Mah govt plans to explore tourism potential of 'Angria Bank'

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Mumbai, Mar 19 (UNI) Maharashtra Government has decided to take a lead in detailed exploration of 'Angria bank', a submerged plateau that exists around 120 km west of Vijaydurg, Ratnagiri and Malvan in Konkan region.

Finance Minister Jayant Patil, while presenting his budget proposals for 2008-09 in the Legislative assembly, said the submerged island may have potential to change the perspective of tourism not only in Maharashtra, but also in India.

The plateau has average depth of 20 metres and considering other factors, like its distance from the mainland and other oceanic conditions, it is expected that the water in the plateau would be crystal clear and it is suitable for extensive coral reef growth and it may also provide habitat for variety of fishes, which would make this site best among other Indian diving destinations.

The bathymetric chart suggest that it is 39 km in length and 17 km Wide, with 20 metres as an average depth. If further exploration yields positive results then the Maharashtra coastline may have India's largest submerged reef/island, which will have positive influence on coastal and marine tourism sector and it could be a great diving destination for domestic and international tourists.

He said that after further exploration of 'Angria Bank' and biodiversity assessment, there would be need of conducting feasibility study to establish it as a tourism destination.

Mr Patil also said that after exploration and feasibility, the state government will submit the detailed proposal to the centre to bring 'Angria Bank' under its jurisdiction so that the state government can manage the area due to its high biological diversity and also market it as its own tourism destination. An outlay of Rs five crore would be made available for this purpose.

UNI MR SR BJR KN1912

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