Uttar Pradesh’s cabinet on Tuesday gave its approval for the establishment of an ecotourism development board to fully utilize the state’s tourism potential.
The council will be headed by the chief minister of the state with ministers from 10 departments as members, Tourism Minister Jaiveer Singh told reporters here.
The need for the council had been felt for a long time and the decision to set it up was taken during the meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, he said.
The minister said the council will help the state attract domestic and international tourists.
There is vast historical, cultural, religious and natural resource heritage in the state that needs proper publicity, which will be done through this council, he said.
Ten departments included in the council are tourism, forestry, AYUSH, rural development and irrigation, urban development, agriculture, horticulture, sport and transport.
The Chief Secretary of State will be its member secretary and experts from leading institutions will also be included.
The Minister of Tourism said that the state has a forest cover of 16,582 km2 with beautiful landscapes, flowing rivers, waterfalls, availability of endangered birds and animals.
The state has 36 wildlife sanctuaries, 12 bird sanctuaries, nine state ecotourism tours that can be fully exploited, he said.
In a separate move, the Uttar Pradesh cabinet gave the go-ahead to start a night safari in Kukrail forest area in Lucknow and move a city zoo there as well.
Without disturbing about 2,027 hectares of forest, the Cabinet decided to set up a 350-acre night safari and a 150-acre zoo there, the minister said.
The Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Park currently covers 26 hectares.
Without disturbing the vegetation and other things, only the open area which is not currently in use will be used for the night game drive, the minister said, adding that the outer forest area will have four-lane roads.
There are also plans to develop an attractive riverfront on the Kukrail River which flows through the area, he said.
The Cabinet also approved the upgrading of Aligarh Institute of Food Crafts for preparation of skilled manpower, the minister added.