In what's going to give a fresh boost to tourism sector in the country, Union Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned tourism projects worth Rs 190.46 crore for the development of northeast states and spiritual circuit in Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, and also for the upgradation of facilities around Govardhan in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh and Somnath in Gujarat under the PRASAD scheme.
"Union Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned four new projects for Rs 190.46 crore under Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD Schemes to Meghalaya, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh," said the Union Tourism Ministry.
The central government's PRASAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive) scheme aims at identifying and developing pilgrimage tourist destinations on the principles of high tourist visits, competitiveness, and sustainability to enrich the religious tourism experience.
Under the North East Circuit of Swadesh Darshan Scheme, Tourism Ministry has sanctioned the project development of West Khasi Hills (Nongkhlaw-Krem Tirot-Khudoi and Kohmang Falls- Khri river-Mawthadraishan, Shillong), Jaintia Hills (Krang Suri Falls-Shyrmang- Iooksi), Garo Hills (Nokrek Reserve, Katta Beel, Siju Caves) in Meghalaya for Rs 84.95 crore.
"Through this project will be developed facilities like festival grounds, tourist facilitation centre, last mile connectivity, public conveniences, cable suspension bridge, cafeteria, trekking routes, boating facilities, illumination, solid waste management, drinking water facility, caving facilities, visitor centres, adventure sports activities, craft haats, and so on in the state," said the Ministry.
Under Spiritual Circuit, development of Gorakhnath temple (Gorakhpur), Devipattan Temple (Balrampur) and Vatvashni Temple (Domariyagunj) has been sanctioned for Rs 21.16 crore. The facilities being developed under this project includes tourist facilitation centre, toilet blocks, pathways, shelters, landscaping, gazebos, illumination, CCTV camera, benches, dustbins, informative and directional signages, and so on.
Under the PRASAD scheme, the Ministry has sanctioned the project for the development of Govardhan in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh for Rs 39.74 crore. The sites being taken up for the development under the project include Goverdhan Parikrama Marg, Kusum Sarovar, Chandra Sarovar, and Manasi Ganga. The facilities are being developed under the projects include the development of bus stand, toilets, illumination of ghats, parking, pathways, landscaping and beautification, public announcement systems, benches, toilets, and so on.
The Ministry has also sanctioned the project development of pilgrimage amenities at Somnath- Phase II Rs 44.59 crore. The facilities being developed under the project include the development of pathways, seating arrangement, drinking water facilities, lighting and illumination, solid waste management, and so on.
A meeting was held between Union Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Varanasi on January 10 to discuss the plan for the development of Sarnath under the Buddhist Circuit theme of Swadesh Darshan Scheme. Union Tourism Ministry intends to develop facilities like visitor centre, parking, and promenade development, pedestrianization of roads in front of Dhamek Stupa, development of street vendor zones at Sarnath with an aim to provide a better experience to the visitors for Rs 53.81 crore.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath agreed to the suggestions made by Union Tourism Minister Alphons and has directed the Department of Tourism to submit the project report within 10 days to the Centre for consideration and approval.