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Madhya Pradesh to have Tourism cabinet

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan (second from left with raised hand) on a cruise in the backwaters of pristine Narmada near Indira Sagar dam at  Hanuwantiya in Khandwa district of the state before the start of cabinet meeting.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan (second from left with raised hand) on a cruise in the backwaters of pristine Narmada near Indira Sagar dam at Hanuwantiya in Khandwa district of the state before the start of cabinet meeting.

Bhopal, February 04 (Pervez Bari): To give a fillip, like on the lines of Agriculture cabinet, a Tourism cabinet will be constituted to translate Madhya Pradesh’s tourism potential into reality.

The announcement to this effect was made by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan after the cabinet meeting on a cruise, in the backwaters of pristine Narmada near Indira Sagar dam at Hanuwantiya in Khandwa district of the state. This cabinet will have ministers heading departments like forest, culture, rural development, public works, home ministry and others. It will take important decisions related to the revival and construction of tourist hubs across the state, he said.

It may be mentioned here that this was for the first time in the history of Madhya Pradesh that a Cabinet meeting was held on a cruise.

Chouhan said that the scenario of these backwaters of Indira Sagar is like an international tourist spot. This is a unique place since the island is situated in the midst of Asia’s largest manmade water body. Madhya Pradesh government will develop it as a distinct tourist spot. He said all tourist and heritage spots would be promoted through a massive ad campaign using all communication modes. These spots will soon be brought onto Google maps so that international tourists can access and recognise them easily.

Hanuwantiya tourist complex developed at cost of Rs.10 cr.

Hanuwantiya tourist complex has been developed at a cost of about Rs.10 crores by Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation in the backwaters of the dam on Narmada river. The Chief Minister said that Hanuwantiya tourist complex will play a significant role in expansion of tourism facilities in the state. With the development of Swiss Cottages at Hanuwantiya and other water tourism destinations, not only tourists will wish to visit them, but will also want to stay for a couple of days there to enjoy natural beauty.

He said that tourist centres will be developed in forest and revenue areas, wildlife tourism will be promoted in Madhya Pradesh, tourism potential will be explored in ravines, other places like Hanuwantiya will be developed for state’s marketing and branding, new facilities will be developed at World Heritage sites and new tourist circuits will be developed.

The Chief Minister said that after agriculture, Tourism will not only bring awards and honour to the state at the national level, but will also help in improving economic condition of tourist places. He said that more attention would be paid to increase employment sources through tourism.

In the meeting of the state cabinet it was decided to amend Land Auction Disposal Policy-2008 (As Amended-2014) for government land allotted to Tourism Department, to promote tourism in the state. Accordingly, collector guidelines prescribed for per hectare price (similar to that) will be applied to prescribe offset price of land and fixation of stamp and registration fee for transactions of immoveable property. But total offset price will be Rs. one lakh for disposal of heritage buildings and subsidiary lands. For disposal, identification and selection of heritage buildings and adjoining lands will be made by a coordination committee headed by the Chief Secretary.

Cabinet members put forth various important suggestions at the meeting. Secretary to CM and Tourism Hari Ranjan Rao gave a presentation on ‘Tourism Challenges and Possibilities in Madhya Pradesh’.

Hanuwantiya an attractive destination

The distance of Hanuwantiya tourist complex in Khandwa district is 130 kms from Indore. It is 150 kms from Maheshwar and 85 kms from Omkareshwar. By different routes from Bhopal, distance of Hanuwantiya is 300 to 350 kms. Jal-Mahotsav will be held there from February 12 to 21 by Tourism Department. During festival, thrilling and adventure activities will be held. Madhya Pradesh’s multi-hued folk culture will be visible during festival. One can savour different dishes at Food Bazaar also.

MP Cabinet meeting on cruise opposed

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), a leading all-India organization of farmers, has opposed the meeting alleging sheer wastage of money when farmers are in distress.

BKS Khandwa district publicity in-charge, Subhash Patel said that the one-day excursion of BJP ministers must cost state’s exchequer a whooping Rs.20 crore while farmers are facing drought, crop loss, no irrigation facility and no crop reimbursement. He alleged that the state was spending Rs.3000 crore to develop Hanuwantiya island as a tourist attraction but unwilling to spend Rs.500 core on irrigation and other facilities. Farmers are not getting production cost of their crop while large-scale discrepancies and corruption still galore in rural areas.

Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson K. K. Mishra also opposed the cabinet meeting in Hanuwantiya island terming it as extravagant event and political recklessness. It was a waste of people’s money. The state government, which is cash starved with Rs1.71 lakh crore as credit, is not serious towards the welfare of common man especially farmers. ([email protected])

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