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Tourism kit gets R-Day deadline

Jharkhand High Court on Monday asked state tourism department to install sanitation and drinking water amenities at six popular tourist spots near the capital by Republic Day.

The state assured the division bench of Justices D.N. Patel and P.P. Bhatt that drinking water kiosks, toilets, washbasins and a childrenís corner each would come up within January 26, 2014, at waterfalls Dassam, Jonha, Hirni, Hundru and Sita, as well as the quintet glory of Panchghag.

Additional advocate-general Ajit Kumar, acting as counsel for the state, told the court the tourism department was committed to completing the projects within deadline.

State counsel Kumar said depending on the height of each waterfall, toilets, drinking water kiosks, sheds and seats would be built for maximum access and ease.

The court, hearing a PIL filed by one Babloo Kumar, also directed chief secretary R.S. Sharma to ensure the tourism secretary was not transferred for at least three years.

The court observed the secretary needed a proper tenure to implement tourism jobs.

The bench gave this order in response to tourism department secretary Sajal Chakrabortyís recent observation in court that work suffered due to frequent shunting. As many as 13 secretaries had headed the department in three years, he had pointed out.

Petitioner Babloo Kumarís counsel Rajeev Kumar also raised the issue of the proposal of converting Ranchi-Seraikela-Kharsawan and East Singhbhum into a mega tourist circuit for which Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) had granted the state Rs 38 crore. However, the state has not utilised the sum yet, the petitionerís counsel pointed out.

The petitioner said crores funded by the ITDC to Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) to promote tourism lie idle or get lapsed for want of use.

In response, the court ordered (ITDC) vice-chairman be made a party in the case and directed the corporation general manager to inform what steps it could take to improve tourism in Jharkhand. The high court will take up the matter on Tuesday.

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