The City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (CIDCO) has, reportedly for the first time, undertaken a project to develop a hill station to promote eco-tourism.
CIDCO has chosen to develop new tourist spots in Chikhaldara hill station, located in Amravati district. Residential areas, hotels and theatres to promote local traditions will be developed in an eco-friendly manner to boost eco-tourism in the area.
Ashutosh Uikey, senior planner, CIDCO, said, “The hill station is still unexplored so we are going to develop the area in an ecologically sustainable way to attract tourists. We are going to develop some residential areas and hotels on the plateau. We will also construct theatres and markets to promote local culture, traditions and crafts businesses.”
The corporation intends to push medical tourism in the area, as the forests surrounding Chikhaldara are home to various medicinal plants.
To keep pollution in check, CIDCO will connect all tourist points with a ring road, constructed using the water bound macadam (WBM) technology. A WBM road is laid by binding in-situ layers of boulders, stones, fine aggregates and fillers, which are made from a mixture of sand combined with either moorum quarry dust, or soil available locally. Petroleum-run vehicles will not be allowed on this road. CIDCO will run battery-operated vehicles to ferry tourists.
“Tourists who wish to bring their vehicles will have to use the existing tar roads. Using battery-operated vehicles on the ring road will enable them to see all the tourist spots in less time,” said Uikey.
CIDCO is working on a detailed project report and will submit it to the government in the next few months. “We expect the actual construction work to start next year. Five years after construction begins, there will be visible development in the area,” added Ramesh Dengle, additional chief planner of CIDCO.
According to sources, the corporation is anticipating an expense of Rs 400 to 500 crore for the project. Incidentally, getting approvals might be a bit of a challenge for CIDCO, as most parts of Chikhaldara fall under the forest department.