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Rs.100 crore sanctioned for Himalayan Tourist Circuit: CM

A sum of Rs 100 crore has been sanctioned for ‘Himalayan Tourist Circuit’ paving way for 14 tourism related projects to be developed in the State. This was revealed in the meeting of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Board held here today, presided over by Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh.

The projects which have been shortlisted under the circuit includes convention centre at Kiarighat in Solan district to provide all way side amenities to the visitors and to cost around Rs 25 crore including  rupees seven crore ‘Heliport’  at Shimla to be constructed somewhere near  Sanjauli- Dhalli bypass, rupees four crore each for ‘Village Haat’ at Kangra including beautification of Dal lake,  ‘free climbing’ standing wall of International standard at Manali to cost around rupees three crore and a provision of rupees three crore for Saurav Kalia Van Vihar and developing water sports facilities at Suni in Shimla district.

The Heliport at Shimla is coming up on a hill plateau and would also have indoor and outdoor exits besides landing facility for private choppers.

The Chief Minister said that after completion of ropeways, Himachal Pradesh would be globally choice destination for religious and adventure tourism.  He said a Golden feather has been added in the cap of state tourism which in long run would not only cater to the basic needs of the tourism industry but would also be a source of employment and revenue for the State.

It was informed that an agreements for four ropeway projects on ‘Built Operate Transfer’ (BOT) basis have been signed as well,  which include around Rs.150 crore Dharamshala-Macleodganj, Rs. 289 crore Adi-Himani-Chamunda, Rs. 340 crore Palchaan-Rohtang and around Rs. 94 crore Bhuntar Bijli Mahadev to facilitate the adventure as well as religious tourism.

The Chief Minister was informed that the ropeway projects from Sarahan to Bashal Kanda connecting Kinnaur district, Bharmour to Bharmani Mata, Toba to Shri Naina Devi ji in Bilaspur and Shah-Talai to Deot Sidh in Hamirpur were in bidding stages.

He directed to ensure removal of hoardings and posters around Maha-Mritunjay temple in Mandi. He said that earlier the encroachments were removed and now the big hoardings and posters seem to have covered the temple, which needs to be removed.

He also directed for speeding up the process of restoration and refurbishment of Bantony Castle. Besides, a lawn and park the old building could be used as a Museum in which the history and culture of all the districts could be showcased.

The Chief Minister launched a 20 minute film on tourism circuit of Himachal Pradesh which besides adventure highlights the Buddhist and religious circuits as well.

Shri Virbhadra Singh directed to look into the possibility of construction of road from Rest House Naina Devi to the temple. He was also given detailed information about the ongoing convention centre at 15 miles, between Patlikul and Manali which would have nine hole golf-course besides an amphitheatre, food courts, markets etc.

A sort of integrated township will be developed for the visitors, said Managing Director HPTDC Shri Dinesh Malhotra. He also gave presentations on various ongoing projects including lightning of old Victoria Bridge in Mandi, refurbishment of Church at Ridge, renovation of ancient temples of Rampur and various other tourism projects undergoing  landscaping and beautification.

Chief Secretary Shri V.C. Pharka said that as per announcements of the Chief Minister, a sum of Rs 40 lakh have been reserved for lift at Bhalei Mata Temple in Chamba, Rs. 50 lakh for construction of Narain- Nagin temple at Kalpa, Rs 48 lakh for parking at Spilo in  district Kinnaur and a sum of Rs 25 lakh for development and beautification of Nau-Naag lake in Sarpada in district Shimla. He said that a sum of Rs. 14 crore had been sanctioned for the infrastructure projects like parking, beautification of temples, public places, parks etc. He said that out of 25 way-side amenities 17 have been commissioned in various parts of the State and the work was in progress for the remaining.

Suggestion were also received for non-official members who appreciated the steps being taken by the tourism department by recently opening many way side amenities for the visitors along the National and State highways.

Present amongst others were Urban development Minister Shri Sudhir Sharma, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Shri Mansa Ram, Additional Chief Secretaries Smt. Manisha Nanda, Dr. Srikant Baldi, Principal Secretaries Shri Onkar Sharma and Anuradha Thakur and other official and  non official members.

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