Rejuvenation of Ayodhya and Mathura

Rejuvenation of Ayodhya and Mathura 

The Ministry of Tourism has launched a scheme Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual Augmentation Drive  (PRASAD) for development and beautification of important pilgrimage sites of the country in 2014-15. Under the scheme 13 sites have been identified so far for development, namely Ajmer, Amritsar, Amaravati, Dwarka, Gaya, Kedarnath, Kamakhya, Kanchipuram, Mathura, Patna, Puri, Varanasi and Velankanni.

Details of the funds sanctioned for the projects of Mathura under PRASAD Scheme are as under:-
             (Rs. in crore)
Sl. No.
Name of the project
Sanctioned Amount
Year- 2014-15
Uttar Pradesh
Development of Mathura-Vrindavan as Mega Tourist Circuit (Ph-II)
- do-
Construction of Tourist Facilitation Centre at Vrindavan, Distt. Mathura

The Ministry of Tourism has also launched another scheme, Swadesh Darshan for integrated development of theme based tourist circuits in the country in 2014-15. Ramayana and Krishna Circuits are among the thirteen thematic circuits identified for development under the scheme.

The destinations initially identified for development under the Ramayana, Krishna Circuits in the country are as under:
·           Ramayana Circuit: Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringverpur & Chitrakoot (Uttar Pradesh); Sitamarhi, Buxar & Darbhanga (Bihar); Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh); Mahendragiri (Odisha); Jagdalpur (Chattisgarh); Nashik & Nagpur (Maharashtra) Bhadrachalam (Telangana); Hampi (Karnataka) and Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu).
·           Krishna Circuit: Dwarka (Gujarat); Nathdwara, Jaipur & Sikar (Rajasthan); Kurukshetra (Haryana), Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Barsana, Nandgaon & Govardhan (Uttar Pradesh) and Puri (Odisha).

In the current financial year, the budget allocation for the PRASAD scheme is Rs.100 crore while that for the Swadesh Darshan scheme is Rs.706.35 crore. Suitable projects relating to the identified sites/circuits are eligible for sanction subject to adherence to scheme guidelines, availability of resources and submission of previous utilization certificates.


Development of Buddhist Sites

The Ministry of Tourism launched a new plan scheme Swadesh Darshan for Integrated Development of Theme-Based Tourist Circuits in the country in the year 2014-15. Buddhist Circuit has been identified as one of the thirteen thematic circuits for development under the scheme. All places associated with Buddhist Heritage in the country are covered under this theme.

The Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance to State Governments/Union Territory Administrations for tourism projects including Buddhist sites in consultation with them subject to availability of funds, liquidation of pending utilization certificates and adherence to the scheme guidelines.

Under Buddhist Circuit theme, Ministry has sanctioned projects “Construction of Cultural Centre at Bodhgaya, Bihar” for Rs.33.17 crore in 2014-15 and “Development of Buddhist Circuit in Sanchi-Satna- Rewa-Mandsaur-Dhar in Madhya Pradesh” for Rs.74.94 crore in 2016-17.

The details of projects carried out with foreign assistance for development of Buddhist sites during the last five years is given below:-

1. Ajanta Ellora Conservation and Tourism Development Project (Phase-II) 2003-2014: A loan agreement for an amount equivalent to 7331 million JPY was signed between Government of India and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in March 2003 for the above project. The places covered under the project were Ajanta, Ellora, Aurangabad, Daultabad, Patnadevi, Lonar in Maharashtra. The project was completed in July 2014 and the total expenditure incurred on the project is Rs.250.30 crore approx.

2. Designing of comprehensive plan for upgradation of Buddhist sites in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, the Departments of Tourism of the Governments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) (World Bank Group) had entered into an agreement for advisory services in October 2013 for designing and implementing a comprehensive plan for upgradation of Buddhist sites in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The work on the project is over and the strategy formulated by IFC “Investing in Buddhist circuit-2014-2018” was released in July 2014. The total cost of project was Rs.4.50 crore of which the share of Ministry of Tourism was 50%, IFC 40% and the States of Bihar and UP was 5% each.

This information was given by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

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