Government puts toxic mines on tourist map


MUMBAI – Unmindful of the ecological havoc being wreaked across the state, Maharashtra government has put its greenery-wrecking toxic mines on the tourist map.

The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has selected a bauxite mine in Amboli, along with a waterfall and the coastline, as a tourist hotspot and is promoting the visit to the mine as a ”pleasant and different expedition” for visitors.

The state has taken this green-hostile move in spite of Sindhudurg being declared as the first eco-tourism district in the country 13 years ago and since then, being featured as a “green haven” in the state’s Maharashtra Unlimited campaign. When TOI asked tourism department officials if they had now shifted their focus from trying to save the forests to showcasing toxic mines, they admitted that it was a gross blunder. ”It’s a big mistake,” said MTDC general manager Vijay Chavan, adding that the department was all for promoting eco-tourism in Sindhudurg and not mining business there. ”We’ll remove that bit of information from the MTDC site immediately.”

Environmental activists are shocked that the MTDC, which is supposed to promote eco-tourism, is showcasing nature-destroying mines. ”States like Goa and Kerala, which have similar landscape and climate, are trying to push the green cause ahead through tourism and it also generates local employment. In contrast, politicians here support the mining lobby,” said NGO Vanashakti project director D Stalin.