Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board (MPTB) has decided to launch a project to make 50 tourist places in the state safe and secure for women. They include Chambal, Pachmarhi, Shahdol, Khajuraho, Chanderi, Datia, Sanchi, Ujjain and Burhanpur. Under the project, around 40,000 women working at these places would be trained in self-defence.
The MPTB organised a workshop at the Minto Hall on Thursday to get inputs from various stakeholders on the project. The event was inaugurated by state tourism minister Usha Thakur. Among the key participants were Susan Ferguson is the UN Women Representative for India. Anju Dubey Pandey, Lead, Gender Responsive Governance Team, UN Women and Aruna Mohan Rao, Special DG of MP Police.
Thakur said that making places of tourist interest safe for women was not only the administrative but also the moral responsibility of the government. She appreciated the tagline of the project, “Dil khol ke ghumo, hindustan ke dil mein, aap safe hai.’
Principal Secretary, Tourism and MD of Tourism Board, Sheo Shekhar Shukla said that the project would be launched by the Board in collaboration with the state police and UN Women India. He described the project as “ambitious, timely and socially useful”.
Shukla said that the Board plans to impart skill training to around 10,000 women to enable them to work as tour operators, front office staff, taxi drivers etc in the hospitality sector.
Fergusson said that building a safe environment for women involves sensitizing society, improving basic infrastructure and policy changes. “This project,” she said, “would set an example not only for other Indian states but also for other countries.”
Pandey said that research was needed on how to make tourism safe for women. “This project would provide us valuable inputs in that direction,” she said.
Aruna Mohan Rao said that only women empowered in every sense of the word can feel safe and secure. She said that the project would help sensitize the police force. The police, she said, would also help in providing training in self-defence to women.
An MoU was signed between the Tourism Board, Police department and UN Women for the implementation of the project. Representatives of the hotel and tourism industry also attended the workshop.
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