Aaditya Thackeray said the government wants to develop Mumbai as the 'Gateway to India'. (Photo Credit: Aaditya Thackeray/Twitter)
Tourists visiting Mumbai will soon be able to watch a ceremonial drill at the state police headquarters on the lines of the famous Changing The Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The announcement was made by Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray. The government was also considering allowing tourists to walk through the headquarters of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which is a heritage structure dating to colonial era, he said. "Our ceremony is very colourful and the Director General of Police's office will have the ceremonial drill just like the one at Buckingham Palace," Thackeray said, speaking at an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The police headquarters, which housed the state legislature in the past, is located near the Gateway of India, a major tourist attraction.
Thackeray said the government wants to develop Mumbai as the "Gateway to India". A policy on beach shacks would be rolled out within a month, he said, stating that the 700-km long coastline of Maharashtra offers immense tourism potential.
Plans are afoot to provide night landing facility at the airport at Shirdi which houses a famous Saibaba temple, and to create additional parking facility at the Kolhapur airport, Thackeray aded.
The state government has also decided to invest Rs 150 crore for upgrading infrastructure in Aurangabad, a gateway to tourist attractions such as Ajanta and Ellora Caves. The government will rope in the private sector for developing tourism through policy decisions such as allowing private firms to manage properties owned by the state, the minister said.
On the lukewarm response to allowing malls and eateries in some areas of Mumbai to function all night, which was his pet idea, Thackeray said it should not be misconstrued as a festival and it is a change in lifestyle that the administration is driving. Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's monthly radio address, Thackeray said he would like to hear "everyone's Mann Ki Baat" if he made it to the top job in the country, and quipped that the industry lobby's backing will help him reach there.
He also underlined virtues of civil liberties and said the state government, headed by his father Uddhav Thackeray, will ensure its protection.