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Centre’s cash to deck up state

- Lavish Rs 34cr revamp package for 34 tourist spots

Ranchi, Dec. 21: Jharkhand can hope to look good and preen before admiring hordes in the coming year as India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has handpicked 34 sites for facelift, inviting bids today to beautify 21 of them.

Ranchi MP and veteran Congressman Subodh Kant Sahay had conceived the Rs 34-crore project when he was the Union tourism minister, said ITDC sources. Called Ranchi tourism circuit development project, it however has sites elsewhere too, as Chandil dam in Seraikela-Kharsawan and Dimna Lake in East Singhbhum testify.

The first round of bids for the makeover of 21 sites has a tidy Rs 15-crore budget. This apart, Rs 5.5 crore will be spent to open a cutting-edge convention centre at Hotel Ashok, Doranda, in Ranchi. The ITDC will also invite bids for the remaining 13 tourist sites “very soon” so all the projects can be executed within the remaining months of the 2012-13 financial year.

Tourist destinations on the revamp radar include manmade, natural and spiritual bounty.

Picturesque McLucskieganj, an Anglo-Indian destination with British period bungalows, Tagore Hill, made famous by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s prolifically creative brother Jyotirindranath, as well as the martyr’s memorial Shaheed Chowk, both in Ranchi, fall in the first category.

Dasam and Jonha falls, Rukka or Getalsud dam, Bundu pond and Ranichuan hot water springs, all in Ranchi district; Dimna Lake near Jamshedpur and Chandil dam, Seraikela-Kharsawan, are examples of natural beauties on the list.

Jagannathpur temple near JSCA International Cricket Stadium Complex in the capital, Surya Mandir in Bundu, Sati Ghat mela site and Haradih Mandir in Sonahatu, Haradih temple in Sonahatu and Deori Temple in Tamar are some of the spiritual abodes that the ITDC is seeking to develop as pilgrim-tourist magnets.

General manager (engineering) of ITDC A.B. Kumar told The Telegraph over phone from New Delhi that the Union tourism ministry sanctioned the project in August.

“We are not sitting on the project. We did surveys of tourist destinations that needed facelifts. Today, we invited bids that we expect will be finalised on January 4 at the New Delhi headquarters of the ITDC. We are hopeful of good response,” he said.

This will be second such initiative in December by the government to boost Jharkhand’s tourism sector. Recently, Jharkhand State Tourism Development Centre (JSTDC) had roped in private players to run its prime properties like hotels and information centres on long-lease basis across destinations including Jamshedpur, Giridih, Hazaribagh, Hundru Falls and others.

JSTDC has also roped in security and cleanliness agencies for better upkeep of three important sites that thousands visit from and outside the state. “The places include Jonha and Hundru waterfalls near Ranchi and Maa Chhinnamastika temple at Rajrappa in neighbouring Ramgarh district, about 65 km from the state capital,” said JSTDC managing director Sunil Kumar.


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