RAIGAD: The majestic Raigad Fort will soon be converted into an international tourist spot. The facelift of the fort will be carried out under the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) for which Rs 600 crore has been earmarked.
It is the first work that is being undertaken under EGS to ensure employment for the locals. Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal signed the GR first time on the Raigad Fort in presence of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s descendent, Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati.
Raigad is the fort where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was coronated as the first Chhatrapati on June 6, 1674.
Chhatrapati Sambhaji, a nominated Rajya Sabha member, will be leading the revamp as the Chairman of Raigad Development Authority (RDA).
The Raigad fort, spread over 1,300 acres, is the biggest fort complex in India in terms of area and has one of the most unique topography. The fort comes under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
“Of the Rs 606.08 crore sanctioned for RDA, Rs 114 crore has been earmarked for the Raigad Fort,” Sambhaji Raje told journalists.
Besides, nearly Rs 237 crore has been sanctioned for the concrete road from Mahad to Raigad fort, and, it is being developed as a heritage highway.
“We are developing Raigad Fort as a heritage hill station,” said Sambhaji Raje.
Apart from that, nearly Rs 100 crore would come from the Centre, after recommendations from the 15th Finance Commission headed by NK Singh, for revamp of 10 forts. Sambhaji Raje said that the Raigad Fort would be self-sustainable and the plan is that it should be developed as a ‘model fort.’ “We are also planning light and sound show and facade lighting,” he said, adding that Rs 50 crore has been earmarked for the cable car revamp.
“A proper heritage walk is being proposed, which is around 14 km and 4 hours. The idea behind it is to attract visitors to stay for two to three days and appreciate the fort,” Sambhaji Raje added. “Locals would be trained as guides. The locals have some stalls at the base of the fort, which will also be rearranged. No one will lose their business here,” Sambhaji Raje said.
“As many as 84 water tanks are being cleaned up scientifically so that artefacts are retained. There are nearly 350 sites that need to be excavated archaeologically for further research to decide the shape and design of the fort,” he said. In the plan, 21 neighbouring villages would see development.