NEW DELHI, Sept 5 - Asserting that the Centre is training special focus on development of tourism in the Northeast, Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Dr Mahesh Sharma said that projects worth Rs 900 crore have been cleared for development of the sector in the region.
The minister was addressing a curtain-raiser press conference on the three-day Incredible India Tourism Investors� Summit 2018 that gets under way here on September 21. The summit aims to attract foreign investments in the tourism sector. It will highlight the growth and potential of Indian tourism and present an array of ready-to-invest projects from the Central and state governments, Dr Sharma said.
Assam along with other northeastern states are joining the summit, while some of the states would be represented by their respective chief ministers. While some eight states are scheduled to make presentations at the summit, northeastern states are not among them.
Replying to questions, Dr Sharma said that the main hurdle in development of tourism in the Northeast was connectivity and infrastructure. �The northeastern region has tremendous tourism potential but infrastructure and connectivity have to improve,� he said.
The Central Government is focusing its attention on development of tourism infrastructure in the Northeast and proposes to spend Rs 900 crore for this, the minister announced. �Two tourist circuits can be developed involving the region, including the Northeast circuit and the Himalayan circuit,� he said, adding, the Centre proposes to earmark Rs 300 crore for development of these two circuits.
Stressing that its policy of laying special emphasis on the Northeast was in line with the directive of the Prime Minister, Dr Sharma said that the Centre is giving emphasis on developing road connectivity and helicopter services in the region.
�Assam has submitted a concept paper on developing eco-circuits and we are waiting for the detailed project report,� the minister said. He further stated that special focus would be laid on exploiting the potential of the Kaziranga National Park.
Manipur, the minister said, has also submitted some proposals for investments, which would be taken up in the summit. Similarly, Sikkim has also submitted a proposal for investment of Rs 200 crore for tourism development, he said.
�The (tourism) potential is tremendous and the future belongs to the Northeast,� said Union Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi, who was also present in the press meet.
The Union Tourism Ministry has during the last three years spent more than the mandatory 10 per cent budgetary allocation for development of tourism in the Northeast, the Secretary said.
An amount of Rs 141.27 crore has been released up to December 31 of the last fiscal by the Ministry of Tourism for development of infrastructure in the northeastern states under the newly launched schemes Swadesh Dharshan and Prasad, Zutshi added.