Centre approves proposal to develop Chamundi Hills in Karnataka under PRASHAD scheme
The Centre has approved the State Government’s fresh proposal to secure funds to holistically develop Chamundi Hills under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) Scheme, reports Star of Mysuru.
The proposal was resubmitted after certain issues were raised at the ‘Tourism and Culture Ministers Conference of the Southern Region’ in Bengaluru in 2021. The revised plan has been approved now by the Union Ministry of Tourism and the State Tourism Department and the Office of Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha have been communicated in this regard.
PRASHAD is a fully Central Government-funded scheme where up to INR100 crore will be granted towards development of temples. The scheme was launched in 2014-15 and 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.
As per the revised proposal sent by the State Government, the estimated cost of the development will be INR 48.3 crore and this has been divided into seven parts.
“We will get the letter of communication in the next fortnight and the grants will be released by the Centre in a month. The project will be undertaken soon after the fund release by the Karnataka Tourism Infrastructure Limited (KTIL) that functions under the Department of Tourism,” said Deputy Director of the Department (Administration) Anita Bhaskar.
As per the proposal, the Government wants to beautify Chamundi Hill and its foothill by upgrading facilities, restoring and redeveloping and beautifying the Nandi Statue, Devikere and improving the approach to the Chamundeshwari Temple premises with a guided walkway, interactive signage, smart parking and centralised ticketing and parking facilities.
This apart, the proposal included queue mantapa, stage for cultural programmes, Police booth, seating arrangements around Mahishasura statue, information centre, interactive museum and interpretation centre that will narrate the history of Chamundi Hills and Mysuru with audio visual aid.
Also, the immediate surroundings of the Temple (Praakaara), another Praakaara near Nandi Statue, lighting arrangements, entrance plaza near Mahishasura statue and Mahabaleshwaraswamy Temple have been included in the fresh proposal.
The first proposal to the Centre was sent from the State in 2019, soon after the announcement of the Scheme fund allocation. “There were glitches in the initial proposal and as per the guidelines issued by the Centre, the State has to prepare a clear Detailed Project Report (DPR) to obtain grants from the Centre. The initial proposal was not as per the Centre’s guidelines and as such, it was rejected,” she revealed.
“The proposal did not have the mention of a separate mechanism for the sanction of funds from the Centre. Now the loopholes have been plugged and an exclusive officer has been appointed to channelise the funds. Based on the directive from Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha, a team of officials have worked on the proposal since last seven years and now the project is seeing the light of the day,” Anita Bhaskar said.
The issue was raised by Karnataka Tourism Minister Anand Singh at the ‘Tourism and Culture Ministers Conference of the Southern Region’ and Union Tourism Minister G. Kishan Reddy had said that Karnataka failed to provide a comprehensive report to include Chamundi Hill under the PRASHAD Scheme and there were glitches.
Soon after the observation was made, the State Tourism Department pushed through the fresh proposal.