Forests and Villages around Madikeri Town. Image By Rameshng via Wikimedia Commons
The Coorg Investors Meet which concluded at Madikeri on Monday is turning out to be a murky deal. The meet involved govt entertaining investors who want to invest in Coorg and govt proposing to offer lands to them around Madikeri. According to the news reports, 25,000 acres around Madikeri are up for grabs. Cauvery Family and other NGO’s are crying foul, and the deal between the Govt and the Investors itself seems to be a Hogwash.
Most of the land around Madikeri is either Forest preserves or Agricultural land, Govt is saying that they will only sell Govt land to the investors and private lands will not be acquired. The reality seems to be quite different.
Madikeri MLA and Sports Minister, Appachu Ranjan who was present at the meet on Monday said:
the government land would be given for investors to set up their units in Kodagu. No private land will be acquired. The people of Kodagu need not worry over land acquisition.
And the Chief Minisiter Jagadish Shettar pointed out at the meet that:
Eco-friendly and agro based industries should be set up in Kodagu.
Stating further that:
We need to conserve environment along with carrying out development activities. We will give emphasis to industries which do not harm environment.
But on the other hand Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry and Kodagu District Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which facilitated and the meet and will “will act as a facilitator between investors, locals, and government agencies” have something totally different to say about it.
On December 5th the FKCCI president K Shiva Shanmugam told the reporters that;
“We want to encourage investment in Kodagu, as it will help in its overall development. Preliminary meetings have been conducted with locals, and many of them have agreed to support environment-friendly medium-scale ventures.”
The same day the president of FKCCI further stated that:
We have come out with proposals like hi-tech nursery, residential schools, bee-keeping, garment firms, food-processing industry, cold-storage facility, IT industries, besides those tapping the district’s rich tourism potential by providing facilities at all tourist spots. These projects are viable and will not harm the nature in anyway.
We have taken many land owners into confidence, and they have shown interest in sharing their property to establish industries.
While Govt on one hand claims that Ec0-friendly and Agro based industries will be set-up and no private land will be acquired, on the other hand the FKCCI is opening claiming that they will acquire private lands and the investors can utilize the land for “garment firms, food-processing industry, cold-storage facility, IT industries, besides those tapping the district’s rich tourism potential”.
While on one hand the Chief Minister talks about “giving emphasis to industries which do not harm environment”, the FKCCI is encouraging “Garment Firms and Cold Storage Facilities” to be set-up.
Garments Firms are NOT at all “environmental friendly”. Plus, in such a mountainous place like Coorg, which lacks connectivity through good roads and electricity supply, how can IT Industry flourish?. Where is the infrastructure for industries ?
The deal seems to be to acquire land and hoard it, for the benefit of few. The only other viable industry that seems can come up on the lands that Govt proposes to dole out to the investors, would be Tourism. But if Govt is honest then they need to first develop the infrastructure and then think about giving away the land. But the way the Govt is going about it, by not letting the public know the truth and the whole truth, the deal seems to be jinxed for forests, agriculture and public at large.
Everyone is being taken for a ride.