Department of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra has signed an MoU with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Ministry of Culture, Government of India to have an understanding for execution of various projects for development and creation of tourist facilities
Department of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra has signed an MoU with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Ministry of Culture, Government of India to have an understanding for execution of various projects for development and creation of tourist facilities and amenities in and around centrally protected sites in Maharashtra. This is the first MoU that ASI has signed with any tourism board in India.
The MoU was signed by Dr K H Govinda Raj, MD, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Sharad Sharma, additional director general, ASI Delhi, in presence of Dr Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister for Tourism; Jaykumar Rawal, Minister of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra; Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, tourism and culture, Government of Maharashtra and other officials of ASI Mumbai and Aurangabad circle.
Rawal said, “As per the policy of PPP declared and promoted by Government of India, director of Government of Maharashtra or MD of MTDC shall explore the possibility of PPP mode for implementation of projects or funding. Director or any government agency nominated and entrusted by secretary, Department of Tourism shall make and submit the proposal to competent authority, covering conservation, restoration and providing public and tourist amenities on PPP basis. Such proposals shall be accorded required approval on case-to-case basis”
Nair Singh stated, “By associating with ASI, we look forward to provide tourists all the facilities with good infrastructure in order to boost tourism in the state. Through this MoU, director of tourism shall be allowed to arrange tourism festivals like Fort Festival or Diwali on Forts or on similar theme in and around centrally protected monument. The festivals should mainly involve the historical importance of the monument and should generate employment opportunity to the locals. Department of Tourism and MTDC shall take the entire responsibility of the festival in general. It shall be the responsibility of MTDC to keep the monument clean and environment friendly during and after the festival time.”
Raigad Fort, Sindhudurg Fort, Shivneri Fort, Rajgad Fort, Pratapgad Fort are some of the important sites proposed for festivals. Dr Govind Raj commented, “Through this partnership, we look forward to maintaining and developing the cultural heritage of Maharashtra. The aim is to showcase Maharashtra as a world-class tourist destination.”
Under this MoU, Director, Government of Maharashtra, a representative of principal secretary (Tourism), Government of Maharashtra or MD of MTDC or any officer entrusted by principal secretary (Tourism), shall be responsible for preparing proposals/project reports for providing tourists facilities in and around centrally protected sites in Maharashtra in concurrence with superintending archaeologist, ASI, under whose jurisdiction the site falls.
The director shall appoint consultant for preparation of master plan of conservation of monuments along with detailed project reports for providing tourists facilities, which shall include basic amenities such as toilets, drinking water facilities, rests shelters, cafeterias, signage, pathways, landscaping, development of parking, clock room, tents, providing other necessary tourist infrastructure such as historical museum, information centre etc. The proposal may also include the conservation and restoration of the monument in concurrence with superintending archaeologist.
As the forts in Maharashtra are spread wide in both directions, and the fortification walls of the forts are on periphery of hills; special consideration shall be given for providing tourism amenities within the fortification walls as there is deep valley or surrounding sea outside the fortification walls.
Government of Maharashtra will arrange requisite funds for all the projects from Central Financial Assistance (CFA), state government agencies, CSR funds of private companies or through PPP. Initially, the tenure of this agreement will be 10 years, which can be extended for further period on mutual consent of the parties mentioned herein.