By Utpal Borpujari
With drought-conditions having hit large parts of the country leading to water and power scarcity, the Centre has directed all states to discourage wastage of the two resources through water fountains and illuminations in tourist spots.
A directive to this effect has been sent to all state and Union Territory chief secretaries by the Ministry of Tourism.
The directive, part of instructions to implement a set of guidelines in designing tourism projects, also says that the states and UTs must ensure that water source, required quantity of water and irrigation system are available in the vicinity before commencing a project.
Further, rainwater harvesting, ground water recharging and zero discharge will have to be adopted by the states in tourism projects.
These and quite a few other guidelines have been formulated by the ministry following a workshop on development of world class tourism infrastructure in the capital recently.
The workshop, chaired by Tourism Minister Kumari Selja, had participation of architects, engineering organisations, tourism managers and consultants, and was aimed at sensitizing various stakeholders of the industry towards the emerging trends in world class tourism.
In a letter to state and UT chief secretaries, Tourism Secretary Sujit Banerjee has said they should concentrate on four broad categories of urban civic amenities, built heritage & signages, climatically-responsive and vernacular architecture, and urban landscape.
States should, the guidelines said, have one window clearance for tourism-related projects, and also that effort should be made to formulate schemes under mega destinations projects/circuits in consonance with the Jawaharl Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
“These guidelines would form the basis of any further tourist development project in state/UT administrations,” Banerjee said.
The states have also been asked to encourage free and frequent distribution of high quality tourist maps, guides, CDs, posters, tourism calendars, fold and take-along maps, and create wayside amenities about every 50 km on roads leading to the tourist destinations.
The states will also have to follow international norms and guidelines, including UNESCO Charters, for World Heritage Sites in particular and for other heritage sites and monuments in general.