norms relaxed for Govt employees to visit NE
In a major
decision to boost tourism in the scenic north eastern region, the Centre has
relaxed Leave Travel Concession (LTC) Rules for its employees permitting
them to travel by air.
The new rules will apply to employees irrespective of their grade or post
and the order will be in operation for two years, sources in the Ministry of
Personnel today said.
Under the revised rules, Group A and B Central Government employees will be
entitled to travel by air from their place of posting or nearest airport to
a city in the north eastern region.
Employees belonging to other categories will be entitled to travel by air to
a city in the north eastern region from Guwahati or Kolkata.
All Central Government servants would be allowed conversion of one block of
Home Town LTC into LTC for destinations in the north eastern region, the
The Ministry said that data regarding the number of employees availing LTC
to the north eastern region would be maintained.
The decision will enable government servants in the junior grades to visit
the northeastern region, which used to remain a distant dream for them
because of high air travel costs and absence of official entitlement.
The north eastern region comprises Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur,
Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, and also Sikkim -- all having rich
hits Tawang’s tourism
At first sight the snow-covered place could be mistaken to somewhere in the
The Sella Pass, perched at 18,000 ft above sea level, in the Himalayan
ranges is as majestic as any tourist destination. The pass, however, has not
been able to attract tourists thanks to lack of infrastructure.
The pass is about eight hours drive from Asom’s town of Tezpur and falls
on way to Tawang, where the second oldest Buddhist monastery after Lhasa, is
Politically Tawang has become sensitive of late with the Chinese claim on
territory, which has been vehemently contested by the Arunachal Pradesh
Admitting that lack of infrastructure had robbed the government of valuable
revenue, Arunachal Tourism Secretary Bandana Deuri says roadside amenities
have to be improved to attract tourists to even the lesser known areas of
The road to Tawang and Sella is maintained by the Border Roads Task Force
and a tourist has to depend on amenities provided basically by the army
which is guarding the sector.
“This year there was seven feet snow in the Sella pass and our family and
friends had fun,” says the wife of a army colonel who is posted in the
“Thrilling” has been the overwhelming word of praise for the few
tourists who came this year as a part of a conducted tour to Tawang and
Sella. “It is absolutely majestic with thick snow cover and the Sella lake
frozen...It is sad there is no infrastructure for the tourists to stay and
have the most out it”, said Sweta Mehta who was a part of the tourist
team. Deuri said the Government was seized of the matter and has moved the
centre to extend the tourist sector to the entire state to fully explore its
Admitting that Protected Area Permit (PAP) and the Inner Line Permit (ILP)
was proving a major hindrance to tourist inflow, the official said a plea
has been made to the union home ministry to relax it.
The request is to allow even single entry instead of the current four
tourists in case of foreigners and increase their minimum days to stay from
the present ten to one month, she said. The Government has a plan to attract
high ended tourists and will build near Tawang a convention centre of
international standards having a 16-hall golf course.
Apart from that a ‘Wellness Park’ in West Kameng district with
public-private participation is on the anvil and the proposals have been
sent to the Union Home Ministry for necessary clearance.
Tawang attracted international attention after a 16-member Thai business
delegation visited the place in January who have assured to send an expert
delegation very soon to collect tourist information about the State. Deuri
said the government was infact contemplating to promote the Bhalukpung
(Assam)-Bomdilla-Sella-Tawang sector as a tourist route in the near future.
At present only a handful of tourists come with their own means of transport
and depending on local villagers and army managed road side amenities, but
with the route well established, the inflow (of tourists) will increase, she
said. Tourists can also take heart of the fact that a daily chopper service
is planned from Guwahati to Tawang which presently runs twice weekly.
It will take only one hour from Guwahati to Tawang and tourists can avail a
three-hour drive down to Sella pass and come back to Tawang the same day,
Locals rue over the fact that even Rajesh Roshan’s block buster Koyla
which was shot entirely in the Tawang valley had failed to attract tourists.
“How many people know Madhuri Dixit and Sharukh Khan shot at various water
falls and lakes which has then be renamed as Madhuri lake and Madhuri
falls”, says Tamshing Lama of Tawang.
Former AP tourist minister and local Lumla constituency MLA T G Rimpoche
feels that a lot has to be done to improve infrastructure and attract
tourists which was the only to ushe in development in the area.
UNESCO’s ‘Site in Danger’ list
Confirming that UNESCO has put Manas and Keoladeo National Parks in
‘Heritage Site in Danger’, the Centre has said it has been providing
financial and technical assistance to the two State Governments for better
management. The Union Government has been continuously in touch with the
State Governments of Assam and Rajasthan. The Ministry of Environment and
Forests has been providing financial and technical assistance to the State
Governments for the better management of these sites, said Minister of State
for Environment and Forests, S. Regupathy, in a written reply in the Lok
Further, a UNESCO funded project was launched in 2007, for better management
at the four natural world heritage sites in India including Manas and
Keoladeo, said Reghupathy.
Out of the five natural heritage sites in India, Manas National Park is
already in the category of ‘Heritage Site in Danger’ since 1992. It was
placed in this category due to large-scale disturbances and agitation during
that period causing serious damage to the Park.
The World Heritage Committee had also expressed serious concern over the
situation resulting from inadequate availability of water to maintain the
wetland ecosystem in Keoladeo National Park, which is also a World Heritage
Union Tourism Ministry has been according top priority to development of
tourism in the area, since tourism has great potential for employment
generation and economic growth. This
was stated by the Union Tourism Secretary Sh.
S. Banerjee recently while reviewing the progress of projects sanctioned to
the State Governments for development and promotion of tourism in the
North-Eastern Region. He said
during the 10th plan period a total amount of Rs.319 crore was released to the North Eastern states including Sikkim, as against the mandatory provision of 10% amounting to Rs.269 crore. Similarly in the
first year of the 11th plan i.e. 2007-08, against the target of
allocation of the budget) the actual expenditure on the North East including
HRD & publicity amounted to Rs.170 crore.
S. Banerjee said,
the Ministry has continuously
been promoting the North Eastern Region through its publicity
campaigns in the print, online and electronic media. In 2006,
4.45 million foreign tourists arrived in the country, 0.038
million foreign tourists visited the North East region and the number of
domestic tourists who visited the North East was 3.9 million.
The Union Tourism Secretary said however in order to
tap the immense tourism potential of the region it is required that a
concerted effort be made
for upgrading infrastructure and ensuring better connectivity
of important tourist
destinations and circuits.
Union Ministry highlighted the status of implementation of projects
sanctioned in the first three years of the 10th Plan during the
meeting. It was emphasized by
the Senior Union Tourism Ministry officials that all projects must be
completed and commissioned by December this year.
It was also impressed upon the states that actual implementation of
the sanctioned projects will be closely monitored
Union Government. Secretary
S. Banerjee directed that maintenance of assets is a must and in the
absence of a proper institutional mechanism for solid waste management and
civic amenities at sites, projects would not be considered for sanction.
Banerjee stated that as sustainable tourism is the way forward, due
emphasis to eco tourism and rural tourism must be given.
In particular, rural tourism has the potential of showcasing the
craft, cuisine and culture of a village in a very attractive manner, so
while the Central Govt. with the cooperation of the State and District
authorities is developing rural tourism sites, it is up the travel trade to
effectively market them and bring tourists to these villages, for truly
enjoying their authentic flavour
representatives of State Governments from the North East briefed the meeting
about their tourism strategy and the status of implementation of projects.
They welcomed the recent decision regarding LTC for Govt. officials
which will boost tourism to the region. They emphasized that guidance from
Ministry of Tourism on creatives
& publicity is greatly required for better marketing of their tourism
The States also stressed that relaxation of permits is essential for
facilitating travel. Secretary,
Pradesh mentioned that the Ministry of Home Affairs has just relaxed the RAP
regulations by opening up 4 more circuits, increasing the length of stay and
allowing a minimum of two persons to travel rather than the earlier minimum
number of four persons.
from the tourism Review Meeting at Guwahati,
there was a meeting with the Travel Trade in the North-East on 12th
May, 08. The Meghalaya
Tourism Development Forum made a presentation about its activities and
strategy for future development. The
leading members of the travel trade such as tour operators and hoteliers
spoke about the boost that tourism has received in recent years because of
the domestic media campaign and reiterated that continuous promotion and
marketing efforts, together with relaxation of permits would ensure greater
inflow of tourists to the region. They emphasized the need for better
connectivity of all States
It was decided that the calendar of events of all the States
would be finalized and communicated to the Ministry of Tourism for publicity
through the website and collaterals. The
tour operators were also informed that the Marketing Development Assistance
guidelines have been amended to enable tour operators from the North Eastern
region to participate in the International Marts.
At all these Marts, space is provided free of cost for the
participants of the North East States hence they were urged to avail of this
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