Bhopal: Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that Madhya Pradesh is state of immense tourism potential. Efforts will be made to generate employment opportunities through tourism development. Number of tourists in the state has increased constantly during previous years. Over 8 crore devotees visited Simhastha Mahakumbh at Ujjain in just one month. Launching renovation of 100-years-old historic Minto Hall and construction of convention centre here on Wednesday, Chouhan said that it would be unique experience to see the renovated building. Minto Hall’s construction was by Sultan Jahan Begum in year 1909 and was completed in year 1936. Renovation is being undertaken at a cost of Rs 32 crore and would be completed by next year.

Chouhan said that old Vidhan Sabha situated in Minto Hall has been a witness to Madhya Pradesh’s rebuilding. He said that our Bhopal is a beautiful city. Its beauty and historic shape will be preserved in any case. It would not be allowed to become a mere concrete jungle. Chouhan said that Minto Hall is glory, prestige and identity of Bhopal. Residents of Bhopal will feel proud of its renovated shape. Referring to tourism sector projects like New Swadesh Darsan Yojana and Midway Treats, Chouhan said that it is being considered to ply a cruise to joint Barwani to Gujarat by waterway.

Vidhan Sabha Speaker Sitasaran Sharma said that earlier Vidhan Sabha used to be conducted in Minto Hall. Due to it, Minto Hall is identified as a building from where foundation of democracy was laid in Madhya Pradesh.

Minister of State for Tourism Surendra Patwa said that convention hall is being developed by preserving historic shape and beauty of Minto Hall. He said that tourism sector is constantly expanding in Madhya Pradesh. Earlier, tourism budget in the state was just Rs 25 crore which has been increased to Rs 250 crore now. A decade ago, only 60-70 lakh tourists visited the state whose number has increased to 7 crore now. He informed that 300 Midway Treats will be constructed in entire state. Presently, 36 Midway Treats have been developed. Central government has provided funds under Swadesh Darshan Yatra. Similarly, Rs 75 crore has been received from the Centre for Sanchi Buddhist Circuit.

Earlier, the Chief Minister unveiled the plaque of Minto Hall’s renovation and construction of convention centre. He inspected a photo exhibition focusing on memories of Minto Hall and also inspected Minto Hall.

On the occasion, film “Bhopal Ki Virasat” was screened by Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation in which beauty of Bhopal’s historic buildings has been shown. Corporation also screened a film focusing on Simhastha Mahakumbh. The Chief Minister released a brochure on Barefool Parsuli tourist destination of Sidhi district. He also released book “Forts of MP”. Chouhan launched new website of MPT. He distributed certificates and checks to beneficiaries of Hunar Se Rozgar programme. Chouhan launched new TV ad campaign of MPT. Corporation’s MD Hari Ranjan Rao welcomed the guests. Corporation’s Chairman Tapan Bhowmik delivered the welcome address. Additional MD Tanvi Sundariyal proposed a vote of thanks.

Former CM Kailash Joshi, in-charge of Bhopal district and Panchayats and Rural Development Minister Gopal Bhargava, Health Minister Narottam Mishra, Food Minister Kunwar Vijay Shah, MP Alok Sanjar, Bhopal Mayor Alok Sharma, MLAs Arif Aqeel, Surendranath Singh, Vishnu Khatri, Chief Secretary Anthony DeSa and Bhopal’s distinguished citizens were present on the occasion.