The Uttar Pradesh government in a press release on Monday said that it has proposed a slew of tourism projects worth Rs 370 crore, around half of which is meant for the Taj Mahal and its surrounding areas. The latest release came amid media reports that the historic monument had been dropped from the list of tourist destinations published by the state government. The new booklet issued by the UP government has no mention of Taj Mahal and instead carries the name of temples from Mathura, Ayodhya and Gorakhpur in the list.
“Tourism projects worth Rs 370 crore are proposed, under which schemes worth Rs 156 crore are meant for the Taj Mahal and its surrounding areas in Agra,” the release read. The proposal for the projects have been prepared in consultation with the World Bank and submitted to the Union government for approval, which is expected within the next three months, the release read.
Speaking on the inclusion in the booklet, Avanish Awasthi, Director General, Department of Tourism of UP Govt, told The Indian Express that the booklet just included a few of the projects by the state and was in no way a reflection of the complete list of tourism projects.
Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had recently criticized the custom of gifting Taj Mahal to foreign dignitaries as it doesn’t represent Indian culture. Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, draws millions of tourists to the country every year.