GUWAHATI, Sept 11 - A range of ideas to boost tourism in the north-eastern states, including special tourist trains to unexplored destinations, are under discussion as the IRCTC steps up its efforts to partner state tourism bodies in putting the region on the global tourism map.
Rajen Gohain, Minister of State for Railways, on Saturday chaired a meeting of senior IRCTC and railway officials, state tourism secretaries and other officers of state tourism directorates and corporations, on joint promotion of tourism and other support that the IRCTC could provide.
The Minister suggested that destinations can be made more accessible to both domestic and foreign travellers through special tourist trains, which IRCTC has successfully been operating in other major destinations across the country. Gohain pledged the necessary assistance from his Ministry for such initiatives.
He also advised state tourism organisations to utilise the vast experience of IRCTC in tourism promotion and nominate the mini-ratna enterprise as a �brand ambassador� for the entire North East and look at focused and time-bound implementation of tourism development projects.
Dr AK Manocha, Chairman and Managing Director of IRCTC; HK Jaggi, General Manager (Construction), NF Railway; VS Bhaskar, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Assam and AK Brar, Director, Tourism and Marketing, IRCTC; were among the senior officials present.
The meeting agreed on drafting a tourism development plan for the region incorporating the various ideas discussed, and to begin its execution soon. Apart from the railway periphery, development of tourism through other modes was also broadly discussed.
On Sunday, IRCTC-installed water vending machines were inaugurated at the Guwahati Railway Station by MP Bijoya Chakraborty in presence of Dr AK Manocha and other higher officials of IRCTC and Railways.
The scheme of water vending machine installation at various stations is a part of the Railway Ministry�s commitment to improving amenities for passengers. The MP welcomed the initiative implemented by the IRCTC and requested that more stations be included in the future.
She lauded other CSR activities undertaken by the IRCTC, including promotion of self-help groups and agreed to take up the issue of allotment of land for a budget hotel at Guwahati with the authorities concerned.
Chakraborty has also agreed to put forward to the Assam government a proposal for starting metro railway in Guwahati area, a project that the IRCTC would be keen to associate with and support.