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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tourism potential of Udalguri yet to be tapped



Tourism potential of Udalguri yet to be tapped
SIVASISH THAKUR
UDALGURI, Dec 28 – The picturesque Indo-Bhutan border in Udalguri district criss-crossed by meandering watercourses amid lush green forests offers immense potential for eco-tourism promotion. Unfortunately, years of neglect to the backward district prevented this prospect from taking a practical shape.But things could be gradually changing for the better with the district administration, the forest authorities and voluntary organizations joining hands to make a beginning.
“Udalguri is indeed replete with possibilities for a sustained growth of eco-tourism, which can also be a tool for expediting the development process. We are ready to provide the necessary assistance to harness its tourism potential,” Udalguri Deputy Commissioner Thaneswar Malakar said.Acknowledging that infrastructure constraints stood to hinder tourism development in the border areas, Malakar said that he had formed a committee to look into the different issued involved – including conservation problems, mitigation of the man-elephant conflict, development of the border areas, etc.
“We want to adopt a multi-dimensional approach, as conservation of the flora and fauna and involvement of the local communities will be critical to the long-term success of eco-tourism. Development of the forested areas along the border will be a priority, and we have instructed all the line departments to assist the Forest Department. If necessary, border development funds will also be used for the purpose,” Malakar said.
Bankim Sarma, DFO, Dhansiri Division, while stressing the need for a cautious and well-planned approach, said that adequate training to NGOs and local stakeholders should be integral to any strategy to tap the district’s eco-tourism potential offered by the scenic border areas.
“It needs to be ensured that tourism promotion does not end up damaging the fragile ecology of the area. Tourism promoters will have to have the necessary training and expertise,” Sarma said.

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