Jharkhand to woo visitors through mining tourism

March 12th, 2008 - 12:19 pm ICT by admin  

Ranchi, March 12 (IANS) Jharkhand wants to woo more tourists and now plans to exploit its abundant mineral resources for the purpose. It proposes to start mining tourism on the lines of countries like South Africa and Australia. “Mining tourism is doing well in many countries like South Africa, Australia and Japan. We are working to start mining tourism in the state, which will be the first of its kind in India,” state tourism secretary Arun Kumar Singh told IANS.

“Jharkhand is known for its mineral resources. It has mines of coal, iron ore, copper, bauxite and other minerals. We will take tourists to closed mines and show them how minerals are extracted,” Singh said.

“To translate the project into reality, Jharkhand’s tourism department is consulting mining companies. We have consulted Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) and Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) on the mining tourism proposal,” he added.

Though the mines for the project have not been identified, two of the prominent ones in Jharkhand are Regrappa mines and the North Karmpura mines in Ranchi district.

“Work is under progress and if things go smoothly, then we will start mining tourism very soon,” the official said.

The state has this year hiked the tourism department’s budget by five times.

“Our serious effort to promote tourism can be seen from the fact that the 2008-09 budget (of the tourism department) has been increased to Rs.1.6 billion from the existing Rs.260 million,” Singh said.

The department has identified 158 tourist spots that will be developed and 163 places where wayside amenities will be improved.

Singh said Jharkhand’s infrastructure, which is quite poor at present, would be improved and roads would be constructed, linking the major tourist destinations.

“To improve infrastructure, 25 roads leading to tourist places will be constructed and 20 roads that are less than 200 km from tourist places will also be built by the tourism department,” he said.

“We are also ensuring good hotels in partnership with the private sector. The district administration of all 24 districts has been directed to acquire land or transfer government land to build hotels at tourist places. Private sector companies that want to construct hotels at tourist spots will be given incentives,” Singh said.

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