MTDC wants guards at heritage sites, tourist spots

In the wake of the recent blasts in the city, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) issued instructions to all the municipal corporations and municipal councils in the state to deploy security guards at heritage sites and tourist destinations in the city. The corporation also issued Rs 5 lakh to each district for preparing its own Tourism Master Plan.

“Tourism should be promoted and therefore safety of tourists should not be ignored. We had, therefore, issued written instructions to municipal corporations and councils, including the PMC to deploy security guards at tourist spots in and around the city,” MTDC GM Kishori Gadre said.

Fortification necessary: Main building of Aga Khan palace on Nagar Road where Gandhiji and his wife Kasturba were interned from 1942 to 1944, following the launch of the Quit India Movement. Pic/Anil Naik

She was in the city yesterday to speak on ‘Sustainable Tourism’ at Bhanuben Nanawati College of Architecture (BNCA) in Karvenagar. MTDC and BNCA will be signing an MOU to prepare Tourism Master Plan for the state. It will be based on plans submitted by every district in the state.

“We are doing a holistic plan, which includes security angle of these tourist destinations,” BNCA Principal Anurag Kashyap said. Experts in the field of heritage structures, geology and botany would be invited for preparing the plan. Heritage and environment security are two other issues of concern, and the plan will incorporate construction of compound walls around important sites in the districts.

“Security angle is part and parcel of the master plan,” Gadre said. MTDC Deputy Collector and Regional Manager for Pune Nayana Gurav Bondarde said there were 400 heritage and tourist spots in the district. “Tourists visit Shaniwar wada, Aaga Khan palace, Karla caves, Lonavala lake, Bhimashankar forest and forts. Security is basically required at ‘Grade A’ heritage and tourist spots,” Bondarde said.

Shyam Dhavale, executive engineer of PMC’s Heritage Cell, said the city had security arrangements at PMC-managed heritage sites. “Against the backdrop of terror threats, we are upgrading security arrangements. We are also conducting fire and structural audit of heritage sites. Instructions for deploying security guards have been issued given to privately-owned heritage sites in the city.” Dhavale said.

Sharveya Dhongade, a member of PMC’s Heritage Cell, said security arrangements are a must to protect all the heritage sites in the city. “I am raising the issue at the monthly Heritage Cell meeting soon,” Dhongade said.

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