Union Tourism Ministry selects Gangtok for mega tourism projects

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Gangtok, Feb 13 (UNI) The Union Tourism Ministry has selected Gangtok among 16 cities to be developed under the Ministry's latest scheme of mega tourism projects for destination and circuit development in the country.

Sikkim Tourism department officials said here today that the state capital was given the distinction of being the only city in the Northeastern region owing to its excellent performance in the tourism sector so far.

''It is a matter of great pride for us to be chosen among the 16 cities and a major achievement for us,'' state Tourism department Commissioner-cum-Secretary G P Upadhyaya told UNI today.

Mr Upadhyaya added that under the scheme, the Tourism Ministry will provide monetary assistance to the tune of Rs 25 to 50 crore for the development of tourist sites and the money would be used for beautification of the capital city.

He said the money would be utilised for development of parks, gardens, fountains, green areas, taxi stands, foot bridges, interpretation centres, escalators and other facilities.

The India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) had also been chosen by the Ministry as consultants for the project and they would first start with a master plan and submit it to the Ministry as well as the state Tourism department.

Mr Upadhyaya said they would also involve other departments, including the state Urban Development and Housing, Forest, Wildlife and Environment Management departments to assist in the project.

''The ITDC will prepare the master plan in the next two to three months and we will take up the work from the next fiscal and conclude it within a year,'' he added.

Sikkim has been performing well in the tourism index in the country and has already bagged the best tourism performing state in the NE region successively for the past five years.

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