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World Bank team discusses tourism development

Aug 15, 2013

In a bid to bring about sustainable development through tourism, a World Bank team surveyed various Buddhist areas to bring about tourism development.

A five-member team of the World Bank officials recently surveyed the ongoing development works under Jawaharlal Nehru Uraban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and the present condition of the tourist places at Sarnath along with the prospect of developing a Buddhist circuit to promote tourism in the city.

The team, including two Indian members, held meetings with the DM, regional tourism officer (RTO) and the deputy superintending archaeologist on Tuesday to discuss different issues regarding tourism development in the region.

Recently, an initiative, Pro-poor tourism development programme, has been taken by the state tourism department by focusing on Buddhist Circuit and Agra-Braj Corridor in a bid to use tourism as an anti-poverty tool and simultaneously increasing the revenue generation. According to RTO, Ravindra Mishra, the project, apart from providing better experiences to tourists, will also provide better employment opportunities to handicraft and handloom weavers and other traditional artisans.

It is worth to mention here that the World Bank is to provide a fund of Rs 1,700 crore for the development of major centres on the Buddhist circuit including Sarnath, Kushinagar, Shrawasti along with the development of Agra and Mathura. The state government has also planned to invest Rs 500 crore in this mega project.

The RTO said, the team was in the city to visit prospective sites for the different projects and to identify the areas of difficulties. The members wanted to understand the working of different government agencies of Centre and the state, especially, about the process of funding for different projects which we have now explained to them.

During the meeting, the DM assured the team that the ongoing works under the JNNURM would be completed within a year so that the tourism projects can be undertaken, said the official. The RTO also presented a project to develop an interpretation centre for Buddhism at Sarnath during the meet. The centre will be developed in front of the museum near the model reception centre (MCR) and will display different literatures and pictures depicting the life and sermons of the Buddha, informed the official.

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