Ambitious Udyan Kashi tourism project under development at Hidkal Dam | Hubball News

Belagawi: Stakeholders in the tourism sector in North Karnataka are calling on the government to provide much-needed support to the industry in a region that boasts an abundance of natural and man-made attractions. To this end, the state government has begun work on the Udyan Kashi Comprehensive Amusement Park, teeming with biodiversity habitat, including a planetarium, at the site of the Raja Lahamgauda Dam, better known as the Hidkal Dam, which is just 54 km from Belagawi City.
In principle, Udyan Kashi will be modeled after the Brindavan Gardens at the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam in Mysore. However, the scale of the project, for which Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai allocated Rs 147 crore in his first budget, will be significantly larger than its counterpart in Mysuru. Karnataka Forest and Khukkeri MLA Minister Umesh Katty personally oversees the implementation of the project, which is being implemented in his constituency.
“Once it is completed, tourists not only from all over Karnataka, but from neighboring Maharashtra and Goa will also flock to Udyan Kashi,” Katty said.
As the Model Code of Conduct is currently in effect in connection with council elections, Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd (KNNL) officials are awaiting the completion of the vote to announce tenders for the project. While the government is expected to take responsibility for the development of most of the park, the reminder of the work is likely to be based on a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
Upon completion, Udyan-Kashi will house butterfly and bird parks, as well as a glass house, a science center, a planetarium, an outdoor theater and a musical fountain. In an effort to turn the site into a biodiversity-rich habitat, the authorities are planning to create a bamboo grove, a labyrinth garden, a Vedic healing park, and other similar attractions.
Cutty said attractions such as the zoo, aquarium, etc. will be developed under the PPP model. “We have already started planting seedlings in the area ahead of the rainy season. There are already 17,000 coconut palms growing in the Hidkal Dam area. Unlike KRS, Hidkal Dam has no area restrictions. In the first phase, we will transform 250 acres, and in the next phase we will expand the park by another 200 acres. The river system will help stimulate ecotourism,” Cutty told TOI.
KNNL executive engineer Prabhu Patil said the project was “giant” in scope. “The departments of forestry, horticulture, small irrigation, panchayat raj and tourism will be involved in it. We are also planning to build resorts as we want tourists to spend three to four days in the park and participate in hiking, trekking, etc. We are currently evaluating the feasibility of using the boats we see in Kerala to sail the river. There are 15 to 20 islands in the river around the dam,” he said.


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