Interview with Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar.
Sir, as you are from the Hubli-Dharwad region, expectations of the people living here are high. What special programmes have you initiated for the development of the region?
I am aware that the people of Hubli-Dharwad have high expectations as I hail from that region. It is but natural. As the Chief Minister of the State, it is my foremost duty to treat every region and every community equally. Whatever is due to this region will be given without any delay or hesitation. The comprehensive development of Karnataka, including that of north Karnataka, is the motto of my government. Development is the mantra of my administration, and hence all-round development will receive top priority.
The information technology industry is the pride of Karnataka. At the Global Investors Meet that took place in Bangalore in June, statements were made that the IT industry would be encouraged in tier-II cities. What steps have been taken to promote the IT industry in Hubli-Dharwad?
The government is keen to take the IT growth to tier-II & -III cities. Mangalore, Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad, Shimoga and Belgaum are the tier-II cities that will emerge as the next IT hubs. Hubli-Dharwad has an IT park with 1.75 lakh square feet of built-up space with 45 IT and IT-enabled services units operating in it. In addition to that, the government has provided 26 acres [one acre = 0.4 hectare] to the Aryabhatta IT Park in Hubli where 11 units have been sanctioned. The State government is making efforts to attract IT investment in the region.
This is the 50th year of the establishment of the Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC). What developmental programmes are being initiated to mark the golden jubilee year?
Several developmental programmes have already commenced or are being proposed for the benefit of the residents of the twin cities. The plans include a government-approved supermarket in Dharwad at a cost of Rs.120 crore; construction of a flyover from Hosur to the railway station in conjunction with the Bus Rapid Transport System at a cost of Rs.185 crore; improvement of slums at a cost of Rs.25 crore; and improvement of internal roads at a cost of Rs.38 crore;
Hubli-Dharwad was one of the first cities in Karnataka to experiment with the World Bank-assisted scheme for 247 urban water supply. How successful has this been?
The pilot project for providing 24x7 water supply in eight wards has been completed and is being managed by the HDMC. There is an overwhelming response for extension of the scheme to the remaining wards. The Asian Development Bank has come forward to invest Rs.835 crore to scale up the scheme. The HDMC, with assistance from the government, is extending the scheme to 34 wards. A sum of Rs.113 crore has been released for this purpose.
Hubli-Dharwad produces and exports a variety of valves. There was a proposal to set up a valve-manufacturing industrial cluster to support this industry. What is the status of this proposal?
A proposal was sent to the Government of India for the establishment of the industrial cluster at a cost of Rs.40 crore under the Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme. However, the Centre did not favour the proposal and asked the government to send a new proposal in accordance with the revised guidelines. A new proposal is being prepared.
Considering its strategic location and its proximity to historical monuments located at Pattadakal, Aihole, Badami and Hampi, are steps being taken to make Hubli-Dharwad a tourism hub?
In order to promote Hubli-Dharwad as a tourism hub, connectivity is the most important factor to be considered to get both domestic and international tourists. The government is in the process of persuading the Ministry of Civil Aviation to convert the current airport in Hubli to accommodate larger aircraft. With a new airport, it will be possible to make Hubli-Dharwad a global tourism hub.
There was a proposal to develop the Hubli airport into an international all-weather airport? What is the status of this expansion programme?
The Airports Authority of India [AAI] has taken up a plan to upgrade the Hubli airport, for which 615 acres of land is needed. The Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board has acquired and transferred 587 acres to the AAI. About 28 acres could not be acquired because of litigation and other issues. However, these issues are being sorted out and the rest of the land will be handed over to the AAI as early as possible to complete the upgrading of the airport.