ANDHRA PRADESH

Tourism takes the cake in budget allocation

HYDERABAD, JULY 24. The budget estimate for the Department of Tourism, Art and Culture for 2004-05 -- at Rs. 84.63 crores including plan and non-plan expenditure -- is twice that of last year.

Of this, Rs.62.11 crores is for plan expenditure and Rs.22.52 crores for non-plan. The major chunk is for the tourism component at Rs.66 crores, while the budget estimates for culture is Rs. 9 crores and for archaeology and museums, Rs. 8.3 crores.

With tourism enjoying industry status because of its potential for employment and income generation in rural sector, the emphasis has been mainly on providing accommodation, catering, transport and recreational facilities at tourist sites.

The focus will be on family oriented tourism, heritage and pilgrim tourism, creating wayside amenities, weekend getaways, health tourism and provision of easy-on-the-pocket accommodation for domestic tourists and promotion of handicrafts and handlooms.

Projects on the anvil

Some of the projects to be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs.15.5 crores include Hastakalaramam at Tirupati, rural tourism at Pochampally, developing `Erramatti Dibbalu' as desert village in Vizag and setting up of tourist information centres. The Department of Culture's budget provision includes plan expenditure of Rs.6.1 crores for revival of rare art forms and administration of schools and colleges of music and dance.

The Department of Archaeology and Museums will develop Qutub Shahi tombs, Paigah tombs and other museums and take up preservation/conservation of protected monuments.

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