this from the Times of India
GUWAHATI: With tourism one of the top priorities of the new government in the state, Dispur has approached the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for financial assistance to build infrastructure on a par with international standards.
State tourism department principal secretary Himangshu Sekhar Das said a proposal for getting financial aid has been submitted to the ADB recently. He added that chief minister Tarun Gogoi, during a meeting with bureaucrats, has made tourism development one of the top four priorities of his new government. Gogoi has planned to go in a big way to promote tourism for generating employment. ADB has been financing infrastructure development in the state.
On Thursday, Parliament`s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the project proposal of ADB-assisted road project for six northeastern states, including Assam. Under the project, a 433-km long road will be constructed and renovated at an estimated cost of Rs 1353.83 crore. The implementation period is from 2011 to 2016.
At present, Sikkim is the only state in the northeast which is getting financial assistance in the tourism sector from the ADB. Das said Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the other states enjoying the benefit.
"Last week, we sent a preliminary proposal to ADB country mission director, seeking inclusion of the tourism sector in the state for financial assistance. The proposal seeks infrastructure development in the tourism sector," he added. He said once this is done, it would help in developing international standard tourism infrastructure in the state.
"Once we start getting financial assistance from ADB, the infrastructure will be developed on a par with international standards," explained Das. The tourism department has recently formed Assam Tourism Council to implement state`s policy.
Das said 50 per cent of the members in the council are from government departments. The rest are tour operators and hoteliers. The council will pave the way for tourism development through consultation and active participation from different stakeholders and departments.
Former executive director of Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation, P K Dong, who was instrumental in tourism development in his state, said Assam is fast emerging as a tourism destination.