In a significant decision to promote tourism and enrich forest cover, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Tuesday cleared a proposal to constitute the Uttar Pradesh Eco-Tourism Development Board. The board will work for the development and management of tourism infrastructure facilities in the permissible area outside the forest sanctuaries of the state.
The board, which will be headquartered in Lucknow, will have Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as its chairman. The members of the eco-tourism development board will be of two types: Government (ex-officio) members and special duty members. Agriculture minister, Forest minister, AYUSH minister, Finance minister, Tourism minister, Irrigation minister, Rural Development minister, Chairman Uttar Pradesh Forest Corporation, Chief Secretary, Principal Chief Conservator and Head of Department will be members of the board and Additional Chief Secretary/ Principal Secretary/ Secretary will be member secretary of tourism board.
Additional Chief Secretary or Principal Secretary Environment, Forest and Climate Change would act as the coordinator. Representatives of IRCTC, Sashastra Seema Bal Uttar Pradesh, World Wildlife Fund India, Bombay Natural History Society, Turtle Conservation Fund, Katarniaghat Foundation, and five nominated environment and tourism experts will be part of the board as special invitees.
In addition, two other reputed institutions working in the field of environment as special invitees will be selected for every two years. The eco-tourism executive committee will be headed by Chief Secretary and Member Secretary (ex-officio), Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary/Secretary, Tourism (for wildlife protected areas and forest areas) and Member Secretary Director General Tourism (for various tourist places/remaining areas of the state outside the forest area). The Executive Committee will be responsible for the action required to meet the objectives of the board.
The board will work towards activities such as trekking, hiking, cycling, caravan tourism, seaplane and river cruise, adventure tourism, along with undertaking development of hotels, resorts and infrastructure facilities, ballooning, jungle camping and also wellness tourism such as Ayurveda, Yoga, naturopathy for the development of the eco-tourism sector.
It may be noted that Uttar Pradesh has nine eco-tourism circuits including Western Wildlife Circuit, Brij Bhoomi Wildlife/Wetland Circuit, Eastern Wildlife Circuit, Tiger Circuit, Bundelkhand Circuit, Vindhya Forest Circuit, Ganga Basin/Earth Ganga, Western Ornithology/Wetland Circuit and Central Ornithology/Wetland Circuit etc.
Uttar Pradesh Tourism Minister, Jaiveer Singh, said, “In view of the immense potential of eco-tourism in the state, the Uttar Pradesh eco-tourism development board is being formed in coordination with 10 departments including tourism, forest environment and climate change, AYUSH department, rural development, irrigation, urban development, agriculture, horticulture, sports, and transport, with the aim of making Uttar Pradesh as the top destination for both Indian and foreign tourists.”
While infrastructure development would also be explored through Public-Private Partnership (PPP), eco-tourism zones, the proposed board would undertake training and booking of guides with the help of the forest department for jungle safari.