MPs say Agra may miss Commonwealth Games ‘tourism boom’

February 9th, 2009 - 4:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Agra, Feb 9 (IANS) A two-member parliamentary delegation expressed dissatisfaction at the near chaotic traffic, bad drainage system and poor maintenance of monuments in this Uttar Pradesh city and said it may miss the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games ‘tourism boom’.

The committee of MPs Sitaram Yechury and P. Karunakaran Sunday also said a dry Yamuna presented a very “ugly and disturbing backdrop” to the beautiful Taj Mahal.

Yechury said in a meeting with state government officials that the maintenance of “Baby Taj” Etmaduddaula across the river was not satisfactory, the marble stones at the Taj were losing their shine, and the issue of cross-city movement needed to be resolved.

The MPs were caught in traffic jams twice within the city.

Yechury said that in his report he would suggest filling Yamuna with water so that boating could be possible.

“River Yamuna should have enough water so that the tourists could be ferried across from the Taj to the Etmaduddaula,” Yechury told reporters.

He told the district officials that the other lesser known monuments in the city should be highlighted and approach roads cleaned up. He also wanted adequate number of signages close to the monuments.

He said the games would give a fillip to the tourism industry not only in Delhi but also in the surrounding areas.

“The committee in its report will suggest ways to give a boost to tourism which can offset the process of recession and generate jobs,” he added.

“Heaps of dirt and garbage, pollution in the river and perpetual traffic jams due to encroachments are the major problems that need to be urgently addressed,” Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society said in a memorandum to the district authorities.

Ravi Singh, a green activist, said the Yamuna should have water round the year. “For this, a weir or a barrage downstream of the Taj Mahal should be constructed and additional water released from the Okhla barrage.”

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