City SundayMysore

Please leave Mysuru alone as an international tourism destination

By Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

Everyday, Mysureans are hearing many superlative words like, mega, smart, world-class, industrial belt, IT zone, huge employment generatory unit, rope-way, extension of run-way for airport, etc., with proposed acquisition of thousands of acres of irrigable land from gullible farmers (1600 acres for Badanaguppe industrial area alone). Bombastic projections of investments running into thousands of crores of rupees with provision for a few hundred employment opportunities are being aired by every who is who in the Mysuru political circuit.

While development is a continuous process and needs to be planned well for future good of Mysuru district, Mysureans’ bitter experience is that authorities are neither qualified, experienced nor are they capable of successfully implementing even medium/small/mini projects like Raja Marga, JUSCO water supply, potholed roads, etc., leave alone mega projects. The latest being the setting up of a Semi-conductor plant by Israel at Kochanahalli, Kadakola industrial area – Investment Rs.22,900 crore, land required 150 acres, expected to create thousands of employment opportunities.

While Mysureans may welcome projects for improving tourism scenario with – creation of better roads, providing clean water and food supply at affordable rates, provision of dormitories/tourist homes, particularly for middle-class tourists (this segment is increasing every year and after the COVID pandemic scare, people are yearning to tour), reasonably priced hotels etc., in the hospitality industry, beautification of existing  and creation of new gardens in extensions of the city and in vacant Government lands, protection, preservation and conservation of lakes, infrastructure for water sports, it is better to completely avoid setting up of huge industries that create concrete jungles that spew CO2/GreenHouse Gases that aggravate climate change and global warming, discharge pollutants and toxic chemicals into our atmosphere, water bodies, rivers and lakes,

We have seen how the industrial zones created in Bengaluru in the 1980s and 1990s, have been converted into mega carbon-spewing concrete jungles by violating all terms and conditions of allotment of lands to industries by KIADB, (example: Rajajinagar Industrial Estate in West of Bengaluru – dubbed as the largest industrial hub in South-East Asia has been converted into housing and commercial concrete jungles, some industries have constructed huge marriage halls on their sites and are minting money, while the farmer who sold his fertile land was paid a pittance).

With the announcement of plans for industrialising Nanjangud belt and Mysuru, land costs have gone up considerably and the real estate lobbies have become hyper active.  Farmers may be tempted to surrender their livelihood lands for some lakhs of rupees but socio-economic benefit for the farming community will be short-lived and ultimately the neo-rich farmers are likely to fritter away their lumpsum amounts and most likely, return to their farming habits as landless labourers.  Creating data of their families for extending employment opportunities in the industries can at best be termed as an eyewash for assuaging the farmers to give up their lands without a whimper. These cannot be termed tourism-friendly developments by any stretch of imagination.

Bottom line:  Mysuru needs to be developed only as a tourism destination with industries/infrastructure that help in popularising local handicrafts, improve the livelihood of artisans, artwork, silk, improve farming of  Nanjanagud Balehannu, Mysuru Veelyadele, Mysuru Mallige, protect, preserve and conserve our palaces, lakes, and the unique Hillock Chamundi Hill and its surroundings.  Stop proposals for constructing multi-storied car parking in CBD area that would invite more vehicles into CBD thus polluting the pristine tourism environs.  We know that more than 40 per cent of revenue is generated in Mysuru by the tourism and hospitality industries. It is not clear why Mysuru and its pristine heritage glory are being eyed by temporary politicians who are here today and gone tomorrow and also officials who are transferred overnight by disregarding the emotions and sentiments of people living for centuries.   There are a any number of under-developed areas in North Karnataka that are crying for development and employment opportunities and air-conditioned factories can also be set up in such areas, not only in a tourist action place like Mysuru.  Finally, since we have witnessed how development can convert a pensioners’ paradise into a hell hole on earth, like in Bengaluru, please leave Mysuru alone.

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