There’s a Tourism expo going on in Mysore for two days, given the name “Karnataka: One state, Many Worlds”. Whatever that means! It is hosted by the Karnataka State Government Tourism Department and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Known as FICCI in India). Several delegates from around the Country and outside India have arrived to take part in the tourism fair. The event was opened by the young Chief Minister of the State and was a perfect venue for important people to make outlandish sound bites. I don’t want to be too cynical, but, due to the history of people making tall promises that can never be implemented (for reasons best known to the people blowing hot air), it is but natural to remain a skeptic.
Here’s what I culled from a local (Mysore) news website:
I quote the newspiece: “Speaking on the potential of tourism in Karnataka, L. Shanthakumari, Principal Secretary, Department of Information, Tourism and Youth Services, remarked that Karnataka could be seen as an expanding tourist destination. A proposal had been made to the Centre for creating an International Airport at Mysore, she disclosed.” (I did a double take when I read this part).
She continues, and I quote: “The number of tourist was rising given the fact that on national basis it was 2.13 crore in 2004-05 while it was 2.3 crore during 2005-06 upto February 2006 itself, she explained. As far as tourists from abroad were concerned, their number was 1.82 lakh during 2004-05 while it rose to 3 lakh in 2005-06. We are expecting more than 6 crore tourists to Karnataka from different parts of the country and more than 5 lakh from abroad during the coming financial year," Shanthakumari explained. Out of 116 recognised tourist destinations, 36 did not have the facilities of mini-connect circuits and other basic facilities, she disclosed.”
Fabulous statistics there, Madam and thanks for the same. Heartening to know that there are number crunchers in the tourism department, if not for anything else. The cynic in me has to think hard about this because we don’t even have the earlier proposed domestic airport yet after decades of false promises from "earnest" politicians. The work that was to begin (again)late last year and postponed several times, has still to start in right earnest, now that it is middle of May. Here is an official who makes claims that cannot be followed up. Remember my previous article on Mysore Airport? The runway and terminal is to be designed to handle an Aircraft that has around 50 seat capacity. Most turboprops can be operated in and out, just to refresh readers’ memories.
Where’s the additional land going to come from, in order to put in a runway of at least 8,000 feet (double the length proposed at the moment for the domestic Aircraft operations). Lots of questions will come up from now on.
I question the insipid media and their inability to ask tough and relevant questions to the lady that made the statement. Could they not come up with normal questions that I have put above? The local print media has failed us again, reporting only sound bites (or hot air as applicable) without asking questions on behalf of their readers. The domestic airport issue has not been tackled yet and here is an important person making false promises. I don’t know what FICCI representatives were doing, whether they have asked the relevant questions or kept quiet. A journalist friend wrote to me on another subject and I quote “We are generally a gutless people, Indians at large. Intellectuals are the greatest culprits” and I think it applies here.
When Mysore gets an International Airport, although I’d be the first one to support a project like it, will be the day the Nandi Bull (a large stone monolith on Chamundi Hill in Mysore) will stand up, let out a loud bellow and runs down the hill, signaling the end of the World as we know it (tales from our childhood about "Pralaya"-end of the World).
Happy dreams Mysoreans!