Dehradun: The Uttarakhand government on Friday decided to merge Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam, which were tasked with promoting tourism in different areas, under one unit to boost tourism in the state.
    
The decision was taken in the review meeting of Tourism Department chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna here.
    
The chief minister said for betterment of tourism activities, it was necessary to bring GMVN and KMVN under a single unit.
    
"The single entity would ensure a single brand for Uttarakhand Tourism and enhance its popularity," he said.
    
Underlining the state's vast tourism potential, the chief minister laid emphasis on simplifying the investment process to encourage more investors in this sector.
    
He said tender for ropeways at Yamunotri-Jankichatti and Purnagiri-Chulighat had been received while 16 other places have also been identified for ropeways.
    
He directed the officers to maintain high sanitation standard at Char Dhams, Hemkund Sahib, Piran Kaliyar and other tourist places.

He said bio-degradable toilets would be constructed on Kedarnath route and master plan was prepared to construct lavatories on Char Dham routes under which high standard toilets would be constructed in every 10 to 15 km distance for which a budget of Rs 24 crore has been proposed.
    
Noting pathetic condition of guest houses of both the corporations, he directed the officers to explore possibility of operating them in PPP mode for welfare of the workers and asked them to bring the proposal in the Cabinet.
    
To encourage rafting and other adventure activities, Bahuguna advocated integrated tax collection system and directed the officers to bring a proposal of beach camping policy in the Cabinet.
    
The chief minister said the government would consider bringing the proposed Eco-Tourism Board under Tourism Department.
    
He directed officers to organise Tourism Mart at New Delhi and invite prominent travel agents of the country in the Mart.
    
During the meeting, it was decided to increase grant for Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali tourism scheme from existing 25 per cent to 33 per cent or from existing Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh whichever is minimum.
    
Bahuguna said the Centre had sanctioned Rs 160 crore for tourism development in Uttarakhand.
    
The meeting was attended by state tourism Minister Amrita Rawat, Chief Secretary Alok Kumar Jain and other top senior officers.

(Agencies)