Ambika Soni for task force to protect tourist places

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Pinjore, Oct 3 (UNI) Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni today urged all state governments to constitute a task force by using the expertise of retired defence personnel to protect important tourist destinations.

This will also provide re-employment to defence personel, she said.

Ms Soni was speaking after inaugurating the third 3-day Pinjore Heritage Festival amidst festivities of various kinds at Yadvendra Gardens.

She said that the budget for promotion of tourism in the country had been raised from Rs 600 crore to Rs 1,000 crore. On a demand of Rs 50 crore from Haryana to develop Kurukshetra-Pinjore-Panipat circuit, Rs 26 crore had been allocated and remaining funds would be given soon, she said.

Impressed by the work done by Self Help Groups of Haryana at the Anarkali Bazar in the festival and the steps being taken by the State for women empowerment, she allocated Rs two crore for construction of a girls hostel at Indian Institute of Hotel Management at Kurukshetra.

While referring to the request of Chief Minister Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda to set up an Institute of Hotel Management at Rohtak, she suggested that Mr Hooda to include hostel facility in the proposal for the institute.

She pointed out that she had allocated adequate funds for Haryana to enable the children of the State to prepare themselves in the field of hospitality for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

She stressed the need to market rural tourism and handicrafts so as to preserve rich folk culture and traditional craftsmanship.

In his address Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda described Kurukshetra as a hub of tourism and said that it has ample potential to emerge as a place of immense tourist attraction at international level.

He said that Haryana was prepared to share the expenditure to make Kurukshetra a stopover for the proposed luxury train for Punjab.

The tourism spots could be developed on both sides of the National Highway-I, he said.

Haryana Minister of State for Tourism, Ms Kiran Choudhry said that Bhima Devi temple here would soon be integrated with Yadvendra Gardens to be a part of a circuit.

She said that 9,000 rooms will be ready in Haryana for ensuing Commonwealth Games.

UNI HS MP VC2146

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