Jagmohan to study feasibility of declaring Tirunallar a temple town

Pondicherry Sept. 26. The Union Tourism and Culture Minister, Jagmohan would visit Karaikal during October third week to study the feasibility of declaring Tirunallar, where the famous shrine of Saneeswarar is situated, a temple town, according to the Pondicherry Education and Tourism Minister, K. Lakshminarayanan.

Talking to presspersons here today, he said that already the Pondicherry Administration had been preparing a detailed plan to secure assistance from the Centre for Karaikal as a whole and specifically for the development of amenities for pilgrims visiting Saneeswarar temple.

He said that not less that two lakh pilgrims were visiting the temple every Saturday.

There was thus need to provide accommodation to them and to establish direct train and bus services. Yatri niwas (accommodation centre for tourists) would also be constructed.

Referring to the steps taken to promote tourism in Pondicherry, Mr. Lakshminarayanan said that a Rs.7-crore planetarium to promote scientific activities would be set up on a five-acre site in Pondichery.

Claiming that flow of tourists was on the increase, he said that as many as five lakh domestic tourists and 20,000 foreign tourists were visiting Pondicherry every year.

The Pondicherry Tourism and Transport Development Corporation would soon be bifurcated. More inter-State buses would be operated.

Mr. Lakshminarayanan said that under the exchange programmes tie up arrangements had been established with other State government sponsored tourism development corporations.

Arikamedu development

The Centre had provided Rs.61 lakhs to Pondicherry Government to acquire the 17-hectare site at Arikamedu near Ariankuppam in view of its historical and commercial importance. It was from Arikamedu gems and other precious stones were exported several centuries ago to Rome.

He said that in Arikamedu excavation work would be taken up. In collabroation with the Italian Government a site museum would be established. The site is situated on the banks of the backwater and hence it would be linked to the neighbouring Chunnambar tourist resort. A ban would be imposed on sale or purchase of any poromboke land.

He said private sector's role was also encouraged to promote tourism. The Government would reimburse up to 25 per cent of the cost of registration of sites acquired by the private players for tourist activities.

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