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Sundarbans to be developed as Eco-Tourism hub: Ambika Soni

Written by: Staff
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Kolkata, July 5 (UNI) The Union Ministry of Tourism will help promote the Sundarbans, the mangrove forests of Bengal, as an eco-tourism hub.

Speaking to mediapersons, after a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee here today, Union Minister for Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni said, '' Mr Bhattacharjee has expressed desire to create a sustainable eco-tourism hub in the Sundarbans. I have assured him that the Centre would provide all necessary support to the state government.'' '' We have also discussed about Tea tourism. Two circuits in the state will be developed for this purpose,'' she stated.

The state government had proposed a Rs eight crore project for tea tourism and the Centre has already allocated Rs 388.98 lakh in 2006-07 in this regard.

The state government should develop forest and PWD guest houses, she said, adding this kind of tourism could be developed in the state with public-private partnership because such programmes could not be solely run by Central assistance.

'' The state government has also proposed to start 'city tourism' in which the tourists would go around Kolkata experiencing its rich history.'' Several traditional roadside food stalls would be set up in the heart of the city. The Centre would provide assistance to illuminate all the heritage sites at night, Ms Soni said.

The Union Ministry of Culture would also set up a regional cultural hub in the city, which would work as an umbrella organisation for five central academies like Lalit Kala Academy and Sahitya Academy in the state.

'' We have asked for land from the state government and the Chief Minister has assured to provide it soon,'' Ms Soni said.

UNI JYN KK RR DS1601

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