Nagpur: The government has approved projects worth about Rs 450 crore under ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme for five states, including poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. There are projects for Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Tamilnadu and even our neighbouring state of M.P. but Maharashtra, and more significantly Vidarbha with its rich cultural and religious heritage, not to mention our forests and our tigers have been left out completely. This should come as a wake up warning for our somnolent Tourism Ministry which seems completely lack luster and ineffective compared to the strides being made by M.P. – a stone’s throw away!
The scheme was launched with an objective to develop 13 theme-based tourist circuits in the country and the approval for five was given in a meeting of the central sanctioning and monitoring committee (CSMC) on Monday.
“The CSMC for the Swadesh Darshan Scheme has approved projects to the tune of Rs 450 crore for development of various circuits in Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu,” an official said.
The most significant will be ‘Ramayana circuit’ in UP with a project cost of Rs 70 crore , while ‘heritage circuits’ in M.P. and Uttarakhand with costs of Rs 100 crore and Rs 83 crore, respectively, were also sanctioned.
‘Coastal circuit’ in Tamil Nadu with a cost of about Rs 100 crore envisages development of Chennai-Mamamallapuram- Rameshwaram-Manpadu-Kanyakumari tract. Is our Konkan – Goa tract any less beautiful that it was not considered? Not withstanding the wonderful Konkan Railway that makes its way through mountainous terrains all the way to the south via Goa.
The most unkind cut is that there is a ‘heritage circuit’ for Madhya Pradesh, which covers Gwalior-Orchha-Khajuraho-Chanderi-Bhimbetka-Mandu with a total project cost of about Rs 100 crore. What could be culturally richer than Ramtek and Nagpur with our historical background?
The Ramayana circuit’ in UP envisages development of two destinations — Chitrakoot and Shringverpur. It also includes Ayodhya, for which UP Tourism Department is preparing a detailed project report, the official said.
The ‘North East circuit’, with cost of Rs 95.50 crore, in Sikkim was given the green signal and it includes development of eco log huts, cultural centre, paragliding centre, craft bazaar, base camp for mountaineering and meditation hall, he added.
Under ‘Swadesh Darshan’, 13 thematic circuits have been identified for development, namely North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.
That Maharashtra with Ajanta Ellora caves, the one and only ‘crater lake’ of Lonar, the grand forts of Shivaji in Western Maharashtra, Konkan and Marathwada and the luxurious forest cover of Vidarbha does not figure in any thematic circuit is a tragedy for us!