Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki said the Tawang Festival, introduced since 2012 as a tourism festival after celebration of Buddha Mahotsova since 2004, would be a harbinger of speedy socio-economic development of the people of the district.
Addressing a massive gathering at the inaugural function of the three-day festival attended by a massive gathering at the SSB ground here today, Tuki suggested a complete package comprising echo, adventure, religious, spiritual, health and cultural tourism for holistic growth of the vast potential tourism sector to benefit the people of the hilly district along the Indo-China border.
The successful conclusion of India's second edition of the International Tourism Mart-2013 on Saturday here has created a platform for which the past efforts of GoI as well as Tourism Minister Pema Khandu and Parliamentary Secretary P D Sona deserve appreciation.
Appreciating the locals for introducing home stay facility for the tourists and constructing many new private hotels, he said these would be self-sustaining development and eradicate poverty.
To boost tourism, 100 educated unemployed youths were given taxies on subsidy under Mukhyamantri Paryatan Vikash Yojana. The scheme would continue and more taxied should be given to Tawang considering its communication hazard, the CM emphatically said.
Of the 14,000 registered youth for three-day job mela at Itanagar, 9,500 have been selected by 28 vocational training providers with job guarantee, Tuki said and expressed regret that hardly 30 youths turned up for the event.
Elaborating the benefits the proposed hydro projects - 780 MW by Bhilwara, 600 MW and 800 MW by the NHPC -in the district, Tuki sought the support of the masses as it would facilitate massive local area development with contribution of 1percent each by the power developers and the GoAP, besides employment generation, growth of trade besides many other fringe benefits including setting up of a technical college.
However, he assured that the ongoing 6 MW Mukto hydro project would be completed by December next which would end power crisis in Tawang.
Tuki honouring the plea of local leaders, announced a number of sops for the district including Rs 2 crore corpus fund for Tawang Monastery (released this year, Rs 2 crore next year) and Rs 1 crore sanctioned for tackling its landslide problem, the regularisation of 36 Bhoti teachers approved, creation of 100 honourary teachers to be taken by the Cabinet, fund for taking up educational and health activities would be sanctioned to department of Karmik and Adhyatmik from next year, wrongly spelt Memba would be corrected and a polytechnic college at Tawang next year, upgradation of Jang secondary school to HS level next year, a ring road for Tawang township proposed under RIDF, Zemithang CO HQ upgraded to EAC HQ, CO HQ at Pamghar to be approved next year, assured to consider a PWD circle at Tawang.
Announcing his support for Mon Autonomous Council and assuring to move the GoI, he advocated a special package for Twang considering its peculiar condition as different district has different potentials.
Earlier, addressing the media persons, Tuki exhorted the locals to get mentally ready to receive increasing number of tourists.
He enlisted the efforts to improve road condition and build more roads including the Lumla-Bleting-Tashigaon road, an all-weather and alternate roads, the Itanagar-Guwahati-Tawang-Guwahati-Itanagar helicopter service would begin next month. Moreover, an airport has been proposed at Lumla whose investigation was on, he said.
He said that he has already taken up with the NHPC for building a tunnel from Sange to Jang to bypass the Sela Pass to make the Bhalkukpong-Tawang road all weather, and added that it would benefit the NHPC for transporting its heavy equipments to the project site too.
Earlier, Governor Nirbhay Sharma, in a regret message through his secretary for his inability to attend, said: "Well done Arunachal for achieving many a global milestones, saying tourism has huge potential to generate employment. But he cautioned the youth that 'your ignorance and impolite acts could adversely affect tourists'."
Pema Khandu, in his address, lauded the GoI and Nabam Tuki for the ITM which would give a new thrust to tourism in North East. He said that Tawang Festival to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the state has already received massive responses from within and abroad as reflected by the presence of foreign and domestic tourists.
Earlier, he had assured journalists that all important festivals would be calendered along with local festivals.
Responding to a question, Khandu and Sona announced that Mechuka would host the maiden Adventure Festival from November 7 to 9 where para gliding, aero model show, rafting and mountain biking would be the attractions for the adventure tourists.
Union tourism secretary Parvez Dewan, in chaste Bhoti, greeted the people Tashi Delek and exhorted them to build their houses traditionally besides wearing traditional attires during such festivals, to the thunderous applause of the gathering.
Tourism secretary Sonam Chombay informed that the ITM-2013 has inked an impressive record of 204 business-to business meetings between the local tour operators and foreign delegates from 20 nations against 74 such meeting at ITM-2012.
The CM earlier inaugurated exhibition and food stalls.
A host of dignitaries including Nagaland and Sikkim tourism ministers, parliamentary secretaries, DoKA chairman, senior GoAP officers, among others, present were entertained to a colourful cultural programme.
Earlier during the day, Nabam Tuki along with media persons visited Bumla pass at 17,000 feet, where the 1962 Chinese aggression had taken place, and lauded the forces for their yeoman's service in guarding the frontier even as the border post records 10 to 15 feet of snowfall during winter and the temperature goes below minus 23 degree Celsius. He emotionally spoke to the officers and jawans including about nine from Arunachal and embraced them to boost their morale.
Observing the poor road and telecommunication condition, Tuki assured to impress upon the central government for the needful.