TOURISM AND ECO­NOMIC DEVEL­OP­MENT IN MEGHALAYA: NEED TO TAP PO­TEN­TIALS

Need to Tap Growth Po­ten­tials

Economic Challenger - - CONTENTS - − Ms. Ibak­it­bok S. Kharkon­gar

AB­STRACT

Meghalaya, the hilly state, is one of the seven states of the North−East­ern re­gion of In­dia en­dowed with rivers, lakes, peaks, caves, sanc­tu­ar­ies, churches and mon­u­ments; and a va­ri­ety of cul­tures, cos­tumes and dances. Meghalaya has got the much needed po­ten­tials for the devel­op­ment of tourism es­pe­cially eco−tourism based on the nat­u­ral re­sources of the place. In spite of its com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage in this area, tourism is not per­ceived as an im­por­tant eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity. There is an ur­gent need for all pol­icy−mak­ers in­volved in so­cio−eco­nomic devel­op­ment to have greater aware­ness and un­der­stand­ing of the role of tourism in so­cio−eco­nomic devel­op­ment in or­der to be able to iden­tify ar­eas for ac­tion along with ap­proaches to mon­i­tor ac­tiv­i­ties, as­sess out­comes and eval­u­ate re­sults.

IN­TRO­DUC­TION

Tourism has been rec­og­nized as smoke­less in­dus­try per­tain­ing to the peo­ple, trans­port­ing them to des­ig­nated des­ti­na­tions, putting them com­fort­ably as their pock­ets per­mit, en­ter­tain­ing them and send­ing them with sweet mem­o­ries. Travel and tourism has ac­quired im­por­tance over a pe­riod of time next to oil in­dus­try. Tourism has the po­ten­tial­ity to earn an enor­mous vol­ume of for­eign ex­change, gen­er­ate em­ploy­ment, and pro­mote tra­di­tional val­ues and cus­toms, be­sides pro­vid­ing a de­pend­able mar­ket for in­dige­nous traders and crafts. In this way, tourism has as­sumed a new char­ac­ter of a big busi­ness, and there­fore, is con­sid­ered one of the fastest grow­ing in­dus­tries in the world. It is a ser­vice in­dus­try. It does not pro­duce goods but ren­ders ser­vices to var­i­ous classes of peo­ple. It is a com­plex ag­gre­ga­tion of many in­dus­tries such as trans­port and com­mu­ni­ca­tion which pro­vides con­nec­tiv­ity to trav­ellers, ho­tels and restau­rants which pro­vide shel­ter and food, small scale in­dus­tries which cater to var­i­ous needs of the tourists etc. How­ever, ev­ery­thing de­pends on how it is be­ing mar­keted. Meghalaya of­fers a ho­mo­ge­neous blend of nat­u­ral scenic beauty and cool cli­mate. This hilly state is one of the seven sis­ters of the North−East­ern Re­gion of In­dia. Meghalaya means ’the abode of clouds’. Mawsyn­ram and Cher­ra­pun­jee (Sohra in the Khasi Lan­guage) jus­tify the sig­nif­i­cance of the name of Meghalaya (megh means cloud and al­lay means an abode or a dwelling place). Meghalaya is also known as ’Scot­land of the East.’

Meghalaya is a land locked ter­ri­tory of lovely hills with abound­ing syl­van beauty. Its hilly ter­rains with var­ied el­e­va­tion and heavy rain­fall ac­count for its rich va­ri­ety of flora and fauna. It is fa­mous for its beau­ti­ful but­ter­flies and ex­otic or­chids. Golden lan­gurs, golden cats, horn­bill and clouded leop­ards are part of its unique wildlife. The state is also en­dowed with rivers, lakes, peaks, caves, sanc­tu­ar­ies, churches and mon­u­ments; and a va­ri­ety of cul­tures, cos­tumes and dances. The state has a lot to of­fer to na­ture lovers and tourists. Some of the im­por­tant tourist spots of the state are:

Sohra (Cher­ra­pun­jee). Cher­ra­pun­jee is the most pop­u­lar tourist lo­ca­tions in North−East In­dia. Be­sides, be­ing fa­mous as a place ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the high­est rain­fall in the world, this town is also well−known for its "Tree Roots Bridges," wa­ter­falls and caves. Sohra (Cher­ra­pun­jee) to­gether with Mawsyn­ram which is about 55 kilo­me­ters from Shillong, the state’s cap­i­tal, ex­pe­ri­enced the high­est rain­fall in the world.

Liv­ing Bridges. Deep in vil­lages and rain­forests of Meghalaya bridges are not built, they are grown. That is why they are so called the liv­ing bridges.The liv­ing bridges are made from the roots of the Fi­cus elas­tica tree (rub­ber tree). Th­ese trees pro­duce a se­ries of sec­ondary roots from higher ups of its trunks and can com­fort­ably perch atop huge boul­ders cre­at­ing a solid lat­tice­work struc­ture strong enough to be used as bridges along the river banks, or even in the mid­dle of the rivers them­selves. Th­ese pow­er­ful roots give an op­por­tu­nity to eas­ily cross the river. Th­ese nat­u­ral bridges are much stur­dier than a con­ven­tional wooden bridge be­cause they are still liv­ing so they do not rot. One may find that some of th­ese bridges have been used for more than 500 years. Some of th­ese bridges are over a hun­dred feet long and can sup­port the weight of fifty or more peo­ple. One of the most im­pres­sive and at­trac­tive liv­ing root bridge is the Dou­ble Decker Liv­ing Root Bridge at Non­griat Vil­lage which is be­lieved to be one of its kind in the world. It is ac­tu­ally two bridges stacked one over the other and has come to be known as the "Umshi­ang Dou­ble Decker Root Bridge."

Mawlyn­nong−Clean­est Vil­lage. Nes­tled in the pris­tine hills of Meghalaya, the Mawlyn­nong vil­lage in East Khasi Hills which is about 90 Kms from the State’s cap­i­tal Shillong is the clean­est vil­lage in Asia. There is a Liv­ing− root bridge here which con­nects the Mawlyn­nong vil­lage to the other vil­lage and an­other very strange nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non of a boul­der balancing on an­other small rock. One can also see a tree−house (machan) which is about 80 feet high which can be used as an ob­ser­va­tory, the nat­u­ral swim­ming pool and a lots of nat­u­ral at­trac­tions.

Wa­ter­falls. The State has got a num­ber of panoramic wa­ter­falls. The pop­u­lar wa­ter­falls in the state are the Nohsn­githang Falls, Nohka­likai Falls, Dainthlen Falls, Elephant Falls, Krang­suri Falls, Bishop Falls, Weinia Falls, Lang­shi­ang Falls, Spread Ea­gle Falls, Sweet Falls, Tyr­shi Falls, Th­lu­muwi Falls, Imli Chang Dare and many oth­ers.

Hot Springs. There is a hot sul­phur springs in the rocky sur­round­ing around Jakrem 64 kilo­me­ters from the state’s cap­i­tal Shillong. It is be­lieved that the hot water has some cu­ra­tive and medic­i­nal prop­er­ties.

Sa­cred Groves. Meghalaya is also fa­mous for its "Sa­cred Groves." Sa­cred Groves have been in the Khasi and Jain­tia Hills of Meghalaya for a very long time, they have been pre­served by the tra­di­tional re­li­gious sanc­tions since the an­cient days. The Maw­phlang sa­cred for­est, also known as ’Law Lyn­g­doh,’ is one of the

fa­mous sa­cred forests. One can visit th­ese sa­cred groves but it is for­bid­den to pluck flow­ers or leaves or de­file any­thing in any form. It is be­lieved that th­ese are pro­tected by a syl­van de­ity (ryn­gkew or basa).

Caves. Meghalaya is a home to many caves (krem in the Khasi lan­guage) in In­dia. It has been de­clared as a ma­jor cav­ing re­gion with over 930 caves.

Th­ese caves are nor­mally lo­cated at the foot of hills and moun­tains. The lo­cal in­hab­i­tants used th­ese caves for trav­el­ling from one vil­lage to an­other. Some of the prom­i­nent caves of the state are the Krem Liat Prah−Umim−Labit Sys­tem in Jain­tia Hills which is the first long­est cave in In­dia with 22,250 me­ters in length; the Krem Kot­sati Um­lawan also in Jain­tia Hills is the Sec­ond long­est cave in In­dia with 21,530 me­ters in length, the en­trance to this cave is a deep pool which has to be tra­versed only by swim­ming; the third long­est cave in In­dia is also found in Meghalaya, that is the Krem Syn­rang−Pami­ang sur­veyed at 14,157 me­ters; the Krem Mawkhyr­dop or Krem Mawm­luh sit­u­ated around half a kilo­me­tre west of Cher­ra­pun­jee (Sohra) is the fourth long­est cave at 7,194 me­tres in length, it also has a fine river pas­sage. The other caves are the Krem Umshangkhat with the en­trance pas­sage of 350 me­tres of­fers a com­fort­able stroll on moist sand; the Krem Mawsmai, which has a nar­row tun­nel with rocks hang­ing from the ceil­ings and water trick­les; Krem Sweep in Jain­tia Hills has a beau­ti­ful sta­lag­mites and sta­lac­tites; Krem Dam of Mawsyn­ram in East Khasi Hills is a coarse grained fa­cies of lime­stone which has a very large en­trance with a stream en­ter­ing the cave and run­ning down its main pas­sage; the Mawjym­buin cave in Mawsyn­ram, here one can see water drip­ping from a stone in the form of a breast hang­ing from the ceil­ing of the cave to the other stone be­low made by a nat­u­ral process. Then there is also the Krem Syn­dai, Krem Umthloo, Krem Lym­put, Krem Maw­shun, Krem Larsh­ing; Krem Jyn­niaw; a two−sto­ried cave Krem Iawe in Jain­tia Hills; Siju−Dhabakol or Siju Cave, Tetengkol−Bal­wakol, Dabakkol and Bok Bak Dabakkol are some of the other im­por­tant caves sit­u­ated in dif­fer­ent parts of Garo Hills.

Nongkhnum River Is­land. Nongkhnum River Is­land lo­cated in West Khasi Hills District is a par­adise on earth. It is the largest river is­land in Meghalaya and the sec­ond largest river is­land in Asia next to Ma­joli Is­land in As­sam. It is 1,374 me­tres above the sea level oc­cu­py­ing an area of 25 square kilo­me­tres. It is formed by the bi­fur­ca­tion of river Kyn­shi into rivers Phan­liang and Nam­liang. This place is known for its beau­ti­ful golden shore.

Kyl­lang Rock. Sit­u­ated in West Khasi Hills District, Kyl­lang Rock is a mas­sive rock of gran­ite that rises above the sur­round­ing plains. The rock of­fers a panoramic view of the sur­round­ing val­ley es­pe­cially in win­ter months.

Khoh Ramhah (Gi­ant Bas­ket). It is a stone for­ma­tion in the shape of a con­i­cal bas­ket. The Kha­sis be­lieve that it be­longs to the leg­endary gi­ant who was killed by the peo­ple of Sohra (cher­ra­pun­jee) be­cause of his unso­cial and greedy be­hav­iour.

Mono­liths. Mono­liths ex­ist through­out the length and breadth of Khasi and Jain­tia Hills. Nar­tiang in Jain­tia Hills is fa­mous for pos­sess­ing clus­ters of mono­liths that are among the tallest through­out the world.

Or­chids. Or­chids reign supreme in the plant king­dom for their beauty and di­ver­sity. Meghalaya is a land of beau­ti­ful or­chids. The state can boast of more than 325 species of or­chids, out of 650 species found in North East­ern part of the coun­try. The most com­monly found or­chids in the state are the Lady slip­pers and the Blue Vanda. Pitcher plant is also found in some of the forests in the state.

Peaks and Parks. Shillong Peak the high­est moun­tain in East Khasi Hills is lo­cated at an al­ti­tude of 1,960 me­tres above sea level. Stand­ing on the peak, one can get a good view of the Hi­malayan Peaks and the plains of Syl­het on a clear day in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber. The other peaks which are some­what at a lower el­e­va­tion are the Diengiei Peak, the Lum Soh­petb­neng Peak, Mawthadrais­han Peak (at the top of this peak one can find 7 to 8 av­er­age− sized fish ponds) in Khasi Hills; the Tura peak, the Nokrek Peak in Garo Hills and many oth­ers.

The state has got a num­ber of parks and botan­i­cal Gar­dens like Nokrek Bio­sphere Re­serve and Bal­pakram Bird Sanc­tu­ary in Garo Hills; Lady Hy­dari Park sit­u­ated in the heart of the cap­i­tal Shillong; Thangkha­rang Park, Sa−i− mika Park, and Eco−Park in Cher­ra­pun­jee (Sohra); Nehru Park, Thrills Fun Park and Kharsati park, Nongkhyllem Bird sanc­tu­ary in Ri−Bhoi District; Mat­ti­lang Park on the way to Up­per Shillong; Iooksi Park and Ia­long Park in Jain­tia Hills, to name a few.

The state is also en­dowed with rivers, lakes and sanc­tu­ar­ies, bridges, val­leys, grass­lands, the nat­u­ral golf course (one of the best in Asia) and panoramic wa­ter­falls. For­est is also a boon to the state of Meghalaya. There are dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of forests like the Sal For­est, Mixed De­cid­u­ous For­est, Ev­er­green Forests and Bam­boo For­est. Meghalaya is a land of hills, vales, trans­par­ent brooks, shim­mer­ing rivulets, bloom­ing flow­ers, av­enues, tall pine trees and shady grooves. Be­sides its nat­u­ral beauty, the state also has got a num­ber of me­galithic mon­u­ments and mu­se­ums; pil­grim­age and re­sorts.

Meghalaya has got the much needed po­ten­tials for the devel­op­ment of tourism es­pe­cially eco−tourism based on the nat­u­ral re­sources of the place. There is a great scope for devel­op­ment of eco−tourism in the state be­cause of the scenic beauty it of­fers and the hu­man po­ten­tials it has got for gen­er­at­ing em­ploy­ment. Eco−tourism is a vi­tal part of sus­tain­able tourism, with the ob­jec­tive of pro­tect­ing the frag­ile ecosys­tems of the state of Meghalaya. Its goal was to de­velop tourism in the state and not by de­stroy­ing en­vi­ron­ment but by invit­ing for­eign vis­i­tors (tourists) to ex­pe­ri­ence it as if they were lo­cals.

In spite of its com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage in this area, tourism is not per­ceived as an im­por­tant eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity. The first task of the government should be to cre­ate aware­ness about the place of tourism in gen­eral and of sus­tain­able tourism in par­tic­u­lar.

In Meghalaya, tourism needs a push to start the en­gine of growth from the present level of stag­na­tion. Un­for­tu­nately the state has not given much at­ten­tion to tourism so far, as an in­put in the devel­op­ment process ei­ther be­cause the ben­e­fits of tourism are not so eas­ily vis­i­ble or be­cause of their his­tor­i­cal pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with the tra­di­tional sec­tors. The ta­ble be­low shows the num­ber of tourists both In­dian and For­eign vis­it­ing the state (2000−12).

Un­for­tu­nately, the ta­ble re­veals that the present pic­ture of achieve­ment does not re­flect the po­ten­tial of tourism in Meghalaya. The ar­rival fig­ures of tourists both domestic and in­ter­na­tional make this abun­dantly clear. In ei­ther sit­u­a­tion one can­not es­cape the con­clu­sion that the state of af­fairs is far from sat­is­fac­tory. Tourism in Meghalaya can be a cat­a­lyst for eco­nomic devel­op­ment in tune with the lib­er­al­iza­tion strate­gies. It is a key fac­tor in global trade with in­ter­na­tional di­men­sions as a (i) con­trib­u­tor to re­ceipts, ex­pen­di­ture and

bal­ance of pay­ments, (ii) cre­ator of for­eign ex­change, (iii) provider of em­ploy­ment, and (iv) power feeder for devel­op­ment.

Hence, tourism is rightly called as Fourth Di­men­sion of Mod­ern Eco­nom­ics.

DAUNT­ING CHAL­LENGES

Tourism can also help to raise aware­ness of lo­cal pop­u­la­tion about the fi­nan­cial value of nat­u­ral and cul­tural sites, and make them proud of their be­ing part of the her­itage and need for con­ser­va­tion. The havoc and de­struc­tion caused by ab­sence of plan­ning of this hill sta­tion, the in­creased degra­da­tion of beaches and van­dal­i­sa­tion of mon­u­ments and caves are some

of the cases in point. Sim­i­larly, un­re­strained and unchecked surge of tourists to the moun­tains has led to lit­ter­ing of hill­tops and val­leys, trekking routes and pas­tures. It is there­fore very es­sen­tial to keep en­vi­ron­ment in mind while plan­ning devel­op­ment of the state as a tourism des­ti­na­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, a task force to mon­i­tor the con­ser­va­tion and preser­va­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources is ab­sent in the state. To com­bat the emerg­ing chal­lenges, a high power task force must be con­sti­tuted to reap the ben­e­fits of sus­tain­able tourism.

IM­PED­I­MENTS STAG­GER­ING MEGHALAYA TOURIST SEC­TOR

The var­i­ous fac­tors block­ing the devel­op­ment of tourism in Meghalaya are: 1. First and fore­most, the worst con­di­tions of roads with much of pot−holes and man− holes de­pict­ing a bad pic­ture spe­cially on NH−62. The road com­mu­ni­ca­tion is ar­du­ous and time con­sum­ing. Air com­mu­ni­ca­tion of late has im­proved, but is not yet tuned to tourism re­quire­ments. Co­or­di­nated plan­ning of tourism for the state is pos­si­ble only when the in­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion by air be­comes ef­fi­cient and re­li­able. 2. Lack of ad­e­quate in­for­ma­tion and trained tourist guides re­lat­ing to the var­i­ous im­por­tant places of tourist at­trac­tion. Con­se­quently, as the tourists ar­rive at such places, there is hardly any­one to sat­isfy their in­quis­i­tive­ness. 3. Poor ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­i­ties and mode of trans­porta­tion are some of the hin­der­ing fac­tors. 4. Dis­crim­i­na­tion in the en­try fees charged for the for­eign tourists for vis­it­ing dif­fer­ent tourist spots which are man­i­fold com­pared with the lo­cal tourists. 5. Lack of san­i­tary, toi­let and drainage

fa­cil­i­ties. 6. Lack of en­ter­tain­ment like casi­nos, div­ing, wind­surf­ing and sports fish­ing etc, dampen the spirit of the tourists. 7. The idea of fleec­ing the tourists, a nor­mal ten­dency sub­sist­ing in the en­tire sys­tem, from porters to shop­keep­ers, is an­other im­ped­i­ment fac­tor. 8. The pres­ence of var­i­ous in­sur­gent groups in the state de­ters sev­eral tourists from en­ter­ing into the state. This is in fact a great loss of rev­enue to the state. 9. Lack of par­tic­i­pa­tion of pri­vate sec­tor and NGOs in the tourist sec­tor, de­for­esta­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion. 10. Luke­warm sup­port from Government for pro­mo­tion of this sec­tor due to dearth of funds al­lo­ca­tion.

The above dis­cour­ag­ing fac­tors dis­dain­fully re­tard the po­ten­tial­i­ties for de­vel­op­ing tourism as a sta­ble source of rev­enue.

NEC­ES­SARY STEPS RE­QUIRED

Tourism can be devel­oped with a mo­ti­va­tion to gen­er­ate re­source to the state rev­enue and to of­fer em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties to the lo­cal res­i­dents. The fol­low­ing are some of the im­por­tant steps which are likely to make tourism in Meghalaya a vi­brant and sus­tain­able project.

1. It is es­sen­tial to start with a cor­rect per­cep­tion about the role of tourism in the eco­nomic devel­op­ment of the state.

2. To in­crease the room ca­pac­ity or de­velop eco−tourism cen­tres to cater to the needs of tourists.

3. Tourism is a ser­vice in­dus­try and there­fore the qual­ity of the ser­vice makes sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ences in the de­mand for the tourism prod­uct. Hu­man re­source devel­op­ment should be an im­por­tant part of the fu­ture strat­egy for tourism devel­op­ment in the state. It must also be in tune with the ob­jec­tive of em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion through tourism.

4. To de­velop more at­trac­tive tourist des­ti­na­tions for which ad­e­quate po­ten­tials ex­ist in the state. The state should pre­pare an ecol­ogy map of the pos­si­ble tourism des­ti­na­tions and zones. The na­ture of tourism plan­ning will de­pend on the de­gree of fragility of the eco−sys­tem. Ar­eas which are very frag­ile may even be closed to mass tourism and devel­oped only for spe­cial in­ter­est group tourism like ad­ven­ture tourism.

5. To pay in­creased at­ten­tion to other in­fras­truc­tural as­pects such as devel­op­ment

and mod­ern­iza­tion of air­ports and roads and the devel­op­ment of water sports. 6. To in­te­grate and in­volve the pri­vate sec­tor, this im­plies a sys­tem of for­mal­ized co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the government and pri­vate sec­tors where the part­ners share re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, re­sources, risks and re­wards. That is the in­te­gra­tion of the pri­vate sec­tor deal­ing in tourism with the Meghalaya Tourism Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion of the State. Some of the ar­eas where such part­ner­ship can be mean­ing­ful are:

(i) Fi­nanc­ing of new in­fra­struc­ture;

(ii) Evolv­ing a mod­ern fo­cuses, com­pre­hen­sive and in­ten­sive mar­ket­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion;

(iii) Col­lab­o­rat­ing in hu­man re­sources devel­op­ment; (iv) Shar­ing devel­op­ment, beau­ti­fi­ca­tion and main­te­nance of var­i­ous tourism prod­ucts; (v) Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the preser­va­tion of the her­itage; and

7. To de­velop the con­cept of sin­gle win­dow sys­tem where all the in­for­ma­tion and data of tourist cen­tres in the state can be made avail­able through data base to the tourists at var­i­ous tourist in­for­ma­tion cen­tres and with the reg­is­tered tourist agents.

8. To ac­cess the ex­ist­ing stan­dards and fa­cil­i­ties and to im­prove them to in­crease the in­flow of tourists.

9. To catch up with the new idea of eco− tourism which has worked won­ders in Nepal and Sikkim which have a ter­rain and en­vi­ron­ment sim­i­lar to Meghalaya.

10. To in­te­grate the plan­ning and devel­op­ment of tourism with each tourist area hav­ing a devel­op­ment author­ity. Master plans for ap­pro­pri­ate num­ber of years for each place or spot can be pre­pared and while do­ing so the car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity of var­i­ous cen­tres need to be de­ter­mined and de­tailed ur­ban plan­ning with land use plan­ning need to be un­der­taken.

11. To ven­ture on large scale af­foresta­tion pro­grammes and soil con­ser­va­tion mea­sures to en­hance the aes­thetic beauty and en­vi­ron­ment of the state.

Thus, the fu­ture strat­egy, nat­u­rally, will have to be multi−pronged but well−co­or­di­nated, in­te­grated and com­pre­hen­sive. The strat­egy should fo­cus on sec­tors that have high em­ploy­ment and in­come gen­er­at­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and have strong back­ward and for­ward in­ter− sec­toral link­ages. There­fore, the in­vest­ment port− fo­lio should con­sist of projects which re­quire the least government re­sources and which have the high­est mul­ti­plier ef­fect on in­come and em­ploy­ment. In­vest­ments which have higher dis­per­sal ef­fects on in­come and em­ploy­ment and which cre­ate more in­come lo­cally, should get pri­or­ity in the plan­ning process.

To con­clude, tourism is an ex­port−ori­ented ser­vice sec­tor, which has the po­ten­tial to cre­ate sub­stan­tial em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly for un­skilled and semi−skilled work­ers. In con­trast to some man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries, the tourism in­dus­try has di­rect in­cen­tive to fos­ter the qual­ity of en­vi­ron­ment. This alternative will take into ac­count the nat­u­ral eco­log­i­cal at­trac­tions of a place and their con­ser­va­tion and devel­op­ment.

A strong com­mit­ment to sus­tain­able tourism, a de­ter­mined plan of ac­tion and a de­vo­tion to proper im­ple­men­ta­tion will be the cru­cial fac­tors if Meghalaya de­cides to take ad­van­tage of its God−gifted as­sets for the bet­ter­ment of the peo­ple and for rapid eco­nomic devel­op­ment of the state.

REF­ER­ENCES

1. Ahmed, Abu Nasar Saied: Tourism in As­sam, in Syiem­lieh David R., Dutta Anu­radha, and Baruah Srinath (2006): Chal­lenges of Devel­op­ment in North−East In­dia (ed), Re­gency Pub­li­ca­tions, New Delhi. 2. An­bal­a­gan M., Amudha R., and Selvam V.: Eco−tourism: A Boon for Sus­tain­able So­cio− eco­nomic Devel­op­ment, in Sarn­gad­ha­ran M. and Raju J. ( 2005): Tourism and Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment: In­dian and Global Per­spec­tive (ed), New Cen­tury Pub­li­ca­tions, New Delhi, In­dia. 3. Phile­mon Emanuel Paul (2011): Meghalaya

Land of Ma­tri­lin­eal Lin­eage.

Meghalaya, `the abode of clouds.´

Umshi­ang Dou­ble Decker Liv­ing Root Bridge at Non­griat Vil­lage

Boul­der balancing on an­other small rock

Weinia Falls

Liv­ing Root Bridge at Mawlyn­nong

Krang Suri Falls

Elephant Falls

Mawjym­buin Cave

Mono­liths at Nar­tiang in Jain­tia Hills

Blue Vanda

Pitcher Plant

Lady Slip­pers

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