Kodagu’s pretty & proud

Deccan Chronicle.  | Shashiprasad SM

Entertainment, Sandalwood

Actress Harshika Poonacha, who hails from Kodagu, has been helping with the relief work.

Harshika Poonacha

A year since one of the most devastating floods struck Kodagu District, the district is still limping back to normalcy. Relief work is still on, but the monsoons that are just around the corner have got citizens worried.

Actress Harshika Poonacha's in the spotlight for her verbal duels with a minister over questions about houses that the state government's building for last year's floods victims in Kodagu. She clarifies why she won't relinquish her citizen's rights to question the administration.

Actress Harshika Poonacha, who hails from Kodagu, has been helping with the relief work. However, she’s been taunted by the Kodagu district-in-charge minister Sa Ra Mahesh for her views on the standard of houses being built by the state government for the flood victims. He asked Harshika to limit her expertise to films, but she hit back at him, saying she had every right to question the government. Here’s her side of the story:

That’s what she said
“I never said that construction of houses for the flood victims is bad. From the photographs I’d seen of the model houses, I simply said that the government should ensure they are built nicely. That was me as a citizen and the daughter of Kodagu. Even if I was wrong, the minister could’ve merely said that I don’t have information. Instead, he got off, saying actors should limit their opinions to films. That was completely uncalled for,” says Harshika.

Asked the minister to understand that actors today are also very aware of the current political and other related scenarios, Harshika pointed to union minister Smriti Irani, Jayalalithaa and Sumalatha Ambareesh-all actors-turned-politicians. “As regards his comment about my qualifications to assess the standard of building, I’ve already made it clear: I am an engineer who passed out of college with distinction,” she explains.

More thorns in her side
The Kannada actress who’ll soon be seen in a Malayalam movie has also been campaigning for an emergency hospital in the district. But even this was criticised by the state minister, calling it a publicity stunt given the government had already released several hundred crores of rupees for upgrading exciting hospitals.

Harshika responded by saying, “I recently visit the government hospital. It took nearly me four hours to obtain a scan report and I’d to mail the report to a doctor in Bengaluru. So honestly, given the plight of the hospital, we could really use an emergency hospital. That being said, I really don’t need such publicity. Moreover, the campaign for emergency hospitals was initiated by Kodagu youths.”