NALBARI, Jan 1 � Hundreds of picnic parties thronged the Bhutan Chawki, a spot with tremendous natural beauty situated on the foothills of the Indo-Bhutan border, on New Year�s day today.
Even two foreign tourists from London visited the picnic spot and spent a night under a makeshift tent there. The river Pagladia that flows down from Bhutan Chawki, adds to the scenic beauty of the area.
The area which was once a hotbed of activities of ULFA and NDFB militants, was developed as a tourist spot in 2006 by an NGO, Manas Chawki Echo Tourism Society. This NGO has been working for the conservation of nature and wild animals.
After the �Operation All Clear� against the ULFA launched by the Bhutan Royal Army in Bhutan terriotory in 2003, the spot became free from militant activities. Actually, the Bhutan Chawki on the Indian territory is a rest camp for Bhutanese people. During the winter season the Bhutanese people would come down from the hill areas to protect themselves from the cold. They rested at Bhutan Chawki till the winter season was over.
The Bhutanese people used to collect various items from the Indian people through the barter system. This system continued till 1997. During that period the area got a new look as the Indian citizens approached them to collect their agricultural products and woollens.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, president of Manas Chawki Echo Tourism Society, Satan Kumar Ramchiyari said that the flow of picnickers starts in November and continues till April, but the peak time is from December 20 to January 20.
Ramchiyari added that on the New Year�s day today about 200 vehicles entered the spot. According to him the tourist flow to the spot was very high last Sunday and during the year-end. He however lamented that the State Government and the BTC administration have not taken steps to develop the picnic spot.
A total of 20 volunteers of the society have been looking after the the tourist spot with a meagre remuneration. Ramchiyari informed that they have decided to push back the picnic spot to a nearby area and launch a plantation drive in the present spot.