The State Government has proposed to develop an airstrip and a heliport near Kushalnagar for the benefit of tourists visiting Kodagu, one of the major hill stations in South India.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had announced in his recent budget to develop heliports at three places, including one in Kodagu. In this connection, a team of officials led by Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (KSIIDC) Managing Director M.R. Ravi, accompanied by Madikeri MLA Appachu Ranjan, inspected the land where the facility has been proposed near the Sainik School at Kudige village.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Ravi said 49 acres of government land was available near Kushalnagar and it was identified for developing an airstrip. “Since no land was available for developing the heliport at Madikeri, which was the first choice, we thought of developing the airstrip as well as the heliport on the 49-acre plot near Kushalnagar. We need just 5 acres for the heliport and the rest can be developed as an airstrip which can be used for the landing and takeoff of the 20-seater planes,” Mr. Ravi said.
Mr. Ravi said plans are afoot for launching the operations of seaplanes in Kodagu in a bid to boost tourism since the infrastructure for their operations was available at Harangi. “If everything goes as planned, seaplanes can land on and take off from Harangi waters. This can help improve connectivity to tourists who can afford such a trip. This can benefit adventure tourism for which Kodagu is considered one of the key destinations.”
Mr. Ranjan said the officials from the Airport Authority of India had visited Kushalnagar in connection with the proposed launch of airstrip operations. However, it did not materialise though the land for the same was identified.
Kodagu needs air connectivity as over 25,000 tourists descend on the hill station during weekends, registering 100 percent occupancy of hotels, resorts and home stays. The air connectivity can further boost tourism and the heliport is one such plan proposed by the government for which all support will be extended, he added.