Says Kannada and Culture Minister Sunil Kumar in Legislative Council
Madikeri: The Kodava Heritage Centre that is being constructed at Vidyanagar near Madikeri will be completed by the end of this July.
This was stated by the Kannada and Culture Minister Sunil Kumar in the Legislative Council on behalf of Tourism Minister Anand Singh. Sunil Kumar was replying to the question raised by Congress MLC from Kodagu Shantheyanda Veena Achaiah.
The Minister said that the Kodava Heritage Centre works were initially taken up at an estimated cost of Rs. 2.68 crore and as the costs have escalated, the State Government revised the cost to Rs. 3,30,45,110.
Mentioning that COVID-induced lockdown, unseasonal rains and shortage of labour on most of the days in 2020 had resulted in the inordinate delay of the project, he said most of the physical works have been completed and the State was awaiting a work completion certificate from the contractors.
Taking objection to the Minister’s casual statement, Veena Achaiah told him sarcastically that the rainy season had already started in Kodagu and if needed, the works could be completed next year.
She was indicating the much-delayed project that has seen many roadblocks though the idea was conceptualised way back in early 2000 when Rathi Vinay Jha, an IAS Officer (now retired) from the Codanda family, was the Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in New Delhi.
However, the Minister took the sarcasm in his stride and told the MLC that the State Government had tremendous respect for the Kodavas and their rich heritage. “Works will be completed by the end of July and we will hold a gala event to mark the occasion. Even you will be invited,” the Minister said.
From 2004 to 2022
Later speaking to newsmen, MLC Veena Achaiah said that she has been raising the issue of the Kodava Heritage Centre for the last three years and has been getting similar stock replies. The foundation stone was laid on Sept. 21, 2011.
“The project was sanctioned by the Centre in 2004 and the works started in 2013 and Rs. 2.68 crore has been spent so far. The contractor has got Rs. 1.70 crore and he abandoned the project midway and now steps have been taken to recover money from him and also blacklist him. Rs. 2 crore has been wasted in the project and as Kodagu is a tiny district, it is always neglected. Even whatever minimum grants that are released are not utilised properly,” she rued.
Minister Anand Singh outlines details
Minister for Tourism Anand Singh said that in the Kodava Heritage Centre, there will be two Ainmanes (traditional Kodava ancestral homes) for which the roofing has been completed along with the construction of an entry point, kitchen, steps, amphitheatre, library, doors and windows.
Electrification has been completed and a 25 KV transformer has also been installed. “Rs. 47.91 lakh has to be released. Rs. 29 lakh has been released as the fifth instalment for the works and the contractor has to provide the certificate for fund utilisation, photos of works completed, quality inspection by a third-party agency and other documents,” he said and added that the remaining amount will be released after the contractor fulfils all mandatory requirements.