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Elephanta island near Mumbai to get elevated walkway, amphitheatre

State tourism minister Jaykumar Rawal said the Maharashtra government intends to keep the island “green” while carrying out development work.

mumbai Updated: Jan 30, 2018 11:20 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Elephanta Island,Tourism
Elephanta Caves attract a huge number of domestic as well as foreign tourists yearly to enjoy the picturesque rock-cut caves.(Picture for Representation)

In a bid to attract tourists to the Elephanta Island, the state government has decided to spend Rs93 crore to build a new jetty, elevated walkway and tourist facilities such as eco-toilets, tents, heritage centre and amphitheatre there.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the two-day Elephanta Festival, state tourism minister Jaykumar Rawal said the government intends to keep the island “green” while carrying out development work. He said the island’s development will help locals, who primarily depend on fishing and tourism for their livelihood. “We have taken the island on the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation’s (MTDC) agenda. We plan to invest Rs93 crore for the development of the island. We will introduce battery-operated toy train instead of the diesel one to keep the island green,” Rawal said.

The island, which is also known as Gharapuri Island, has three small villages — Shetbandar, Morabandar and Rajbandar with a population of 1,200. These communities depend on farming, fishing and tourism to earn their livelihood. Elephanta Caves attract a huge number of domestic as well as foreign tourists yearly to enjoy the picturesque rock-cut caves.

Rawal said the department also plans to construct an elevated walkway around the island for tourists to get a birdseye view, and will also chalk out a nature trail on the 16 sq km island.

The minister added that for the first time the MTDC and Airbnb, a hospitality service, will collaborate with the villagers on the island to provide for homestay facilities for tourists. “The MTDC and Airbnb will associate with residents of the island to offer homestay services. In 2018, there is a plan to have at least 100 houses on the island that can be used for homestays,” Rawal said.

First Published: Jan 30, 2018 10:16 IST