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UP Budget 2018: Yogi Govt Goes Big on Religious Tourism, Rs 94 cr Allocated for Kailash Mansarovar Guest House

Among the highlights of the UP Budget was the allocation of funds for the Kailash Mansarovar Guest House in Ghaziabad. A budgetary provision of Rs. 94.26 crore (has been made) for its construction.

Uday Singh Rana | News18.com

Updated:February 16, 2018, 4:37 PM IST
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UP Budget 2018: Yogi Govt Goes Big on Religious Tourism, Rs 94 cr Allocated for Kailash Mansarovar Guest House
Representative image. (Reuters)
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New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister Rajesh Aggarwal on Friday presented the UP State Budget for the financial year 2018-19 in the UP Vidhan Sabha. The budget speech, which was barely an hour long, gave highlights of development scheme the Yogi Adityanath government will undertake in the coming financial year. This year, the government plans to go big on religious tourism to boost the state’s economy. In addition to the development of the Ramayana, Krishna, Budh and Sufi circuits across the state, the government will also spend Rs. 94.26 crore on the construction of a Kailash Mansarovar Guest House in Ghaziabad.

While presenting the budget, Finance Minister Rajesh Aggarwal said, “Budgetary provision of Rs. 1,500 crore (has been made) for Kumbha Mela-2019.” The state government allocated Rs. 70 crore for the “successful implementation” of the UP Tourism Policy. This includes the development of the Ramayana, Krishna, Budh and Sufi circuits. Aggarwal added, “Brij Teertha Vikas Parishad has been setup to promote pilgrimage tourism in the Brij Circuit. An amount of Rs. 100 crore has been proposed to develop infrastructural facilities in the Circuit.”

He added that the state government had set aside an amount of Rs. 10 crore to “organise various festivals and functions to showcase the cultural heritage of the state”.

Among the highlights of the budget was the allocation of funds for the Kailash Mansarovar Guest House in Ghaziabad. “A budgetary provision of Rs. 94.26 crore (has been made) for construction of Kailash Mansarovar Bhawan in Ghaziabad,” Aggarwal said.

In September 2016, the then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav visited Ghaziabad to inaugurate the Ala Hazrat Haj House on the banks of the river Hindon. This was the second major government guest house for pilgrims to be constructed in Uttar Pradesh, apart from the one in Lucknow. In August 2017, officials were scurrying to ready another plot of land in Ghaziabad for another CM. This time, UP CM Yogi Adityanath laid the foundation stone of a guest house for Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims instead of a Haj House. Meanwhile, the Haj House, not so far away, has been lying unused since September 2016 due to a stay ordered by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Initially scheduled to be built at a cost of Rs 50 crore, the Kailash Mansarovar Guest House will be able to house over 500 pilgrims. It will be built over an area of 8,125 square metres and will have an adjacent garden on an additional 1,000 square metres. UP Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi, while speaking to News 18, had hailed this as a “necessary step” and lauded the CM for clearing the path for construction. “I don’t see this as something very novel, I see this as something necessary. I am glad the CM cleared the construction so soon. The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is one of the most arduous journeys undertaken by pilgrims anywhere. In fact, many people don’t even clear the physical test to embark on the journey. The state government can do this much to ensure that their journey becomes a little bit easier,” said Joshi.

She denied that there was any “saffron agenda” behind this move. “The Guest House is not being constructed by tearing down a Haj House. It is not even being built by diverting funds from one. We are not helping one community at the cost of another,” Joshi added.

Lashing out at previous governments, Joshi said, “Unfortunately, previous governments have neglected tourism. These facilities for pilgrims, of all faiths, should have been put in place much earlier. They never branded UP Tourism properly. Other states, which have a lot less to offer to tourists than us, have done a much better job of building their brand and earning much more revenue. However, the current government is committed to overhauling tourism in the state.”
| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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