The Pune district administration has banned the use of plastic on Sinhagad Fort and stopped the movement of private vehicles. Tourists visiting the fort, which is on top of a hill, will be ferried on electric buses.
“It has been decided to ban use of plastic at the historical Sinhagad fort. A large number of tourists and nature lovers visit the fort on weekends and holidays. We are initiating steps to conserve the green cover of the fort and its heritage,” said Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar after a meeting with the district administration on Friday.
The meeting was also attended by Baramati MP Supriya Sule, Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao, Pune Collector Rajesh Deshmukh and Chief Executive Officer of Pune Zilla Parishad Ayush Prasad.
“The Forest Department owns a 10-acre plot at the base of the fort. It’s about 9 km away from the fort. After parking their private vehicles here, the visitors will be taken to the fort in e-buses that will be operated by PMPML. This will reduce pollution. At this spot, space for a police chowki will also be obtained from the Forest Department… charging stations for e-buses and basic amenities such as lavatories will be built,” said Pawar.
Sule, who had recently visited the fort to understand issues pertaining to protecting the historical structure, had taken up the issue in the meeting.
The administration has also decided to streamline commercial activities around the fort. “The Maharashtrian dishes served by stalls near the fort are famous among tourists. However, the problem is people set up their stall as per their wish…,” said Pawar.
“There are about 70 families who are earning a living by selling snacks and tea at various spots on the fort. The Forest Department and PWD have been asked to erect suitable shops at two or three places and provide 11-month rental agreements to these families so that the shops are regulated,” said Pawar.
He said the amenity buildings that the Zilla Parishad and the civic body were planning to build in the vicinity of the fort should be constructed in such a manner that they look suitable and gel with the heritage structure.
The government has also asked the district administration to ensure employment to local youth by training them as guides, who will help tourists understand the historical importance of Sinhagad Fort.
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