Ministers, MP, officials discuss implementation of Centre’s PRASAD scheme
Mysuru: In the wake of Centre choosing the iconic Chamundeshwari Temple atop Chamundi Hill under its holistic Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) to develop without spoiling its surrounding ecosystem, a meeting was held at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office this morning to discuss the speedy implementation of the project.
The meeting was chaired by Mysuru District Minister G.T. Devegowda and was attended by Tourism Minister S.R. Mahesh, Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha, Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G. Sankar and a host of officials. PRASAD is a fully Central Government-funded scheme where Rs.100 crore will be granted towards development of temples.
Infrastructure Development Corporation-Karnataka (iDeCK) Limited is preparing a blueprint for the project and today, a power-point (PPT) presentation was made for projects that can be taken up with Rs.49.95 crore. A new eco-friendly and greenery-focussed development will take place atop the Hill.
As part of the project, the area around the Mahishasura Statue will be beautified along with landscaping. Support railings, rest rooms, shelters and toilets will come up along the steps and the Nandi Statue premises will be made greener.
The highlight of today’s meeting was the construction of a museum-cum-information centre (Integrated Interpretation and Command Centre). The PPT presentation mentioned the availability of 22 acres of Government land at the foot of the Hill where the museum can be established. The information centre will have a collection of resources that represent Mysuru and will give an idea to the tourists about the historical and mythical significance of Mysuru.
As part of the PRASAD project, parking of visitors’ vehicles will be shifted to the foot of Chamundi Hill and devotees can use powerful battery-operated vehicles to reach atop the Hill. No vehicle will be allowed up the Hill. “We will follow the Tirupati model where battery-operated vehicles are being used in a phased manner. The focus will be on maintenance of ecology and sustainable developmental activities including maximum utilisation of renewable energy,” Tourism Minister Mahesh told the meeting.
ABOUT PRASAD SCHEME
PRASAD is a fully Central Government-funded scheme where Rs.100 crore will be granted towards development of temples. The scheme was launched in 2014-15 by the Union Ministry of Tourism. It aims at integrated development of pilgrimage destinations in planned, prioritised and sustainable manner to provide complete religious tourism experience. It focuses on the development and beautification of the identified pilgrimage destinations.
The objectives of the scheme are to harness pilgrimage tourism for its direct and multiplier effect upon employment generation and economic development and enhance tourist attractiveness in sustainable manner by developing world-class infrastructure in the religious destinations.
DPR BY MONTH-END
Apart from beautifying the Hill, areas like Devikere and Uthanahalli, Nandi Circle, Gopura and viewpoints will be beautified to attract more and more tourists. The meeting resolved to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) by Feb.28 and call for tenders before the Lok Sabha Election Model Code of Conduct comes into effect. An inspection of the Chamundi foothill will take place tomorrow at 6.30 am where Minister Mahesh and officials will discuss the modalities of project implementation.
MUDA Commissioner P.S. Kantharaju, MCC Commissioner Shilpa Nag, Tourism Director Priyanka Mary Francis, Heritage Commissioner T. Venkatesh, Zilla Panchayat CEO Jyothi, DCP (Crime and Traffic) Dr. Vikram V. Amathe, Tahsildar T. Ramesh Babu and other officials were present.
Closed-door meeting with MRC officials
After the meeting to discuss Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme, Ministers G.T. Devegowda and S.R. Mahesh had a closed-door meeting with the officers from Mysore Race Club (MRC).
Later speaking to reporters, Mahesh said that the MRC officials were told to demolish illegal stables that have been constructed inside the Race Club. “Many times the MRC has been told to demolish the stables that have been illegally constructed in a Government land that has been given to MRC on lease. Despite this, they have not complied with the orders and deadlines have been violated repeatedly,” he said.
“What the MRC has done is illegal. They should make separate arrangements for horse stables. As horses are being housed here, the animals in the nearby Zoo are facing the threat of various diseases and infections. We have told MRC to obey the Government orders if it wants cooperation from the Government side,” the Minister added.