Belgaum officially known as Belagavi is a city in the state of Karnataka in India. The city is the administrative headquarters of the eponymous Belgaum division and Belgaum district. The government has proposed to make the city of Belgaum the second capital of Karnataka and has also set up a second administrative building in the city. Belgaum is among the 20 cities in India to be selected under PM Modi’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.
Geography of BelagaviBelgaum is located at 15.87°N 74.5°E with an average elevation of about 751 meters which is 2464 feet. The city is part of the north-western part of Karnataka and lies at the border of two Indian states Goa and Maharashtra. The city of Belgaum is one of the oldest cities in the State. The city is at a distance of 502 km from Bangalore, 515 km from Hyderabad and 500 km from Mumbai.
According to the 2011 census the city had a population of 588,592 and its urban population is 610,189. The male population consists of 51% of the total population and the female population consists of 49% of the total population. The city has an average literacy rate of 78%. 54% of the males are literate while 46% of females are literate. The city has 11% of its total population under the age of 11. The local languages comprise of Kannada and Marathi while the official language is Kannada. The people of the town also know Hindi and English. The town also has minority groups like Urdu and Konkani speakers.
History of BelagaviThe city was built in the 12th century by the Ratta Dynasty. The fort of Belgaum was built in 1204by the Ratta Dynasty itself. Around the 1500’s the city became a major hub for trading diamond and wood. The city was then ruled by many rulers including mughal emperors, peshwas and even the British. Belgaum was chosen as the 39th session of Indian National Congress by Mahtama Gandhi. The city served as a major military installation during the british raj primarily due to its location of bring situated near Goa. Even after Independence the Government of India continues to have military installations in the city.
At first after the Independence of India the Belgaum district was a part of the Bombay state. In 1956 the states were reorganized along linguistic lines by the State Reorganization Act then the Belgaum district was transferred to Mysore state now known as Karnataka.
Economy of BelagaviBelgaum is an important source of fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, mining, and wood. The trading in the town is mostly with Goa and Maharashtra along with cities like Pune and Bangalore. We find rich deposits of Bauxite in the district which have led to the creation of major aluminum-producing companies like Hindalco and Aditya Birla Group. Uranium deposits have also been found near the city. Belgaum is also the major producer of milk in the state, 305 of the milk of the town is produced in Belgaum. Belgaum also has the highest number of sugar factories in the state. The city is home for major sugar producing companies like Ugar sugar, Shree Renuka Sugar etc. Belgaum is also a strong industrial hub for machine shops catering to automobiles as the location is beneficial to the town.
Belagavi is the second largest exporter of the state. Belagavi’s total GDP is a total INR 159.65 billion contributing 5.63% to the state GDSP with the per capita annual income in the district being INR 52,250. However, the GDP trend is 4.3% CAGR from 2007-08 to 2012-13 with agriculture and allied industries at the top with 8.1% contributors.
Belagavi contributes 48% of its land for cultivation. The crops grown include cereals and pulses occupying 42% and 6% land respectively. It is best known for its fruits and vegetables. From the early 1970’s Belgaum or Belagavi started developing into an important centre for manufacturing heavy machine tools, including the manufacture of high-pressured hydraulic systems. This is city is also a destination for many foundries producing automotive and industrial castings of ferrous base and supporting ancillaries like CNC, and conventional machine shops. The city has about 200 foundries.
Belagavi is at its peak of infrastructure support and development with India’s first notified Aerospace Precision and Engineering SEZ spread across 300 acres quest global with 16 industrial estates, 6 Industrial areas and one SEZ. The major Bauxite reserves in the city only tend to enhance the investment in this sector also the strategic location of the city on the highway gives a lot of importance. The Suvarna Karnataka Development Corridor proposes an IT-BT zone and Apparel Zone which offers jobs to up to 30,000 people in the district and has the potential of 50,000 power looms. This is a great sector to invest in.
The Foundry and Power Loom sector in Belagavi promotes artistic chappals, dolls, toys, horn and bone, metal ware, and handmade work like Terracotta work, textile work, pottery etc. The Athani Chappal artisan is a model example of growth of this sector in Belagavi.
Belagavi is also an emerging hub for storage and cold storage infrastructure. It has 58 export oriented units, 22 sugar Industries and Raisin and Jaggery cluster to further enhance its agro based industries.
At present the city has 54 large and medium industries with a total investment of 385 billion co-existing with 44,142 varied SSI units amounting up to 14.44 billion in aggregated investments.
How to reach BelagaviBy Road
Belgaum is connected to various major cities as it lies near the NH-4 which is now part of the Golden Quadrilateral. The North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation has bus services plying to all parts of Karnataka and also connects the town to various other major towns and cities. There are regular buses available to the city.
The Belgaum railway station comes under the South-western Railway Region and is connected to all major cities in the country with regular trains available to and fro the city.
The city is served by the Belgaum Airport at Sambra which is the oldest airport in Karnataka and it lies 10 km away from the city. There are daily flights available to the town from major cities like Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai etc.