December 2012

Making Udaipur an eco-friendly tourist destination

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Vikas Sitaram JI

Vikas Sitaramji Bhale
Udaipur District Magistrate & Collector

 

“To ensure round-the-year flow of tourists,even during summers when many lakes in the City of Lakes go dry, the district administration has taken a number of steps,” asserts Udaipur District Magistrate &Collector, Vikas Sitaramji Bhale

 

Udaipur is essentially known as an exotic travel destination. But what about the state of IT infrastructure in the district! Please tell us about the condition of broadband connectivity in Udaipur?
Connectivity is definitely a big problem. As far as urban areas are concerned, there is broadband connectivity. But in rural areas, it is missing. As we all know, connectivity is the most important factor for the IT industry. BSNL has been doing work for increasing the broadband connectivity, particularly in rural areas of the district. We have completed all the Rajeev Gandhi Seva Kendras, which are the knowledge base bureau and help desks for any person in need of any assistance regarding administration, government schemes, etc. The Kendras basically provide government-to-citizen services in a transparent, efficient way. Once the connectivity issue is sorted out, their working will improve substantially.

What initiatives are being taken up to address the poor quality of broadband in the area?
Though agencies are working to lay down optical fibre network across the district, creation of broadband network is a difficult task, largely in view of the demography of the district, which has hilly tract and tough terrains. So it will take time. We are taking up steps to improve connectivity to roll out various citizen-centric e-services.

What efforts are you taking to further improve the tourism business in the district?
Basically we are working on conservation issues. There are seasons when lakes dry up and this adversely affects the flow of tourists. So the Rajasthan government has launched many projects to ensure that lakes do not dry up, even during summers. Once this happens, there would definitely be regular flow of tourists. We are also constructing two ring roads to facilitate smooth traffic around Lake Pichola and the city. We are also taking up a number of projects to beautify the city to attract tourists.

What is the status of Aadhaar implementation in the district?
The Government of India has already selected three districts in Rajasthan—Alwar, Ajmer and Udaipur— for implementation of the project. I do not exactly remember the number of Aadhaar enrolments in the district, but hope that by February next year, once direct cash subsidy scheme of the centre becomes operational, it will benefit quite a large number of people in the district.

Considering the large footfall of tourists in Udaipur, what are the security-related challenges in the district?
Thankfully, there has been no law and order problem as such, even during rush season as the district administration makes elaborate security arrangements during such periods to take on trouble-mongers. It is a safe place. We ensure that all parties and joy gatherings in the city are over by 10 pm in the night.

What are the main challenges that you face and what efforts are being taken to address them?
Keeping the city lakes pollution–free is a big challenge. Encroachments around the catchment areas of lakes are a challenge too. We have removed such encroachments at many places. Cloth washing and bathing in the lakes are being checked and also the environmental impact of mining activities in the Aravalli Hills is being constantly monitored to make it an eco-friendly city. In tribal areas of the district, there is the challenge of health related issues such as high maternal mortality rates and others. We are taking out our different health– related plans to such areas in order to check and reduce this.

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