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Tourism potential of Udalguri yet to be tapped

By SIVASISH THAKUR

UDALGURI, Dec 28 � The picturesque Indo-Bhutan border in Udalguri district criss-crossed by meandering watercourses amid lush green forests offers immense potential for eco-tourism promotion. Unfortunately, years of neglect to the backward district prevented this prospect from taking a practical shape.

But things could be gradually changing for the better with the district administration, the forest authorities and voluntary organizations joining hands to make a beginning.

�Udalguri is indeed replete with possibilities for a sustained growth of eco-tourism, which can also be a tool for expediting the development process. We are ready to provide the necessary assistance to harness its tourism potential,� Udalguri Deputy Commissioner Thaneswar Malakar said.

Acknowledging that infrastructure constraints stood to hinder tourism development in the border areas, Malakar said that he had formed a committee to look into the different issued involved � including conservation problems, mitigation of the man-elephant conflict, development of the border areas, etc.

�We want to adopt a multi-dimensional approach, as conservation of the flora and fauna and involvement of the local communities will be critical to the long-term success of eco-tourism. Development of the forested areas along the border will be a priority, and we have instructed all the line departments to assist the Forest Department. If necessary, border development funds will also be used for the purpose,� Malakar said.

Bankim Sarma, DFO, Dhansiri Division, while stressing the need for a cautious and well-planned approach, said that adequate training to NGOs and local stakeholders should be integral to any strategy to tap the district�s eco-tourism potential offered by the scenic border areas.

�It needs to be ensured that tourism promotion does not end up damaging the fragile ecology of the area. Tourism promoters will have to have the necessary training and expertise,� Sarma said.

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Tourism potential of Udalguri yet to be tapped

UDALGURI, Dec 28 � The picturesque Indo-Bhutan border in Udalguri district criss-crossed by meandering watercourses amid lush green forests offers immense potential for eco-tourism promotion. Unfortunately, years of neglect to the backward district prevented this prospect from taking a practical shape.

But things could be gradually changing for the better with the district administration, the forest authorities and voluntary organizations joining hands to make a beginning.

�Udalguri is indeed replete with possibilities for a sustained growth of eco-tourism, which can also be a tool for expediting the development process. We are ready to provide the necessary assistance to harness its tourism potential,� Udalguri Deputy Commissioner Thaneswar Malakar said.

Acknowledging that infrastructure constraints stood to hinder tourism development in the border areas, Malakar said that he had formed a committee to look into the different issued involved � including conservation problems, mitigation of the man-elephant conflict, development of the border areas, etc.

�We want to adopt a multi-dimensional approach, as conservation of the flora and fauna and involvement of the local communities will be critical to the long-term success of eco-tourism. Development of the forested areas along the border will be a priority, and we have instructed all the line departments to assist the Forest Department. If necessary, border development funds will also be used for the purpose,� Malakar said.

Bankim Sarma, DFO, Dhansiri Division, while stressing the need for a cautious and well-planned approach, said that adequate training to NGOs and local stakeholders should be integral to any strategy to tap the district�s eco-tourism potential offered by the scenic border areas.

�It needs to be ensured that tourism promotion does not end up damaging the fragile ecology of the area. Tourism promoters will have to have the necessary training and expertise,� Sarma said.

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