By P.T. Bopanna
With the back-to-back landslides in the last two years and the pandemic throwing the normal life into disarray, Kodagu district in Karnataka should go slow on reopening the tourist spots.
Kodagu DC Annies Joy who chaired a meeting with the stakeholders on Monday, is awaiting the nod from the government for reopening the tourist spots such as Raja Seat in Madikeri.
The government has already allowed registered homestays, resorts and hotels to reopen on the condition that they follow the standard operating procedure.
The argument put forward by the stakeholders that since tourist spots had been reopened in Mysuru and the same be allowed in Kodagu, does not hold water in view of the extensive landslides which ripped apart landscape in several parts of the hilly district.
The road infrastructure which suffered major damages during the landslides has not been restored properly and only patch work has been done in most of the places.
It is not even a week since the monsoon set in on Kodagu that the road traffic was affected between Virajpet and Gonikoppal due to the failure of the administration to complete the work on a bridge.
It is a tragedy that every year the Kodagu district administration fails to complete the road works before the onset of monsoon.
As the road network is in a precarious condition in Kodagu, it is not advisable to allow tourist traffic in Kodagu. If it is the case of government that it should generate tourist revenue, the government should also make investments in tourism infrastructure.
Moreover, it is not safe to allow tourists into the district as the area has seen landslides in the last two years.
The administration has allowed 838 homestays, including 438 unregistered homestays awaiting approval, to operate in the district.
Meanwhile, there is opposition to the reopening of the homestays from the local people who fear the spread of the coronavirus.
Kundyolanda Ramesh Muddaiah, an activist of Napoklu has said: “The district administration should not allow the homestays to open till December end. The homestay owners too should cooperate. The lives of people should not be jeopardized for the sake of revenue.”
the situation could worsen, the district administration should immediately ban
the movement of heavy vehicles, especially timber-laden lorries.