On World Tourism Day, Taj city Agra a story of neglect
On World Tourism Day Thursday, Taj city Agra has little to celebrate in spite of being a favourite tourist destination. This is because of the total lack of forward planning, industry stakeholders say.
“There is neither the will nor any major policy push being contemplated by the state government, which had made many promises at the time of elections. The UP tourism department looks hardly prepared to create the kind of ambience required to encash the boom in the industry,” said Shishir Bhagat, president of Wake Up Agra, an NGO working on different issues that people in the city face.
Agra is one of India’s top tourist destinations. Yet, it lacks basic infrastructure, and thus cannot take advantage of the interest generated in India and its tourist attractions, said Surendra Sharma, founder-president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association.
“The (previous) Mayawati government did nothing, and we had great hopes from the young Akhilesh Yadav,” Sharma said, talking of how successive chief ministers have let the city down.
“We thought the scenario would change for the better, we expected some action on our long list of demands. So far, however, there is nothing to indicate that the state government is treating Agra as a priority,” Sharma lamented.
The president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association Rakesh Chauhan added, “What could be more amazing than the fact that there are no flights and no air connectivity with Agra? Our demand for a decent civil airport in Agra has been cold storaged. All our leaders do is grab land and make money.”