COVID-19 impact: Maharashtra to come up with 8 beach shacks along the Konkan coast for boosting tourism

COVID-19 impact: Maharashtra to come up with 8 beach shacks along the Konkan coast for boosting tourism

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, on Thursday, the Maharashtra cabinet approved the policy of permitting temporary beach shacks to operate in eight beaches along the Konkan coast, just like Goa, to give a boost to the tourism industry.

The project has been taken up as per the decision of the cabinet, and might also get extended if demand increases. The Chief Minister's office issued a notice which said, "10 shacks each will be set up at Aareware beach in Ratnagiri, Tarkarli in Sindhudurg, Varsoli and Diveagar in Raigad and Palghar's Kelva and Bordi beaches." Since 2017, the policy has been under talks.

According to the officials, only after clearance from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), shacks can be operated on some beaches since they come under the coastal regulation zone.

It has been decided to permit only 10 shacks per beach. Anil Parab, cabinet minister and Shiv Sena leader said, "We will give preference to applications made by locals. The idea is to boost tourism and open up an alternative economy for locals."

He also added that the son of the soils would be hired in eighty per cent of the jobs created.

Each shack will be provided for three years in a row and are expected to be 15ft x 15ft and 12ft in height, with a charge of Rs 15,000 that is non-refundable. The applicant has to pay around Rs 45,000 in the first year, Rs 50,000 in the second year and Rs 55,000 in the third year. The applicant is required to pay a refundable deposit of Rs 30,000.

The shacks will be allowed to operate from 7 am to 7 pm and CCTV cameras are compulsory to be installed. "Charges that tourists will pay and other guidelines will be issued by MTDC soon," an official stated.

Aditya Thackeray, tourism minister of Maharashtra, in a tweet said that eight beaches in the state were sanctioned for eco-friendly shacks which is a major aid to the tourism sector, but he also mentioned that 80% of income opportunities for the local residents is mandatory.

The cabinet has also planned to provide seven properties of Maharashtra Tourism Department Corporation (MTDC) to private bodies on a contract or through a joint venture for at least 90 years. Aditya said that this decision would help to boost the revenue and set up excellent tourism facilities. The seven properties comprise five resorts in Mahabaleshwar, Matheran, Ganpatipule, Harihareshwar and Mithbab and the other two plots in Aurangabad's Fardapur and Tadoba that will be put up on the agreement. The top-most committee under the chief secretary is going to decide the rent and time period of the lease, an official said.

"The two land parcels are nearly five hectares, and how much will be given will depend on the interest of the private player and requirement of the project," An official was quoted as saying.

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