‘Tourists safe in Jharkhand’
In a tete-a-tete with , the Principal Secretary-Tourism and Civil Aviation in Jharkhand talks about how the state will improve tourism infrastructure.
There has been no incident of Maoists attacking tourists in Jharkhand till date
Tourism in Jharkhand has received a setback in the recent times. Hit hard by left- wing extremism, the tourists from Bengal, which form the mainstay of the industry are giving the state a miss. Thus, the primary objective of the tourism department is to revive the inflow of travellers.
According to Sajal Chakraborty, Pricipal Secretary- Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Jharkhand, it is a long way before the state can compete with the luxury quotient of states such as Rajasthan and Kerala. “Currently, we want to promote Jharkhand as a short getaway destination to draw visitors from the neighbouring states. There has been no incident of Maoists attacking tourists in Jharkhand till date. I have established contact with the Maoists over this issue and they have assured that they won’t disturb the tourists. I visited Isco caves in Barkagaon, known to be a rebel stronghold. I went without any security personnel and returned unscathed. I shall be spending nights at several other places of interest so that tourists’ fears are put to rest,” he affirms.
To strengthen the tourism infrastructure in the state, Jonha Fall, Dasam Fall and Hundru Fall will soon have ropeway facilities and the tourism department has approved the same. The last tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahai hailed from Ranchi and had taken a number of proactive measures for boosting tourism. The department of tourism has asked its consultant agency to now prepare a detailed project report
for the same. Installation of ropeway at each site will cost
` 2.5 crore, the Principal Secretary informs.
In early April, this year the Department of Civil Aviation of Jharkhand had announced lowering of ATF to four per cent. Night-parking of aircraft was also made free at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport. However, this has not helped in giving a fillip to the industry. Lamenting on the sad state of civil aviation in the state, Chakraborty suggests the Ministry to identify a lowcost viable model for development of small airports to enhance ‘regional connectivity’. Urging the State Government to prepare a roadmap for development of civil aviation infrastructure, he points out the state is losing ` 24 crore annually at the cost of reduction of ATF. Even night-landing has not been much effective, as it is only for scheduled airlines. The potential of the charters and air ambulances have been sidelined by the AAI in this case.
Pricipal Secretary- Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Jharkhand