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Boost for tourism, 4 new places to be developed

Aurangabad: In what came as a shot in arm for local tourism sector, the state government has approved the tourism development plan involving four key tourist destinations near Aurangabad—Mhaismal, Ellora, Khuldabad and Shuli Bhanjan.The basic infrastructure and facilities along with conservation activities will be carried out at these places at a financial outlay of Rs 438.44 crore sanctioned.A special meeting chaired by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at Mumbai, cleared the tourism development plan on Wednesday.While giving nod to the tourism development plan, the chief minister has specifically asked the officials concerned to develop infrastructure and facilities for locals apart from focusing on tourist-centric development. "Such resolve is to ensure sustainable development of tourist places by involving locals," said a senior government official, who was part of the meeting.While huge amount of money will be involved in development of tourist places, the government has ordered stringent checks on quality of products used. "Besides, the CM has also ordered the tourism officials to plan the entire work flow in a meticulous way in order to complete the work in a time-bound manner," the authorities said.Development of roads to all the four places and water supply scheme for Mhaismal and Shuli Bhanjan are some of the major works that will be undertaken shortly. 

Construction of sewage treatment plants, increasing the storage capacity of minor irrigation projects and other such arrangements are some of the key works that will be executed as a part of tourism development plan.As regards to conservation and restoration works, the tourism development plans to focus on Bani Begum Baug, tomb of Nijamshaha and house of Maratha noble Malojiraje Bhosale and Ellora caves. It has also proposed fortification and beautification of Hauj-e-khas, Pangra and Dharam lakes."Construction of accommodation facilities, toilets and tourist information centres have also found a place in the plan," authorities said.Dulari Qureshi, expert in Art History, said, "Approval of tourist development plan covering three lesser known destinations excluding Ellora would ensure conservation as well as promotion of these places."Unlike Ajantha-Ellora, Mhaismal, Khuldabad and Shuli Bhanjan have hardly received any official attention till date. "As a fallout of this, these places have remained underdeveloped, despite boasting some picturesque locations.

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