In a bid to boost tiger tourism in Vidarbha, the Maharashtra State Tourism and Development Corporation (MTDC) has decided to put Pench and Tadoba Wildlife Sanctuaries on the journeys offered by the luxury train ‘Deccan Odyssey’.

In an interview, Satish Soni, the joint Managing Director (MD) of MTDC, said “We have proposed the two tiger reserves in the Deccan Odyssey itinerary and a proposal in this regard has been sent to the Railway Board last month. A meeting to discuss the issue will be held on Tuesday.” Of late, Satish Soni was in Nagpur to inaugurate Prakash Thosre’s, the former principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), book ‘The Mammals of Maharashtra’ on Sunday.

“Looking into the extensive railway operations, we need their permission to make available tracks to take the train to Chandrapur for Tadoba and Nagpur for Pench,” said Soni.

Presently Deccan Odyssey has 10 journeys to offer which include Ganapatipule, Shirdi, lions, beaches tigers, etc. Many foreign tourists visit Tadoba, Kanha, and Pench after visiting Nagpur, the gateway to the Tiger Capital. The former president of the Vidarbha Economic Development (VED) Council, Vilas Kale, that MTDC will boost tourism in Vidarbha.  “Elite class and celebrities travel in Deccan Odyssey will make Vidarbha popular. The irony is at a time when demand for Tadoba is more, the management has restricted routes and number of entries”, said Vilas Kale.

Soni admitted that much attention has not been paid to boosting tourism in Vidarbha, but MTDC now plans to invest 200 crore in the region in the next 3 years. Besides ongoing works, last month, the Centre approved Rs. 45.5 crore under Central Finance Assistance (CFA) for the mega ecotourism circuit in Ramtek-Gondia- Bhandara-Chikhaldara in the region. The biggest boost for tourism will be the development of tourism facilities and the beautification of the world famous ‘Lonar Cater’. The state has also sanctioned Rs.10 crore for Lonar.