GUWAHATI, March 9 � The State Government will utilize the entire amount received under the Central Road Fund in 2015-16 for undertaking road projects to tourism spots in Assam.
This was stated by Ajanta Neog, Minister for Public Works (Roads, Buildings, National Highway) and Planning Development, at the Legislative Assembly today.
She spoke at the conclusion of a discussion on voting on supplementary demands for grants for 2014-15 of the Tourism department.
�We will spend 100 per cent of the funds for this purpose and we will take it up as priority for 2015-16,� she said.
Earlier, replying to the discussion, Tourism Minister Sumitra Doley Patir said that various steps have been taken up for development of tourism infrastructure in the State.
She said the department has prepared an annual report on the sector.
�The District Tourism Committees under DCs are working in all districts,� she said, adding that infrastructure development work has been taken up at Sualkuchi.
Over five lakh tourists visited the State last year, she said, adding that funds have been sanctioned for developing a number of tourist circuits in Assam.
�In West Bengal, many tourists come to experience the Durga Puja. We can do something similar with regard to Rongali Bihu,� Patir said.
She said that the Tourism Department has a clean record with regard to submission of Utilization Certificates.
Patir, however, admitted that the State has so far not prepared any Vision Document with regard to the tourism sector.
Participating in the discussion, Aminul Islam of AIUDF said that the State government should develop infrastructure along the Brahmaputra river so that it can act as a catalyst for the sector in Assam.
�A chain of hotels can be developed along the river,� he said.
Islam called upon the State government to develop an International Tourism Centre at Batadrava for attracting both domestic and foreign tourists.
�In the historic Ahom era sites of Sivasagar, only the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has taken steps to conserve them. Nothing has been done by the Tourism department,� he said.
Islam added that the chars in the rivers can also be developed as ideal spots for tourists from outside the State as locals already visit them for picnics.
AGP�s Keshab Mahanta said that 5-6 areas of interests should be selected by the State government for developing tourism in Assam.
�The Tourism department should join hands with the ASI, Culture department, Transport department and Forest department for developing a Master Plan. The Tourism department can do the coordination,� he said.
He added, �Even in Kaziranga, foreign tourists spend barely an hour or two for elephant or jeep safari. There is no other source of amusement. What about organising cultural programmes in the evening? Two circuits can be developed from Kaziranga towards Nagaon and Sivasagar.�
He expressed concern about the fact that the department has not released any annual reports since 2010-11.