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U’khnd cabinet’s nod to bring Ganga stretch under development authority

“The decision aims at better management and planning of the tourist facilities between Rishikesh and Devprayag along the National Highway 58,” said government spokesperson and state urban development minister Madan Kaushik.

dehradun Updated: Aug 23, 2017 20:59 IST
Anupam Trivedi 
Anupam Trivedi 
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,Uttarakhand cabinet,Ganga stretch
The cabinet took the decision in the backdrop of the National Green Tribunal ban of camping sites on the banks of river Ganga. (HT FILE)

Dehradun

The Uttarakhand cabinet on Wednesday gave a nod for undertaking a kilometre stretch on both sides of the national highway between Rishikesh and Devprayag under Haridwar Rishikesh Development Authority (HRDA).

The cabinet took the decision in the backdrop of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban of camping sites on the banks of the Ganga River, which was conditionally lifted in May.

“The decision aims at better management and planning of the tourist facilities between Rishikesh and Devprayag along the National Highway 58,” said government spokesperson and state urban development minister Madan Kaushik.

The decision has been taken as per the suggestion of the NGT and the nine villages will now fall under the HRDA, he said.

In 2015, the green tribunal banned more than 100 camping sites on the banks of the Ganga, for violating the environment norms. The ban was lifted with a few riders this year and the tribunal directed the state government to formulate a plan to keep a close eye on the tourism activities along the river bank.

The cabinet also decided that new hotels and resorts will be registered with the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UTDB),instead of the Sarai Act, 1867, which is now listed as one of the “obsolete laws”.

The move will help the tourism board to generate more revenue and streamline the hotel and resort business in the state, said Kaushik.

Hotels already registered under the Sarai Act, will have to furnish details to the UTDB.

Besides, the cabinet also underlined the need for ministers to be present in offices twice a week, he said.

“The ministers will have to be present in office every Wednesday and Thursday. People across the state come to Dehradun to meet the ministers and now they will at least get a chance to interact with them.”

Asked why ministers were not holding “janta darbar” as decided by the cabinet earlier, Kaushik said,“ Ministers were in the districts busy preparing development plans and due to inclement weather, their movement was restricted.”

In another important step, the cabinet has principally agreed on setting up centralised kitchens in four districts, including Dehradun and Haridwar.

The kitchens will be run by the Akshya Patra foundation, which will provide mid-day meals to schools falling within a 30-40 km radius from the centralised kitchens.

First Published: Aug 23, 2017 20:59 IST