for people who are directly or indirectly depending on tourism. On the other hand, natural resources of the district took a beating. With sustained pressure on resources to fulfil the need of visitors, the quality of these resources deteriorated.