Pune: Completion Nears for Authorized Food Stalls at Sinhagad Fort

Pune: Completion Nears for Authorized Food Stalls at Sinhagad Fort

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The final touches are being put on the authorized food stalls at Sinhagad Fort, with distribution among the 71 chosen beneficiaries set to occur soon through a lottery system, as confirmed by forest officials. In a bid to regulate food businesses and deter commercial encroachment at the iconic Sinhagad Fort, the forest department has undertaken the initiative to establish 70 food stalls under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. This move comes after action was taken against over 100 unauthorized food stalls in 2021 due to complaints from villagers and tourists regarding encroachment issues.

To address concerns over unemployment raised by villagers, the forest department, in collaboration with the Joint Forest Management Committee for the Sinhagad Fort area, has decided to establish a food plaza exclusively for authorized stallholders. Expected to be operational by May, this new food plaza aims to enhance the visitor experience while supporting local livelihoods.

The forest department, in consultation with the gramsabha, has identified 71 individuals to manage the stalls, with 56 of the 71 stalls already established. Each stall, measuring 8 feet by 10 feet, will be situated across 1.6 acres of land acquired from the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). With an estimated cost of ₹2 crore under the CSR plan, the department plans to charge rent for these stalls, although the fees are waived for the first year, demonstrating their commitment to supporting local entrepreneurs during the initial phase of operation.

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