TODAY -

The making of a tourist spot

SK Singh *



In the recently held 69th plenary session of the NEC on 23 January in Shillong, as is the practice, quite a few prospects for further development of the region were highlighted. Among others, in the technical session, expectedly, discussion focused on areas as wide as livelihood, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, connectivity and many others considered having intimate need for the NER to further develop.

In the concluding session, Dr Jitendra Singh, MOS (independent charge) DONER, emphasized upon the imperative need for furthering the development agenda the PM in striving for integrated development of the NER. In particular the NER, according to Dr Jitendra promises a fertile space for commerce and especially ‘tourism’.

Such talks, rather assurances the NER had been receiving repeatedly. As early as 1998, the GOI thought of transforming the NER through a package named, “Transforming the North East”, tackling the Backlogs in Basic Minimum Services and Infrastructural Needs. It was in the form of a High Level Commission Report to the Prime Minister.

Dr S P. Shukla Member and Chairman of the Hifh level committee on the North-Eastern region submitted the report to the then Prime Minister Shri HD Deve Gowda on March 7, 1997. Where was the transformation and in what way is a matter of intrinsic scrutiny. Overall the NER remained the as underdeveloped as before, transformation sounded a little too ambitious.

Subsequently the DONER Ministry sponsored a vision document, Peace, Progress and Prosperity in the North Eastern Region: Vision 2020”. The Vision Document postulated development strategy with the avowed objective of placing the NER comparable to the mainland. The Dream Plan was conceived in 2007 for turning around the NER by 2020, By now 2021, do we stand comparable to the mainland?

This time around too the Union Ministers talking tall to turn the region a trade hub plus tourist hotspot; trade hub because of the strategic location of the region, the eight units bordering with foreign countries. The issue of developing infrastructure, generating trade and commerce from the varieties of local products is riddled with impossibilities.

Bordering with foreign countries does not necessarily promote trade and commerce unless both the regions develop with scope for supplementing and complementing. In the existing scenario, both the borders are beset with poverty, utter lack of infrastructure, you name any, roads, power, marketing outlets, and more importantly the finished products. In these respects, the NER does not qualify for instant trade and commerce in real terms.

Coming to the stated area of tourism, we can see if any such prospects exist in the remote future even. Among 7 identified core areas the national tourism policy attempts to emphasize the last and may be of some interest. It says, “Ensure that tourists to India gets physically invigorated, mentally rejuvenated, culturally enriched, spiritually elevated and feel India from within”.

Beautifully coined with the richest of thoughts and finest of words, it is hardly achievable, perhaps more so in India for reasons not far to seek. These in effect are the sole arena any tourist coming to a foreign destination, digging his pockets deep aspire for. Even realizing a part of it, say mental satisfaction from living in the scenic beauty or the comfort of stay, excellent food would be enough for any tourist to be blessed.

After all what these tourists long for whole visiting some attractive places. Obviously some fun, some quality time, some experience of something new, uncared for the daily bustling they had been through and thus to stimulate and unwind some stress they had accumulated over the years. In addition they may be happy to experience something fresh they had not encountered before.

Domestic or foreign tourists go around and come on a leisure trip. They look forward to see new places where they can unwind the fatigued body, to de-stress the mind away from the trappings of civilization. They want to relish their stay that includes the places, the scenic spots, or components of festival, be they dance or events like Kite Festival of Rajasthan or scenic spots of Sikkim.

They look forward to get the luxury of the amenities, the fancy food and the beverages, to stimulate some adventure, some frenzy and some fun. Money is secondary consideration for most of them and are prepared to dig their pockets for something close to their heart. What is asked for is the coefficient of pleasure plus luxury, rest is secondary. Once these requisites are available, they look forward to return to the place, the city again and again and thus achieve a luxurious time in the midst of extravaganza.

What could be a place whose memory lingers over time, years after years so that people yarn to visit the place again and again. I recall one tourist from Australia, Jan Cornail who is an actor, a singer, song writer all rolled into one. She after visiting Bali fell in love with this island; she visited 10 times over and over.

She in her book, “Take me to the Paradise”, wrote about a place, ‘Ubud’, where near the seashore, the beach everyone was waiting to have a glimpse of the sun setting in the ocean. She writes, “The slippery egg-yolk sun is almost falling into the sea in front of us as the water shows us to our table on the sand.

It’s one of the many that fills the beaches far as I can see, belonging to all the sea food cafes of Jimbaram Bay…. More people are down by the water’s edge waiting to catch the ultimate snapshot moment…sun’s liquid shape slides, then pauses. Camera lights flash and down the beach. There is an audible; ‘a-a-a-h’, then it slips beneath the horizon, leaving wispy mauve clouds to drift their trails in to the night sky”.

This memory, this composition of all conceivable features of natural beauty of sun setting in the ocean is the one that pulls this lady to Bali again and again.

Likewise, we in Manipur for example may have to concentrate on few spots, be they Loktak, Keibul Lamjao, Cherri blossom of Mao, one can cite quite a few more. That is not important. What is to lay focus is on developing the site, say Loktak.

Is the road reaching there ok? Is the periphery water attractive? Can the tourists be tempted to take a joy ride in the motor boats?

Are not the waters dirty to the extent og disgusting? How do then tourists be attracted?


* SK Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at kunjabiharis(AT)rediffmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on January 27 2020.



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