Maharashtra government plans to develop SGNP as major tourist attraction

Mumbai: Maharashtra government plans to develop Mumbai's Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) into a tourist destination of international standards.

State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar met SGNP officials yesterday and reviewed the encroachments and rehabilitation of people living in the park. The state government would make special budgetary provision for forest development and upgradation of SGNP, Mungantiwar said.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park. File pic

The challenge is to develop the existing tourist spots, he said. Nearly 40 per cent of tourist arrivals in India are at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here, out of whom 32 per cent leave the city within 24 hours to other tourist destinations in the country, he said.

There are very few cities like Mumbai which have a thick green forest cover in the city limits like the SGNP. If the park is developed as per international standards and it attracts tourists, the state revenue will also increase, the minister said. Protection of trees is important for which awareness among children is needed.

"The help of school education department will be taken for the purpose," he added.

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