UP plans big push for tourism in Taj city
Agra, May 3 (IANS) The Akilesh Yadav-led Uttar Pradesh government is considering a number of measures that, when implemented, will help boost tourism in Agra and Mathura, according to senior district officials and industry leaders who recently met state Chief Secretary Javed Usmani in Lucknow.
The international airport project in the Taj trapezium zone has been given the top priority. In the last few days, several teams visited sites in Agra and Mathura, and are in the process of finalising proposal for the airport for clearance by the state government.
Official sources said the greenfield airport on public private partnership (PPP) model would be located between Mathura and Agra, away from the Mathura refinery and at a safe distance from the Taj Mahal.
A new airport will be a big boost to tourism in Agra as direct international flights would then be able to land here enabling the tourists to save precious time. "It could also mean an extra night spent in Agra which will help the local industry in several ways," said Rajiv Tiwari, president of Federation of Travel Agents' Association.
Plans are also being drawn up to develop the Taj Nature Walk for the tourists.
The Yamuna ravines have been landscaped by the state forest department, close to the Taj Mahal.
"We are planning a cycle track through the wilderness and developing hillocks from where tourists would be able to see the Taj in the night. An eco-park will be developed and the water body in the centre will have attractions for the tourists. A camel safari is also planned," Divisional Forest Officer N.K. Janu told IANS.
District officials who met the chief secretary said all proposals have to be presented within a month along with project reports.
Plans are also being readied for introducing boating in the Yamuna river behind the Taj Mahal during the rainy season to attract tourists.
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