North Karnataka region, formerly called as Bombay Karnataka, is a strategically situated region with prominent districts of Dharawada-Hubballi, Belagavi, Vijayapura, Bagalkote, Uttara Kannada and Haveri. This is geographically and ecologically a very significant region with a tremendous potential for development.. Unfortunately the region remained backward and neglected due to lack of vision and political will of the successive governments. Now it’s slowly opening up ..Signs of development are being seen with improvement in the infrastructure, road networks and educational institutions. This is the time for early birds to make a foray…


The normal tendency to look at development only through setting up industries needs to be re-looked at. Technology has shown us that there are other ways like Information technology, education, culture, tourism,agriculture,entertainment etc. which can be the means of development and growth.. Hubballi city in North Karnataka was a prosperous region, and even today it is, not because of industries but largely because of flourishing trade. Cotton, grains, chillies and, onions are brought to Hubballi for trade where wholesale and retail business flourishes in a big way.

Hubballi railway junction facilitated this kind of trade and ancillary industries like cotton ginning, oil extraction and the like developed over time. We find more hotels and cinema theatres in Hubballi because these cater to the trading community. The problem is the lack of proper infrastructure like well – developed road networks, garbage disposal systems, drinking water, organized internal transport and hygiene and cleanliness.

Belagavi could have been Karnataka’s automobile hub if only we had the foresight to develop a supportive ambiance such as training centres to develop appropriate skills and human resource, automobile engineering institution, regular power supply for the foundries and the small industries that worked as ancillaries. Belagavi is still an automobile centre with expertise in many related segments. Interestingly Belagavi also has a very high density of cattle population because of the rich ecosystems like periphery of the western Ghats, shrubby jungles and the grasslands. This is the reason why the milk products like the khova,Pedhas etc. are famous here..

Dharawada is known for educational institutions, musicians, poets and writers. And this particular feature or trait can be associated with the rich environment Dharawada is endowed with. It’s known as the land of growth [Belawala Nadu]. Any seed that is thrown into the soil is germinated here because Dharawada is uniquely situated in an Eco tone belt which stretches from Belagavi to Ranebennur. Varied ecosystems like the western Ghats, scrub jungles ,pond ecosystems and grasslands merge into one another and form a unique geographical location comprising several districts of the north Karnataka region..

Vijayapura and Bagalkote are not only known for the world famous historical monuments and heritage sites such as Badami and Pattadkal but the whole region is rich in terms of agricultural and horticultural produce like Jowar, Sugarcane millets,grapes,Pomegranates,Sapota and so on. A horticultural university has come up recently in Bagalkote to essentially promote the growth of such products. With the irrigation projects of Krishna River coming up in a big way the entire region from Vijayapura to Koppala is going to witness unprecedented agricultural growth in the coming years.. This can be declared as AGRICULTURE CORRIDOR

Uttara Kannada district is rich in several respects—Evergreen forests, subtropical forests, deciduous forests, rich wildlife ,fascinating ancient rivers like Aghanashini and Sharavati,eye – catching beaches all along the 300km coast of the western Ghats region. The district has a great potential for different kinds of tourism, fisheries development, cage culture etc. Considering these factors we can say that North Karnataka region is ideally and strategically situated for an overall economic growth.


Belagavi can be thought of as a centre for putting up milk-based manufacturing units like Dairies, Cheese, chocolate cattle fodder etc. There are products made already such as KARADANTU, KHOVA Upgrade some of these products using improved technology with VTU as a technical coordinator…

Ranebennur has the most suitable and appropriate climate and soil for producing varied kinds of seeds….people come here from China, Singapore, Korea to buy seeds. TATA’s have already set up a seeds processing unit here..And so has the French company, namely Clause.. Just 30-40 km away is another interesting place known as Byadagi which produces the famous Byadagi Chilli [spice]. Lot of chilli trade happens here.. You will see mounds of chillies scattered here and there. These places can be popularized with a seed museum, Chilli museum ,, hotels and motels to cater to the visiting businessmen and tourists. Agro tourism is the right thing to happen here..There is also a Black Buck sanctuary near Ranebennur with hundreds of Black Bucks roaming the sanctuary but hardly popular among the tourists and the students and the general public. This can be popularized

Dhār wad could become the Cambridge and Oxford of India, a center for higher education with a focus on literature Music, Mathematics, Philosophy and the like. The entire rural Dhār wad can also be developed for promoting Khadi products on modern lines. The best Khadi products are made in these parts of Hubballi-Dharawada region.. A training, design – and – fashion center for Khadi can be set up here where thousands of people can be employed,, Khadi doesn’t require power, water and chemicals like other textile industries which pollute a lot ..A way to address climate change issues

A conclave for cottage, Handloom and handicraft products can be set up where all existing products like Navalgund carpets,Kalaghatagi cradles,Hebbali Khadi,Ilakal Sarees and so many such products made all over the region be accommodated, displayed and marketed. They can all be technologically upgraded so that they become value-added products…Just as the Kolhapuri footwear [chappals] which gained good market within and outside the country once their quality got upgraded through a simple technology

The ecological advantage of this region is that there are several varieties of wildly grown fruits like Carandas [locally called as Kauli],Sisyphus or wild zuzuba [Paragi] along with Jamoon [Nerale]trees and mango which are grown along the roadside throughout North Karnataka region which were once the livelihood sources of hundreds of families.. Also the Tamarind trees which are found along the roads and which served as sources of livelihood for the Bedar community are now vanishing as roads are widened and townships getting expanded.. Many of these fruits are used as spices and also have medicinal value.

There are vast swathes of barren and semi barren lands and uncultivable agricultural lands where such vegetation and green cover[ trees] ,especially Tamarind,Jamoon and others could be grown in thousands which can provide employment to hundreds of rural communities. These can be developed as urban forests and community forests, Sandalwood parks, Mango gardens, Guava gardens and the like. We hardly see the Carandas bushes these days. The entire Gowli communities once depended on these bushes and Jamoon trees as sources of livelihood ..These bushes can be rejuvenated all along the country roads and state highways as hedges especially in Dhār wad, Karwar and Haveri districts where they endemically belong. The ideal way to bring about a synergy between ecology and the economy..

On the whole the economically and technologically viable and environmentally sustainable industries and related projects that come up in north Karnataka region are listed as under;

Milk based manufacturing units, Fruit and agro based manufacturing units, Pharmaceuticals, Khadi and Handloom manufacturing units, Cottage and small industries, Educational institutions and learning centres, Tourism, Hospitality [Motels, Hotels, Stay Homes and the like,, Tourism Management Institute, Large ecological and Horticultural parks as ecosystems and economic entities, Enclaves for handicraft, art and cottage industry products. Alternative energy projects such as Solar Parks, Wind Parks, Biofuel etc..

Suresh Helbikar

# 403, 5th Main, 18th Cross,
3rd Block, Jayangar,
Bangalore-560 011
Ph: 91-80-22453422 / 9448273488
url: www.ecowatchindia.org


Disclaimer: The views expressed here are of the author and not of KSPCB. The article is published only in the interest of a public understanding of the issues involving Climate Change and should not be construed as the policy guidelines of KSPCB.