With a view to improve cleanliness at monuments, Union Tourism Ministry has written to state governments asking them to help extend the ban on polythene beyond the radius of 100 metres to 300 meters around the centrally protected archaeological sites.
On October 2, the government had announced a complete ban on polythene in the radius of 100 metres around over 3,680 monuments which are under the jurisdiction of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The area between 100 to 300 meters around the monuments which is called regulated zone falls under the jurisdiction of the state governments.
"We have issued advisory to all state governments/UTs to help in extending the polythene-free initiative beyond the 100 meter radius to 300 meters around the protected monuments," Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma told a joint press conference on 'Swachh Bharat Mission' along with Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
He said his ministry also plans to bring in some laws to impose strict implementation of the polythene-free initiative in the areas which are under the jurisdiction of ASI.
An official said the initiative will be reviewed after a month to decide whether there is any need to impose fines on offenders.
Sharma also announced sanctioning of Rs 350 crore to provide facilities like protected boundaries, toilets and disabled friendly access in all the ASI monuments.
He also said that 75 monuments, including Safdarjung Tomb and Purana Qila in Delhi and Agra Fort and Akbar's Tomb in Uttar Pradesh, have been added to the list of existing 25 monuments under Adarsh Smarak Scheme for upgradation of tourist related amenities.
These monuments are also covered under 'Swachh Paryatan Mobile App' through which general public can communicate their complaints about any unclean area or garbage piles in and around the tourist destination.
Bringing in an element of competition so as to push
cleanliness efforts, Sharma said the ASI has ranked top 25 Adarsh Monuments on the basis of cleanliness parameters such as amenities like toilets, green lawns, polythene free zone, drinking water and provision for garbage bins.
He said 'Rani ki Vav (Gujarat)', a World Heritage Site, has been declared as the cleanest iconic place in the country.
Sharma listed various initiatives of Tourism and Culture Ministries such as spreading awareness through various music, dance and drama events on completion of two years of Swachhata Abhiyan on October 2.
On a query whether tourism has been impacted due escalating tension between India and Pakistan and also due to terrorism, he said no such thing has been brought to the notice of the ministry and the data which is available till August shows healthy growth in tourist footfall.
Addressing the conference, Tomar called for support and change in behaviour of the people for giving momentum to the cleanliness drive under Swachh Bharat Mission.
To a query on toilets not being used due to lack of water supply, an official of Drinking Water & Sanitation Ministry said the government's priority is to provide piped water supply to the areas which are declared open defecation free.
On the occasion, a promotional film on the theme 'Swachhata Devatva Ek Samaan' to promote awareness of cleanliness at religious places was also shown on the occasion.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014. It aims to eliminate open defecation, manual scavenging and encourage modern and scientific municipal solid waste management, among others.