NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday gave a clarion call for being 'vocal for local tourism' while speaking on the inaugural event of the construction of Agra Metro project via video conferencing.
Modi said that the Central government is taking all measures to attract tourists through schemes like 'SwadeshDarshan and Prasad'. With the efforts of the government, India is now at 34th rank in Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, said the Prime Minister, adding India was on 65th rank in the index in 2013.
The Prime Minister said that there is need to be "vocal for local tourism" during COVID-19 pandemic crisis, hoping "the charm of tourism sector will return again soon after Corona situation continues to improve".
Modi said "it has always been my view that tourism is a sector in which there are means of earning for everyone".
To promote the tourism sector, the Prime Minister said the Central government not only has increased the number of countries covered under the e-Visa scheme but also reduced the tax on hotel room tariff significantly.
Speaking on the metro project, the Prime Minister said this project is in addition to the earlier Rs 1,000 crore projects which are already going on in the city to make Agra equipped with smart infrastructure.
"This new project with the cost of Rs 8,000 crore will strengthen the earlier smart city project." Referring to his government's last six-year steps to improve metro project, Modi said over 450 km metro lines were made operational since 2014 compared to 215 km lines operational before the specific period. He said that his government is currently working on the direction to complete 1,000 metro line projects, and such projects have been completed, or are under development in 27 cities of the country. "Agra is the Uttar Pradesh' seventh city where metro project is being started." Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, along with other dignitaries took part in the event organisedat 15 Battalion PAC parade ground in Agra.
This metro project is spread across two corridors and will boost 'Ease of Living' for the people of Agra as well as benefit tourists who visit Agra, the Prime Minister said.
The Agra Metro project comprises two corridors with a total length of 29.4 km and connects major tourist attractions like the TajMahal, Agra Fort, Sikandra with railway stations and bus stands. The project will benefit the 26 lakh population of the city and will also cater to more than 60 lakh tourists who visit it every year.
It will provide an environment-friendly Mass Rapid Transit System to the historic city of Agra. The estimated cost of the project will be Rs 8,379.62 crore and it will be completed in 5 years.
On March 8 last year, the Prime Minister inaugurated the Agra Metro project along with the commencement of commercial operations of Lucknow Metro on its entire 23 km long North-South corridor from CCS Airport to Munshipulia. (IANS)