Daijiworld Media Network
Beltangady, Mar 9 : Coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi are endowed with rich natural beauty resources has significant potential to become a tourist hotbed. There is increasing focus on developing these districts into tourist destinations. This focus has started yielding dividend with individuals and companies showing keen interest in promoting tourism with the gravitas it deserves to target millions of tourists from around the world.
If everything goes right Mangaluru will soon attract tourists with skylarking and fun-loving tourist attractions like cable car, sky bridges, artificial caves, under-water zoo, animal planet etc,. This will be a reality soon largely due to the futuristic and ambitious plans of a youth who dreams and thinks big in terms of harnessing the tourism potential of Dakshina Kannada district known for its natural bucolic beauty and tourism potential. Emboldened with a desire to make his homeland into a veritable tourist destination he has come out with the idea of a mega project in Beltangady at an estimated budget of about Rs 500 crores.
Mushtaq has made a detailed and exhaustive study about the potential for promoting tourism in Beltangady and come out with his plans to develop his native town. The project is also the outcome of the exposure he garnered during his stint in Dubai and his visits to other Middle East countries.
Mushtaq Ahmed, who had his education in Beltangady and Ujire before obtaining his MCom degree from Mysore University, is the brain behind the project. He hails from Beltangady and is employed in Dubai, working as Senior Accountant to the Health Ministry for many years. He is a dreamer who has gigantic but realistic plans to convert the city of birth into a major tourist hub but with a difference. Though he was toying with this idea for quite some time now, he has come out with a workable model to give wings to his dreams.
The only difference is that he wants to exploit the natural beauty spots of this area without causing any damage to the environment and transform it into bustling tourist destination. Mushtaq has come out with a Rs. 500 crore blueprint to develop Beltangady and the surrounding areas into places of tourist attractions. As a first step towards implementing his project he met MLA Vasanth Bangera, who has shown keen interest in the project. Bangera has asked Mushtaq to meet the Chief Minister and explain the grandiose project to him personally.
Harnessing natural resources
An elated Mushtaq Ahmed, who is also a travel freak, says “Indians usually associate tourism with foreign destination like Malaysia, Thailand, Dubai, Singapore, America or European countries. These countries have made best use of technological knowhow to develop artificial tourist spots in addition to exploiting the natural destinations. South Kanara is blessed with natural and pristine beauty spots and hence there is no need to induce an element of artificiality while developing them.
All it needs is capital investment, a little bit of creative imagination, loads of vision and a positive attitude to convert them into attractive tourist hotspots. Our rich bio-diversity is our treasure and we have to make the best use of it without causing any harm”. Mushtaq has based his mega project on the two world famous tourist attractions like Langkawi Sky project of Malaysia and Rio De Janero Mountain Cable car project of Brazil which has been attracting tourists from the world over.
He cites the example of Dubai which he says, has nothing but dates and desert to boast about, but has become an attractive tourist destination earning valuable foreign exchange to the country. He says Dubai made use of contemporary technology to create some of the highly frequented tourist destinations and has earned valuable foreign exchange to the country. England has come up with up artificial caves and France has set up cable cars to ferry people. A sky bridge in Malaysia that helps people to climb a mountain has become a major tourist attraction.
Mushtaq feels that South Kanara with its rich biodiversity and sybaritic landscape offers ample scope for developing tourist places. Bespoke iconic destinations like Dharmasthala temple, Annapurna Hills, Venur Bahubali Hills, Unique Car museum of Dharmasthala, Bandaje and Anadka waterfalls known for their cascading beauty and magnificence, Charana Hills, known to be trekkers’ paradise, Jamalabad fort with its fascinating history and allure, Kudremukha hills with its unique wild life and the engrossing Charmadi Ghats are best suited to develop as places of amusement. These can be developed into internationally acclaimed tourist attractions with a creative touch, he avers.
Scores of Attractions
Beltangady which is endowed with rich natural beauty is tailor-made for promoting tourism. It has a rich history and heritage which can be exploited for attracting tourists. Known as Bangadi it was the capital of Bangaras as who ruled Dakshina Kannada. The historic Jamalabad fort also known as the Narasimha temple is located just 6km away from Beltangady town. The fort was built by Tippu Sultan on the top of hill and is called as Jamalabad fort in memory of his mother Jamalabee. The monolithic Bahubali of Venur and well-known pilgrim centre Dharmasthala are located just a few kms from this area. Beltangady is also a trekker’s paradis.
Trekkers and visitors regularly flock to this area because of its historic importance and innate beauty.
The mega project envisaged for Beltangady include setting up an amazing car cable to the fort, a wonder bridge to the hilltop, an artificial cave on hilltop, visitors hanging garden, international museum showcasing our riche history and culture, heritage spot, Animal planet zoo and a Seven Wonder Park. Mushtaq has plans to set up the most expensive ‘sky bridge’ and ‘cable car’ at a height of 1800 ft from sea level at Beltangady as he feels the surrounding environs of Beltangady are tailor-made for adventurous sport. “We plan to build a wonder bridge on hilltop of the historic Jamalabad Fort and make it accessible to tourists through a cable car. This would give an opportunity for tourists both Indian and foreign to enjoy our striking coastline, the pristine palm-fringed beaches and the beauty of the one and only Western Ghats”.
Mushtaq has envisaged to implement his Rs 500 crore project in four phases. The mega project site is to be located in Beltangady within 5 kms radius to major infrastructural facilities.
He is looking for investors for a Rs 350-crore project initially to build the cable car and sky bridge which forms the first 2 phases of the project. Setting up facilities like artificial cave, visitor’s hanging garden, Animal Planet, Seven Wonder Park and International Museum comes under the 3rd and 4th phase of the project requiring the remaining Rs. 150 crores. He plans to raise this money through revenues earned from Cable Car and Sky Bridge. In order to come out with an innovative and truly world class project that can be of great tourist attraction Mushtaq plans to rope in the services of world famous and innovative tourist partners namely Cox Architectures of Australia, Foster Partners of New York and British Caving Association.
Mushtaq is confident that transforming Belthangadi into a tourist hotspot would facilitate growth of the area, provide vast business opportunities as it would pave the way for more accommodation facilities, eateries, transport and improved infrastructure facilities. This in turn would create lot of employment opportunities to the local people, leading to the overall development of the region.
Fun round the year
To attract tourists round the year Mushtaq want to provide adventure tourism package to schools and colleges, celebrate local festivals majestically to provide a taste of the local flavor to the tourists and also organize sports and international events to bring the spotlight on Beltangady. The main aim is to convert Beltangady into a swashbuckling, copacetic and pragmatic tourist destination putting it in the map of one of India’s top tourism destinations. In doing so, Mushtaq says he is not trying to blindly copy other famous tourism spots. ‘’We are incorporating some of the best tried and tested features in our project.
At the same time this project will also have its own distinct features making it into a popular place of entertainment, fun and frolic”, Mushtaq declares. Apart from providing a spur to tourism Mushtaq says his plan would create more than one lakh job opportunities in Dakshina Kannada which is the need of the moment.
With travel and tourism finding important place in the lives of Indians it is high time the government gives a go ahead signal to interested people like Mushtaq Ahmed who have come forward with such unique projects. If implemented as envisaged it would certainly give fillip to tourism in and around Beltangady and add yet another riveting and fun loving destination to the list of the Dakshina Kannada’s tourist spots.
Mushtaq can be contacted at : firstname.lastname@example.org