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UP Investors Summit 2018: Quest for holy-some investment

Religious circuits: The state government is expected to make an informal push for investment in and around religious cities in order to connect with global tourists

lucknow Updated: Feb 16, 2018 14:19 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UP Investors Summit 2018,Uttar Pradesh,Ayodhya
Developmnet plan for Braj region is said to be also on the cards.(HT)

The vice chancellor of a state-run university was in for a surprise when some potential investors recently asked him about the feasibility of setting up a chain of hotels in and around Ayodhya, one of the hotspots of UP’s religious tourism.

“With government focus, investors are beginning to realise the need to invest here. It’s a win-win situation. Development will improve infrastructure and the standard of living of people here. The increased tourist footfall will help investors make money,” said Professor Manoj Dixit, the vice chancellor of Dr RML Awadh University, Faizabad.

“The enquiry about the hotels is important because it means people are already beginning to see potential in UP’s rich religious and cultural heritage,” he says.

Similar enquiries are being made for other religious places too, from Mathura to Naimisharanya in Sitapur and Varanasi and Vindhyachal, say officials close to chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

The UP government is hoping to not only attract investment but also connect with global tourists so that these novelties make them travel to the most populous state.

During his Myanmar visit in August last year, Adityanath had marketed the Buddhist circuit, along with the Krishna and Ramayana circuits, to the international audience.

“We are already working on a plan to improve air connectivity between various UP cities,” said Awanish Awasthi, UP’s principal secretary and director general, tourism.

Sources said the much-delayed Kushinagar airport project too would soon become operational. Once ready, it will be a crucial link to the Buddhist circuit that comprises several east UP districts and parts of Bihar. The state government is also coming up with a joint cultural centre known as ‘Apravasi Bhawan’ in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.

Not surprisingly, during the two-day Uttar Pradesh investors summit, the BJP government in UP is expected to make an informal push for investment in and around religious cities.

To draw investors to the religious towns, the government has come up with an ambitious circuit plan. This includes the Shakti Peeth circuit to develop places linked to Hindu goddesses and one lined up around cities connected with the Mahabharata era. A Sufi circuit has also been planned and will be showcased at the investors’ summit as a potential investment opportunity.

“These religious places could develop and as their economy booms, they will develop into money spinners. But for this to happen, the state government will have to ensure proper infrastructure, connectivity, hotel accommodation and security of tourists among a host of other things,” says Professor Pushpesh Pant of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

UP government officials say the government is aware and working to a plan. “We will welcome investment in the hospitality and accommodation sector as well as transportation. Then, you will require guided tours and obviously that will mean tour guides too. We are also expecting yoga and wellness centres to come up here,” an official said.

The Adityanath government’s religious push is being aided by the centre. Tourism development of 94 various sites in 34 districts of UP has already been sanctioned by the ministry of tourism under the Heritage Circuit, Spiritual Circuit I & II of Swadesh Darshan Scheme.

Similarly, an integrated tourism development plan for Ayodhya under the Ramayana circuit of the Swadesh Darshan scheme has been cleared. So is a similar plan under the ‘Prasad’ scheme for Varanasi, development of Gorakhpur, Dumariyaganj under Siddhartha Nagar and Devipatan under the spiritual circuit of Swadesh Darshan scheme. Similar, development plans are also due for Naimisharanya, Allahabad, the Braj region comprising Barsana, Goverdhan, Vrindavan and Gokul as well.

UPCOMING CIRCUITS

The circuit plan is an elaborate, exhaustive one. Once it finds investors, it has been tailored to develop the entire state, officials say.

The Ramayana circuit comprises Ayodhya, Chitrakoot and Shringhverpur.

The Mahabharata circuit will be made up of Hastinapur (Meerut district), Kampilya (Farrukhabad district) and Ahichchhatra (Ramnagar in Bareilly district).

The Krishna circuit will cover Mathura, Vrindavan, Goverdhan, Gokul, Nandgaon and Barsana.

The Jain Circuit: Meerut, Agra, Kaushambi, Varanasi, Deoria, Ayodhya, Shravasti and Farrukhabad.

Sufi Circuit: Fatehpur Sikri, Rampur, Badaun, Bareilly, Lucknow, Kakori, Dewa Sharif, Bahraich, Kichocha Sharif, Syed Kadak Shah Dargah and Allahabad.

Shakti Peeth Circuit: Vindhyachal, Balrampur, Varanasi, Kaushambi, Allahabad, Sonabhadra and Saharanpur.

The Kawad Circuit: Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gonda, Lakhimpur Kheri, Kalinjar and Ayodhya.

FREEDOM STRUGGLE CIRCUIT

Bithoor town (Kanpur), Kakori, Meerut and all other cantonments of state)

CRAFTS, CUISINE AND CULTURE CIRCUITS

Lucknow, Agra, Rampur, Firozabad, Varanasi, Moradabad, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Kannauj, Pilibhit, Bareilly, Aligarh, Najibabad and Nagina.

WATER SPORTS CIRCUIT

Gorakhpur, Chuka, Pilibhit, Mata Tila (Lalitpur), Vindhya, Rajgarh (Jhansi).

EXISTING CIRCUITS

Heritage Arc: Agra, Lucknow, Varanasi

Braj circuit: Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan

Vindhya Varanasi Circuits: Varanasi, Chunar, Vindhyanchal

Awadh Circuit: Lucknow, Dewa Sharif, Naimisharanya, Ayodhya

Buddhist circuit: Sarnath, Kushinagar, Kapilvastu, Shravasti, Kaushambi and Sankisa (Farrukhabad district).

First Published: Feb 16, 2018 14:19 IST