Sahai’s Rs.100 crore largesse for Jharkhand tourism

December 14th, 2011 - 7:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Bodh Gaya New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) Jharkhand has been allocated Rs.100 crore in 2011-12 to ramp up its tourism infrastructure, Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai said Wednesday.

“Jharkhand is a sick state, nothing ever moves,” Sahai told IANS on the sidelines of a media briefing at the launch of the India Promotional Calendar 2012.

The minister said Jharkhand has a variety in terms of tourism potential. “It has Jainism, Buddhism and Deoghar (Hindu pilgrimage centre). It has at least three major wildlife sanctuaries - though parts of these have been shut down because of naxalism.”

“I have allocated Rs.100 crore for the state to improve its tourism infrastructure,” he said.

The pace of development in Jharkhand after it became a state in 2000 has been very poor, he said.

Outlining his plans for the future, Sahai said he was “working on the development of a full-fleged Buddha circuit in Bihar with foreign help.”

“I am committed to the circuit - and many countries are willing to help. Buddhism has spread across the world in a big way. The development of the circuit revolves around Bodhgaya and Gaya (in Bihar). You cannot ignore Gaya if you want to develop Bodh Gaya - it cannot happen in isolation,” Sahai said.

“Orissa and Chhattisgarh are also on our radar,” he said.

The minister said he would soon meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to work out a feasible tourism agenda.

“For 35 years, there was no agenda in the state. I can help with infrastructure, but she has to develop investment-friendly policy for revenue generating projects,” Sahai said.

The minister noted that tourism as a sector had received a big boost with the Planning Commission saying that it had become an economic agenda in the country.

“The commission in its new paper said tourism could lead to poverty alleviation with its potential to generate revenue. It is a recognition for tourism,” Sahai said.

He said the government (at the prime minister’s level) had approved “single window clearance in all major tourism related projects” and now the chief ministers will have to decide on it in their respective states.

Tourism was a convergence of many sectors - like aviation and roads - which were required to make a destination attractive, Sahai said.

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