With the twin objectives of providing a hygienic environment in and around tourist destinations and attracting more visitors, government will launch the 'Clean India' campaign at the Taj Mahal on Wednesday.
Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi will formally launch the campaign at the world famous heritage site in partnership with the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC).
The oil major has signed an MoU with the Tourism Ministry to adopt and upkeep the environs of Taj Mahal complex including upgradation of tourist facilities at the monument as part of its corporate social responsibility.
ONGC will be responsible for keeping the heritage site clean and environment-friendly besides taking care of landscaping and providing drinking water facilities, management of garbage clearance, maintaining uniform signages in and around premises and placing of aesthetically-designed garbage bins.
Besides Taj Mahal, the ONGC has also agreed to adopt five more monuments including Ellora and Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra, Red Fort in the capital, Golkonda Fort in Hyderabad and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, said a senior Tourism Ministry official.
It would also help setting up tourist help desks and deployment of volunteers for better management amongst others at these sites.
Taj Mahal is the second monument to be taken up under Clean India Campaign by the Ministry. Earlier the Ministry had launched the pilot project under Clean India Campaign at Qutab Minar on June 19 last year.
India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Tourism, was entrusted the job at Qutab Minar.
The success of the Clean India campaign is crucial to achieve the targeted growth in tourists arrivals during the 12th Plan as the Ministry has set a target of achieving 12 per cent growth during the 12th five-year plan which commences from 2012 in the sector with the aim of attracting six million more foreign tourists.
Currently, India attracts about 5.7 million foreigners in a year.
The campaign emphasising on sensitisation and action at field level comes after the Ministry conducted a survey in some selected sites where it was found that hygiene and sanitation conditions in and around tourist destinations are a big issues with foreign and domestic tourists.
One aspect that has adversely impacted tourism in the country, both international and domestic, relates to unsatisfactory hygiene and cleanliness at important tourist destinations. This factor has emerged as a major road-block to full realisation of tourism potential, according to the study conducted by the Ministry.