Karnataka’s plan to turn Jog Falls into a tourist hub draws criticism

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The government plans to build several amenities for tourists, including a five-star hotel, and make the Jog Falls sustainable, the state tourism minister said.

The government of Karnataka recently announced plans to increase tourist traffic to Jog Falls in Shivamogga, making it a perennial waterfall and building new infrastructure in the area to accommodate increased crowds. The proposed project, estimated at Rs 185 crore, will include a five-star hotel, panoramic terrace, amphitheater, boating and other facilities. He also plans to release 200 cusecs of water into the rain-fed falls, to ensure that its splendor can be experienced throughout the year. However, it drew heavy criticism from environmental activists and prominent state writers.

During his visit to the Shivamogga district on June 25, the State Minister of Tourism, CP Yogeshwara, said that the tenders for the construction of the tourist facilities were finalized and that the works will be undertaken by Karnataka. Power Corporation Limited.

Prominent writer Kannada, Dr Na D’Souza, artist HG Aruna, power policy analyst Shankar Sharma, as well as renowned environmental activists Akilesh Chipli, Ajay Sharma and others said the project Jog Falls development was ecologically destructive. “This is a disaster in the making as construction activities could trigger landslides. Slope stability is a major concern in this environmentally sensitive region and this project could also alter the ecosystem,” said Dr Na D ‘ Souza in a video message. He added that Jog attracts people for his natural beauty and should stay that way, and the government’s proposed plan is poorly thought out.

Energy policy expert Shankar Sharma observed that the grandiose plan to release 200 cusecs of water to Jog Falls from the Linganamakki hydroelectric reservoir to ensure that the splendor of Jog Falls was available throughout the 365 days of ‘a year in itself is a misconception.

“In the first phase, 200 cusecs of water will be released from the Linganamakki hydroelectric reservoir on government holidays and the amount of water released will be increased to 300 cusecs per day. How to do it without causing large-scale destruction of the environment? “, he asked, adding that the region is one of the eight most environmentally sensitive regions of the country.

Famous artist HG Aruna agreed that the project would harm the region’s ecology. “Jog Falls does not only belong to the people of Karnataka, but they belong to the whole world. We must not spoil the natural beauty associated with it,” he said.

Environmental activist Akilesh Chipli said it was a disaster in the making, as construction activities could trigger landslides and slope stability is a major concern. “KPCL and the Jog Management Authority will do a grave injustice to the inhabitants of the region by dancing to the tunes of their political masters. It would be even more of a disaster if the forestry department of Karnataka gave in to the demand of the deputy for Shivamogga, BY the demands of Raghvendra, “he said.

A statement from the United Conservation Movement said the Karnataka government’s plan to develop Jog Falls like Niagara Falls in the United States and Canada will not work. He explained that the United States and Canada have a much larger area of ​​forest landscape than India, and that “disrupting the existing ecology for the sole purpose of attracting more tourists is just an injustice. blatant towards ecologically sensitive regions like the Western Ghats.

On June 25, Minister Yogeshwar declared that two hotels to accommodate 1,000 tourists would be established in the region. He also announced that Jog Falls will be part of the ambitious Karnataka helitourism circuit.

Justifying the project, the minister said that the tourism and hotel industry contributes 14.85% to the state’s GDP and directly and indirectly employs more than 50 lakhs.

(With contributions from the agency)


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