In a bid to boost tourism, the civic body has kick-started its plans to make the city’s very own P L Deshpande garden located on Sinhagad road the new tourist destination. As part of the Shilpa Gram project, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will convert 3.5 acres of the garden into an arts and food centre. Work on the ambitious project, similar to the ‘Dilli Haat’ concept, will start next month.
The project aims at bringing together craftwork and cuisine from across the country under one roof, where food courts dishing out sumptuous delicacies from different states and union territories will be on offer. Also planned is an exhibition hall, a souvenir shop selling an assortment of small gift items, an open stage for cultural programmes and a playing area exclusively earmarked for children.
Authentic food items from different corners of the country, which include momos from Sikkim, dhokla from Gujarat, kahwa and kebabs from Kashmir, will be offered to tourists and residents. “Work on the Shilpa Gram will start soon. The total cost of the project is pegged at Rs 1.20 cr and 3.5-acre land will be utilized. We have appointed the famous landscape designer Shobha Bhopatkar for this project.
Stalls will be changed frequently, so that people can get a taste of different states. Rent will be charged from the stalls on a monthly basis. Visitors will be charged a nominal entrance fee, which would be between Rs 10 and 20. The civic body will generate a good revenue from the rent and sale of tickets,” said Rajendra Jagtap, deputy commissioner, PMC.
“We have initiated this project to promote Pune as a tourist destination. The project was planned in the three phases. In the first phase, the Japanese and Mughal garden was developed. Shilpa Gram is the second phase. In the third phase, an aquarium has been proposed to attract children. After the Shilpa Gram project, work on the aquarium will commence.
There was a provision of Rs 1.50 crore in this year’s budget for development of the existing aquarium of Sambhaji garden. We have transferred funds from there for the new aquarium,” Jagtap added. P L Deshpande garden, which is spread across 30 acres, has a Japanese garden that occupies 10 acres. Last year, the civic body also developed a Mughal Garden, which occupies five acres. The garden is a replica of the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Mughal Garden.
Rs 1.2 cr
Estimated cost of the Shilpa Gram project