Mumbai, June 11: As an initial step towards unlocking Maharashtra, the Department of Tourism has signed two ‘Memorandum of Understandings’ (MoUs) with the Indian Port Rail & Ropeway Corporation Limited (IPRCL) to provide Funicular Railway/ Ropeway at Shri Ekvira Devi Temple and ropeway at Rajgad Fort, in Pune. Maharashtra Co-operative Development Corporation Ltd. (MCDC) will facilitate registrations under the Agro-Tourism Policy.
The ropeway project will be the pilot project by the Tourism government, based on Build Operate Transfer (BOT) model. The MoUs were signed on June 11, 2021 at Sahyadri Guest House, Walkeshwar, Malabar Hill, Mumbai at 1 pm, in the presence of Aaditya Thackeray, Minister of Tourism, Maharashtra, Aditi Tatkare, Minister of State for Tourism, Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism, Ashutosh Salil, MD, MTDC and Dr Dhananjay Sawalkar, Director, Directorate of Tourism (DoT).
Explaining the reason behind identifying the two particular destinations for the Ropeway Projects, Dr Dhananjay Sawalkar, Director, Directorate of Tourism shared, “Being a popular pilgrimage place and having nearby tourist attractions like Karla caves, Ekvira Devi temple witnesses 7 to 8 lakh tourists, annually. Similarly, Rajgad fort has historical significance as it was the capital of Shivaji Maharaj's Hindavi Swarajya for nearly 25 years and is a popular trekking destination. Therefore, with the development of ropeway, the religious place will be easily accessible for the tourists and will result in promoting tourism at these locations.”
Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism said, “We have entered the global market by conducted International Agri-tourism conference, which was attended by the representatives of around 20 to 25 countries. It gives me immense pleasure to know that DoT has selected IPRCL and MCDC for these projects as they are already acing in their respective fields and will deliver what is expected.”
Aditi Tatkare, Minister of State for Tourism expressed her happiness and suggested MCDC to organise school and college trips at the agri-tourism centres and impart knowledge about these new models that not only give scope to entrepreneurship but also supports agriculture, which is largely practiced in Maharashtra.
Aaditya Thackeray, Minister of Tourism, Maharashtra said, “These two MoUs are definitely going to encourage tourism in the state thereby boosting responsible and sustainable tourism practices across the State. We look forward to starting these projects in the next year.”
Milind Akre, MD, MCDC said, “I appreciate the agri-tourism policy created by the Tourism department and the initiatives taken by the Maharashtra tourism. With this MoU, MCDC will help in providing training to the farmers to facilitate Agro-tourism development, promote Agri-tourism as a supplementary business, facilitate registrations with DoT under the Agri-Tourism Policy, increase awareness of local agricultural products and enhance significance of preserving agricultural land.”
Anil Kumar Gupta, Director, IPRCL said, “A ropeway project requires very less land acquisition, is cost-effective and eco-friendly. It will definitely be beneficial for the tourism sector in Maharashtra. We are happy to have got this opportunity.”