After a four-year pursuit for suitable land to construct its ambitious one-stop tourism centre for domestic and foreign tourists, the state government has finally ended its search. Authorities are set to approve the Paryatan Bhavan, a tourism centre that will make available all kinds of information on the state and country in one central point.
Although Rs 22 crore was allocated for the project thatwas mooted four years ago, the sluggish decision making process at the state-level meant that the concept was not pursued in earnest. The state was unable to make a quick decision on choosing a suitable piece of land. First, a piece of land was sought in the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) zone and later changing track, authorities planned to utilise a plot at Bandra-Kurla Complex, owned by the Maharashtra Maritime Board. “But, we finally zeroed in on a plot behind the Taraporevala Aquarium,” said a senior government official from the Mantralaya.
According to the official, the aquarium has around 8,000-sq mtrs floor space allotted to it and after its renovation the remaining would be used for the Paryatan Bhavan. While 6,000-sq mtrs will be used for the tourism facility, the balance 2,000 sq mtrs will be reserved for the Department of Fisheries, he added.
A meeting proposed on Tuesday for a final decision on the tourism complex had to be postponed at the behest of the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. “The meeting is likely to be held soon,” said a source from the department.
Currently, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), the state arm entrusted with the job of managing the development of the tourism sector, operates from the government barracks located near Mantralaya. A few offices of the MTDC operate from Ravindra Natya Mandir complex in Prabhadevi and they are badly in need of space, ever since they had to vacate their offices in Express Towers in south Mumbai, a few years ago, said the source.
The state embarked on the initiative with the intention of bringing all wings attached with the state tourism department under one roof, while also making room for tourism departments from other states.
“For tourists who wish to visit places in Maharashtra and the rest of the country, the proposed building is aimed to help them reach tourist hotspots and also boost the tourism industry,” the official said.