I was born in Madikeri. Having spent a good number of my initial years as a student in the district headquarters of Kodagu, I moved out of town in search of good education and suitable employment.
Having said that, I have never been able to detach my bond with this charming hill station and capital of Kodagu. The joy of coming back to this breathtaking view is hard to explain.
Considered by me as one of the most beautiful places on earth, I simply feel invigorated and uplifted the minute I step into Madikeri. As soon as the KSRTC bus touches Chain Gate from Kushalnagar side or Thalathmane from Sullia side, I am overwhelmed by the freshness of the air I breathe.
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.
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.
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.
MADIKERI: The Kodagu district administration has lifted the ban on entry of tourists to the flood-affected Kodagu from September 10. Rescue-cum-relief operations are going on in full swing in the district, which is reeling under rain havoc caused in the third week of August.
However, tourists are not allowed to visit Abbey Falls, Mandalpatti and Tadiyandamol as the road repair work is under progress.
Earlier, Deputy Commissioner P I Sreevidya had prohibited tourists from staying in hotels, resorts, home stays, guest houses and other private lodges and boarding homes till September 9.
“The re-construction and re-building of the affected areas and damaged roads are in progress and since rains have reduced considerably from the last five days, it has been decided not to further extend the ban,” the order stated.
A copy of the circular has been forwarded to Kodagu District Hotel and Resort Owners Association and Kodagu District Home Stays Association.