Open-deck buses to ferry tourists in major centres

A rural tourism cluster showcasing the culture and heritage of Chettinad, projects to improve infrastructural facilities in temple towns and introduction of open-deck buses in major tourist cities are some of the important decisions taken by the government to promote tourism.

Prominent among the places that found space in announcements made in the Assembly by Tourism Minister S. Gokula Indira on Wednesday were Sriperumbudur (birthplace of Sri Ramanuja and the abode of Adhikesava Perumal Temple); Azhagarkoil (houses a noted Murugan shrine and also Sundararaja Perumal Temple); Tiruchendur and Tiruttani, popular Murugan shrines.

All these towns will get a facelift apart from a number of basic amenities at a cost of Rs.5 crore each.

Replying to a debate on the demands for grants for her department, Ms. Indira unveiled a plan to promote the rural tourism cluster for showcasing the cultural splendour of Chettinad. Various facilities will be provided for tourists at places such as Pillayarpatti, Vairavanpatti, Kaanadukathan, Maathur, Aathankudi, Ilayankudi and Nemam at a cost of Rs.11 crore.

The objective of the circuit is to make tourists stay in such villages and see for themselves how the rural folk live. Besides, these villagers will be given training so that they can be gainfully employed in their villages.

Ms. Indira said that Mukkombu, a tourist spot on the banks of the Cauvery in Tiruchirappalli district, would be improved at a cost of Rs.5 crore. Apart from beautifying parks, illumination, lodging facilities, public convenience, parking lot and water sports facilities would be provided.

Megahmalai in Theni district was developing into a prominent hill station. The Suruli falls in the vicinity drew a large number of tourists. Apart from various basic amenities, the ghat roads would be improved at a total cost of Rs.5 crore.

Courttalam, a major tourist spot that attracts thousands of tourists, especially from June to September, would get a major facelift, including entertainment facilities, at Rs.5 crore.

Under the Clean India project, environmental hygiene in places that attract a large number of tourists would be improved at a total cost of Rs.5 crore. This programme would benefit the Marina beach, Besant Nagar beach, important temples, memorials, falls, hill stations and boathouses. Sixteen “not-so-popular” tourist spots would be improved at a cost of Rs.10 crore. An interesting feature would be the introduction of open-deck buses in Chennai, Madurai and Tiruchirappali, where a number of spots attract tourists.

An audio guide would be introduced at Mamallapuram.

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