Train eludes Kodagu district time and again

The proposal of the Central Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in the previous railway budget of conducting route survey to provide Kodagu with railway connectivity has remained only as a proposal yet. It has been nearly a year since the railway budget was proposed. As criticised by the Opposition parties, the delay in survey work shows the railway minister’s interest being limited to her home State West Bengal, thus ignoring other states.

Dating back to the tenure of Karnataka based Railway Minister C K Jaffer Shariff, the State was allotted with satisfactory fund for laying new railway tracks. Later, nothing great happened in favour of the State during the tenure of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav. The survey work in Kodagu could be completed if the Railway Minister for the State H Muniyappa from Kolar makes a move in this regard. All it requires is sheer willingness.

When the decision was taken to conduct survey work for Mysore-Kushalnagar-Madikeri railway route, there were pro and con voices that were raised. If a group welcomed the railway’s decision, a set of environmentalists opposed it claiming that laying the railway tracks would destroy the forest and coffee estates in the district. However, the opposition was calmed down with MP H Vishwanath informing that railway connectivity would be limited to Kushalnagar. Almost forgotten railway track construction news, has now come to the forefront, with H Vishwanath announcing that Minister Mamata Banerjee would discuss about the matter at the regional-level railway officers meeting to be held at Mysore.

Kodagu, despite being recognised as the tourism district has not developed up to the expectations. In fact, the district lacks railway connectivity which is a major setback for the district to be developed as a preferred tourist destination.

There is no obstacle on the way of constructing railway track till Kushalnagar. The Central government does not have to plead the Environment and Forest Department for the construction of the railway track as the envisaged route will pass through the plain land. The introduction of railway in Kodagu district would be convenient for the tourists as well as the coffee planters. Moreover, the public can travel to Mysore, Bangalore and other places at minimal cost.

Though coffee is exported from Kodagu to abroad in bulk quantity, the transportation process is complex as the coffee has to be either sent to Kochi or Bangalore to be transported to abroad.

Connecting Kodagu with railway track would solve this problem to a large extent.
Thus, Kodagu citizens are hoping the Central Railway Minister’s nod for starting the survey work, in the regional meeting to be held in Mysore.

If the public put pressure on the MP and the Central Minister in this regard, there would not be much delay in ‘railway’ dream becoming a reality in Kodagu.


Mahila Okkoota stages stir against price rise

Shouting slogans against the State and Central government, they alleged that the government has failed to take any action against the price rise and as a result,common men are facing problems. The prices of the necessary commodities should be cut down. The Government should form strict import and export policies. They urged for the punishment of those who are involved in black market in the national and international market scenario.

Janata Bazars must be opened and maintained by the government so as to allow the common public to purchase basic commodities such as rice, vegetables, sugar, ragi and wheat in a balanced rate, they insisted.

Their other demands included, to fix the annual income of BPL families as Rs 30,000 and to provide quality food materials to the ration card holders. The protesters submitted a plea to the CM through Assistant Commissioner Dr M R Ravi.


‘Job scheme funds for Kodagu to be spent by March’

Madikeri: The progress of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGREGA) scheme in Kodagu was the focus of discussion at the Karnataka Development Programme (KDP) review meeting held here on Monday with emphasis on spending the remaining nearly Rs. 40 crore available by March, 2011.

The president of the zilla panchayat, Kanjitanda Anita, presided over the meeting.

When Manu Muthappa, president of the Zillla Panchayat Standing Committee on Health and Industry, sought to know the progress, officials said Rs. 10.66 crore was spent under the scheme in the three taluks in Kodagu till December, 2010.

In Virajpet taluk, Rs. 4.86 crore was spent; in Somwarpet taluk, Rs. 3.62 crore was spent; and in Madikeri taluk, Rs. 2.18 crore was spent.

About Rs. 54 crore was approved for Kodagu under the scheme in 2010-11.

Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat N. Krishnappa said the remaining Rs. 40 crore would be utilised by March. Officials of Social Forestry, Horticulture, and Animal Husbandry departments received flak from Ms. Anita for not giving proper replies concerning the progress of their departments.

Mr. Krishnappa told the Social Forestry Department official to keep in touch with the zilla panchayat with regard to raising saplings in the nurseries for distribution among farmers in the gram panchayats.

The Executive Officers (EOs) of the taluk panchayats were clueless when the issue of taking up elephant-proof trench (EPT) works in the forest areas to check elephant menace came up for discussion.

Mr. Muthappa reprimanded the deputy secretary of the zilla panchayat, Basavarajappa, for not gathering information from the EOs. Chief Planning Officer, B.L. Siddaiah, was taken to task by Mr. Muthappa and Mr. Krishnappa for not furnishing compliance report of the previous meeting with Ms. Anita.

The officials were asked to furnish correct information within half an hour.

The issue of collecting milk from the farmers through the cooperatives in Virajpet and Madikeri taluks figured in the meeting.

 – The Hindu