March 26, 2021 6:29:34 am
ACCORDING TO data tabled in the Gujarat Assembly, the state government spent almost double the money on the Rann Utsav in 2020 compared to 2019 when the number of tourists had gone down by half as compared to 2019, on account of the Covid 19 pandemic.
The Rann Utsav is among the Gujarat Tourism Department’s major attractions, hosted in the White Rann of the border district of Kutch in the winter. As per figures given before Gujarat Assembly, 4,38,125 tourists had visited the spot in 2019 when the government spent Rs 512.78 lakh (Rs 5.12 crore) which came down to 2,06,056 in 2020 when the government spent Rs 978.93 lakh (Rs 9.78 crore).
Tourism Minister Jawahar Chavda gave information in this regard to Gujarat Assembly in written replies to two starred questions raised by Congress MLAs from Khambhaliya costituency of Jamnagar district and Danilimda constituency of Ahmedabad city, Vikram Maadam and Shailesh Parmar respectively.
In reply to a question raised by Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar, the minister also stated that Rann Utsav witnessed 4457 foreign tourists in 2019, which in 2020 went down to only 20 foreign tourists.
In reply to the same question, the state tourism minister has said the government had spent Rs 512.78 lakh on Rann Utsav in 2019. Notably, the state government had spent Rs 978.93 lakh on the Rann Utsav in 2020 when the footfall of tourists had gone by half.
When The Indian Express asked about the increased expenditure at Rann Utsav in 2020 amid fall in number of tourists, a top source in the department said, “since the number of tourists had gone down in 2020, the department had added some attractions –mainly musical nights by star performers – to attract tourists at Rann Utsav”.
The source added, “One of the major reasons for higher expenditure in Rann Utsav in 2020 was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s day-long visit on December 15 (last year).”
During his day-long visit, PM Modi had laid the foundation stone for three different projects. Before leaving the venue, the PM had also attended a cultural programme at Tent City near Dhordo village in Kutch.
As per the reply to Maadam, between January 2019 and December 2019, the spot witnessed footfall of 4,38,125 tourists. The corresponding figure of tourists for the same period in 2020 was 2,06,056.
Similarly, the state government witnessed a major drop in its income from the spot in 2020, if compared to 2019. In 2019, the state government earned Rs 210.63 lakh from Rann Utsav whereas in 2020, it could earn only Rs 145.05 lakh.
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