As the state of Goa is erupting in fight against illegal CRZ construction and Anti-Casino Proliferation yet another policy is heading straight for a conflict just like the Regional Plan 2021 made by a fly by night so called consulting firm CES based in Delhi.
New Delhi moots CRZ relaxation
NEW DELHI, JUNE 14 — As part of a grand initiative to ‘promote tourism’ in India, the Union Tourism Ministry is preparing a policy that will allow construction of hotels in beach areas by relaxation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) requirements.
The proposal also envisages setting up of ‘tourism clusters’ around metros and major cities, as well as setting up of casinos.
The ministry says it wants to make Indian destinations attractive for in-bound traffic, as it still constitutes only a small fraction of global tourist flows, and also to cater to young domestic tourists with high disposable incomes. The point is to “break the traditional image of the country and offer tourists a wholesome experience”, a Tourism Ministry official explained.
These moves are based on the recommendations made by a high-level group on the services sector headed by Planning Commission member Anwarul Hoda.
The Ministry of Tourism says it is converting the group’s suggestions into a policy initiative. It believes the new strategy will not only boost the competitiveness of India’s tourist destinations, but also generate significant revenues for the respective State governments.
One of the main proposals is to develop India as an attractive beach destination. For this, the ministry suggests that the CRZ should be relaxed, as under the existing rules a hotel cannot be built within 200 metres of the sea. “Such a restriction does not exist in any successful beach destination in the world,” said the Tourism Ministry official.
‘Tourism clusters’ will be set up within 150 km of a city, over an area of 4 lakh to 20 lakh sq metres. They will have hotels, restaurants, spas, theme parks, skating rinks, lakes for boating and sailing, golf courses, tennis courts and indoor games.
The proposal recommends that the government should grant infrastructure status to these clusters, so that they can access finance at cheaper rates and import equipment duty-free. Casinos are also on the agenda for cities with large tourist inflows. But the official was careful to add that this would be pursued only after there is political consensus on the issue.