A NEW HAT
the previous UP governments laissez-faire approach, the new
Uttaranchal government has charted out a blueprint for Dehraduns
growth, unearths Savio Rodrigues
usual tourist visiting the Queen of the Hills comes
away with romantic images of snow-capped mountains, scenic surroundings,
skiing slopes and salubrious climate. But the once-outlying colonies,
settlements and villages are now being absorbed into the burgeoning
metropolis of the Doon. Having been rechristened as the capital
of the newly-formed state of Uttaranchal, this popular hill station
is whirling towards westernisation and visitors will be bemused
at the pace of development.
of Dehradun have long felt that their home has never been given
the recognition it deserves as one of Indias top tourist destinations
and a promising new business hub that is slowly, but surely scaling
new heights. According to Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, state finance
minister, Dehradun has always had the potential to emerge
as a prominent business haven, but while it was part of Uttar Pradesh,
the respective government did not pay heed to the citys business
despite the previous UP governments laissez-faire approach,
the present regime has charted out a blueprint for its growth and
is working aggressively to establish an irrepressible mark. Recently,
the state government has earmarked a budget of Rs 2,192 crore for
the current fiscal year for plan expenditure on agriculture, infrastructural
development, tourism and varied industries, and Rs 1,499 crore for
non-plan expenditure in the state, reveals Nishank.
enormous amounts being spent on new developments, it seems that
the is poised to change for good. The centre too has expressed its
commitment to the development of the state and emphasised on initiating
attractive schemes for augmenting foreign investment.
order to highlight Dehradun as a competitive business destination,
the government is working on improving its current infrastructure
that is well below the standard of most other capitals. In fact,
the government has already set the ball rolling for upgrading the
Dehradun airport to international standards.
that tourism is the mainstay of the economy, the government is reinventing
the capital and its surrounding tourist areas. Emphasises N N Prasad,
secretary, Department of Tourism, Culture, Sports and Youth Welfare,
Tourism is a bustling industry and the state has all the right
ingredients to make it a numero uno tourist haven. Every opportunity
is being explored to showcase its various facets - eco-tourism,
adventure and heritage. Racing to compete in Indias
tourist scene, the government has already sanctioned over Rs 35
crore for the development of tourism-related infrastructure.
hospitality sector too has not escaped this frenzy. The government
is working towards providing considerable tax exemption and incentives
to domestic and international hotel brands in an attempt to attract
investment in this sector. Not wanting to be left out of the boom,
many developers have expressed keen interest in setting up properties
in the city. A major business convention centre is also in the pipeline
and the ministry of tourism has initiated talks with major Indian
hospitality players for the same.
it is still possible to catch glimpses of Dehraduns old world
charm, nothing will halt the march of modernisation in this traditional
tourist hub. But fear not, as there will always be serene lakes,
snow-capped mountains and exciting adventure to contrast commercialisation.