Lucknow : The Taj Mahal may soon be opened up for night viewing, from a safe distance though. The Uttar Pradesh government is working on a roadmap to allow night viewing and a host of other measures to "pep up tourism at Agra", one of India s top tourist destinations.
Chief Secretary Jawwed Usmani has asked officials to work on the project, which also includes creation of an eight-kilometre cycling track around the Taj and boating facility on the Yamuna. Besides asking for "more suggestions on developing areas around the Taj Mahal", he has also sought a draft project report from the departments concerned within a month.
The projects around the World Heritage monument would be taken up under the Nature Walk projects and eco-tourism vision of the state government, an official told IANS. Under the proposed project, the Taj Safari, Mumtaaz Eco-park, Camel Safari would be developed. Efforts were also on to begin the facility of boating in the Yamuna and allow tourists to view the Taj from the river, which flows adjacent to the monument to love.
The Uttar Pradesh government, officials said, was serious about developing green patches and promoting tourism in a big way at Agra. At a recent meeting with officials, the chief secretary also asked them to ensure greenery in the area, water conservation in the ravines, creation of a new nature trail, creation of a new habitat for birds in the area and to further work on the green forest areas around the Taj. It has also been decided that the financial bearing on the said projects would be borne by the Agra Development Authority (ADA), the UP Forest Corporation and the union ministries of tourism and culture and forest and environment.
The project report would be referred first to Aawas Vikaas, Forest department, and after a threadbare study of the issues, the matter would be taken to the chief minister for his approval. The Akhilesh Yadav government has recently approved an ambitious multi-million infrastructure development project for the neighbouring towns of Mathura and Vrindavan. The tourism department, along with the development authorities of these towns, has been asked to take up infrastructure development on a priority basis.
This, an official said, would include sprucing and upgradation of the Govardhan Parikrama path, establishment of 33/11 KW sub-stations, double circuit underground cable laying, establishing 40 new transformers, landscaping, setting up of kiosks, renovation of ancient water bodies, ponds and broadening of roads and lighting up the pathways. A project report for the same has also been asked for.