The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said here yesterday that Northeast will soon be a favourite tourist destination for people from not only across the country, but all over the world. He said that the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given special attention to the north east due to which the NE region has begun to attract the attention of tourist operators, entrepreneurs and investors from all over the country. Dr Jitendra Singh was speaking at the Annual Tourism Awards, 2017 function of “Holiday IQ”, an organization promoting tourism in the country.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that Northeast is a natural destination for tourists but could not receive its due attention because of the logistic issues like constraints of connectivity and accessibility. Over the last three years, however, he said, not only all these North eastern States are on the Rail map of India, but in the next two years, almost all the States will have a broad gauge rail track. In addition, he said, the first ever train to Bangladesh will also be flagged off from Tripura and the rail track from Agartala is already under construction with the Indian side of it being funded by the Ministry of DoNER. Similarly, he said, the Central Government has earmarked over Rs. 40,000 crore to spread a network of roads across all the eight States. As far as air connectivity is concerned, important places like Itanagar, Sikkim, Shillong did not have full-fledged airports and the Centre Government has moved on a fast track to accomplish this, he added, while the alternative mode of transport in the form of waterways has also been initiated. Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Government has also sanctioned a full-fledged Film Institute for Arunachal Pradesh which will facilitate the film units to come and do location shooting.
In order to showcase all that the Northeast has to offer to the rest of the world, from natural scenery to food cuisine, the Ministry of DoNER has, in the last two years, started a process of holding Northeast Festivals across the country at different locations including Delhi and Chandigarh. For the first time, last year, a permanent Northeast Stall “Purbashree” was set up at Dilli Haat, which has proved highly successful and is attracting people from all walks of life and from all parts of the country.
Dr Jitendra Singh also referred to the initiative taken to promote “Home Tourism” in such parts of the region where the hotel facilities were either insufficient or exorbitantly costly. He said that this experiment has proved so successful that it can be emulated even in other parts of India which are frequently visited by tourists.
In the process of promoting tourism, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the benefits go beyond the realms of tourism. Elaborating further, he said, the frequent exchange of population and visits by different sections of society from across the country have enabled the rest of India to know Northeast better and has also helped in bridging the gap that hitherto existed between Northeast and the rest of the country.