NEW DELHI: With West Bengal no longer a "Communist" state, why does the Centre not earmark funds to develop religious and spiritual tourism there, a senior TMC MP said today.
Sudip Bandhopadhyay raised the question in Lok Sabha asking why the BJP-led ruling dispensation was not funding such religious tourism circuits in West Bengal which, he said, was "no more a communist state". He raised the issue when Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma was responding to supplementaries on religious and spiritual tourism and development of thematic circuits to attract more tourists.
Responding to the question, Sharma said funds are released based on the detailed project reports and utilisation certificates submitted by respective state governments and asked the TMC member to ensure that the same are submitted to the Centre on time.
Bandhopadhyay wanted Sharma to include the Belur Math and certain other sites in the religious and spiritual circuit and strengthened his case saying the Prime Minister too had visited the 'math' recently. In his written response, Sharma said the Tourism Ministry has launched 'Swadesh Darshan' scheme for integrated development of theme-based circuits and 12 thematic circuits have been identified including four religious/spiritual circuits -- Buddhist circuit, Krishna circuit, Spiritual circuit and Ramayana circuit.
He said the government also planned to develop a 'Ram Van Gaman path' from Nepal to Sri Lanka.