Digha declared 'Best Weekend Tourists Destination'

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Digha, Aug 1 (UNI) The Tourism department of the Government of India has declared Digha as the 'Best Weekend Tourists Destination' in the country while the World Bank has assured to provide Rs 25 crore for the improvemment of the beach.

Digha Development Authority (DDA) Chairman Prof Anandadev Mukherjee told mediapersons here today that the Director of the West Bengal Tourism department received the award on behalf of the DDA at a function held in Mumbai yesterday.

''The World Bank has also assured the DDA of providing Rs 25 crore for developing Digha as a model beach. We are preparing a project report for utilising the funds and we will submit it to the authorities by September,'' DDA Administrator Shyamal Mandal said.

''The project report on erosion is being prepared by state Irrigation authorities, report on sewerage treatment plant by the Public Health and Engineering authorities while the report on Tourists Infrastructure Development has been prepared by the DDA itself,'' Mr Mandal added.

Earlier, the World Bank team, comprising representatives from the US, UK, Philippines and their Indian counterparts, toured the beaches of Digha and Sankarpur in January.

The endeavour to develop the Digha beach as a tourist destination in Eastern India was first taken up by Governor of Bengal during the British rule Warren Hastings in 1772.

According to historical records, Mr Hastings, when he first visited Digha, which was then known as 'Beercool', was impressed by its flat, hard beaches and casuarina trees, and wrote to his wife that he had at last discovered the ''Brighton sea beach'' of his own country in Digha.

Later however, the significance of Digha was lost in the pages of history, till first Chief Minister of West Bengal Bidhan Chandra Ray took up the work of developing it again as a tourist haven near Calcutta.

However, severe erosion of the Digha beach prompted Jadavpur University researchers, led by Prof Anandadev Mukherjee, who is now chairman of the Digha Sankarpur Development Authority, to suggest ways and means for its conservation and improvement.

The project submitted by the DDA was at last accepted by the Tourism department of the Government of India and the World Bank and the fund was granted.

UNI XC DPM RD 1106

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