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Rebel roadblock for tourism

Ranchi, Feb. 8: The Naxalites have virtually derailed the tourism sector in the state.
The construction company, whose five persons were abducted for levy a few days ago, have walked out of the project to lay down the approach road to Dasham falls.

The tourism department officials revealed that the government was planning to invest about Rs 2 crore of Central funds earmarked for the overall development of the falls.

“But the rebels did not allow us to take up the project to develop Dasham, which has proved to be a death trap for many tourists. Besides, the rebels have also put a roadblock to an 18-km stretch to Netarhat, described to be the queen of the Chhotanagpur plateau,” an official said.
At a meeting held a while ago, police assured to provide protection, but unfortunately the help never came.

Similarly, the rebels have also grounded projects worth Rs 3 crore for developing roads and guesthouses at the Parasnath hills. The project at Kanke dam is also grounded due to the pressure from the local residents, they pointed out. The renovation of the Palamau fort, one of the few monuments in Jharkhand, too, is lying abandoned.

The state government had allocated about Rs 2 crore three years ago to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) but the latter has not made any headway.

ASI superintendent J. Vaidya, however, denied that he faced any trouble from the Naxalites. “We are preparing the project that has to be cleared by an apex committee of the Supreme Court since it is situated within the Betla National Park,” he said.

Not getting help from the police, the tourism and forest department officials are said to have struck a deal with the extremists for the safety of the visitors.

Tourism secretary S.K. Chaudhary said whenever he raised the issue, the police assured him to make forces available. “We had meetings with the police but the follow-up action was never taken,” he said.

State director-general of police J. Mahapatra said the problem was genuine.
An idea was mooted to raise a special force for tourism following the pattern in Kerala and Goa. But except Parasnath in Giridih, not much revenue could be generated to fund the special force.


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posted by Bimal 9.2.07,


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