Mumbai, March 26 (IANS) The ruling Democratic Front government plans to sell 'Maharashtra Tourism' as a brand by executing several major tourism projects costing Rs.228 crore, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar said Monday, while presenting the state budget for the 2012-13 fiscal here.
The important projects to be taken up include development of the world famous salt water Lonar Lake, Buldana district, formed by a meteor and the Khas Plateau, known as Maharashtra's Valley of Flowers in Satara district, besides setting up a world-class Sea World and Theme Park in Sindhudurg district.
Announcing the budget proposals, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also said that approach roads to sea coasts and the existing houseboat projects in Konkan region would be improved.
In addition, Pawar announced an outlay of Rs.176 crore under the State Plan scheme, Rs.50 crore under Tribal Sub-Plan and Rs.10 crore under Special Component Plan for forest development and 'eco-tourism.'
Under these heads, Rs.8 crore has been proposed for the promotion of tourism and eco-tourism while Rs.15 crore will be utilized for establishing new zoos in Gorewada, near Nagpur and Goregaon, in Mumbai.
Another major tourist and academic spot, the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram-Sevagram, near Wardha, would be equipped with new facilities on the occasion of its 75th year this year.
Matheran, the famous vehicle-free hill station on the outskirts of Mumbai will get a new monument dedicated to the great martyr, Bhai Kotwal, at a cost of Rs.1 crore.
As part of cultural activities which are a major tourist crowd-puller, Pawar assured necessary finances to undertake various activities in six revenue divisions for organising film festivals of Marathi and Hindi cinemas which have received awards, organise seminars and related activities, as part of the ensuing centenary of film industry in India, in May.
The government also proposes to launch a new scheme named after Bharatratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, which would take up activities like promoting classical music in the classical Gurukul traditions, offer scholarships, organize festivals and awards with an outlay of Rs.1.18 crore.
Since quick accessibility is a major requirement to boost tourism, Pawar has proposed Rs.438 crore for civil aviation projects this year.
This would utilized for acquiring land to develop airports at Shirdi, Rajgurunagar, Amravati, Kolhapur, Karad, and development of runways and other works under the ongoing MIHAN project in Nagpur.
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