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Trial run in December, opening in Feb: Sarma

Guwahati-North Guwahati ropeway

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, April 24: State Tourism Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has given an assurance that the ropeway connecting Guwahati and North Guwahati is going to have its trial run in December this year and to be opened in February 2019.
The work of the ropeway has been resumed after its halt for years. Addressing the media at Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) office in Guwahati on Tuesday, Sarma said: “We’re set for the trial run of the ropeway connecting Guwahati and North Guwahati in December this year. The ropeway will be opened by February 2019. This is not all. We’re contemplating on another ropeway connecting the foothill of Nilachal and Kamakhya Temple. The ropeway project is being implemented by the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA).  However, the ropeway to and from Kamakhya Temple is to be implemented by ATDC. The corporation is doing its designing work now. It is going to invite tenders within a month.”
Spelling out other tourism development activities in the State, Sarma said: “This year we’ve earmarked Rs 25 crore for publicity of the State tourist spots in the State against Rs 15-16 crore spent on the head in 2016-17. Our tourism Ambassador Priyanka Chopra is coming to the State for a three-day shooting by May, if not in April. Our one-year contract with the Bollywood actor is nearing expiry. We’re going to evaluate if the contract with Chopra has benefited us or not after the shooting and the activities for promoting the State’s tourism potential. If the contract is found to be beneficial for us, we’re will renew the contract.”
ATDC chairman Jayanta Malla Baruah said: “The Assam Tourism’s advertisement acted by Priyanka Chopra in YouTube was viewed by six million viewers. The advertisement got nominations in three heads at Adfest India (the Oscar of Advertising). This apart, there were advertisements reflecting Assam tourism in national and international television channels, Fox Channel, BBC, TLC, National Geography, etc. ATDC has taken a number of luxurious schemes with a view to developing the State tourism and making it more alluring. The Land Scheme is aimed at luring investors to the State Tourism sector.”   
According to Baruah, ADTC could earn Rs 4,22,37,911 in fiscal 2017-18 against Rs 2,24,79,468 in fiscal 2016-17.  Various facilities have been provided for Red River Tours & Travel which earned Rs 6,34,51,279 in fiscal 2017-18 against Rs 1,01,53,406 in fiscal 2016-17, Baruah said.
Meanwhile, the State Tourism Minister made payment of Rs 6.30 crore as severance package to the 72 former employees of Hotel Brahmaputra Ashoka with its closure. The Department has an ambitious tourism projects with the hotel infrastructure. 
Spelling out other tourism development activities which the Corporation has taken up, Baruah said: “We’re going to erect carbon-free wooden huts in the reserve forest areas in the State, besides erecting meditation and yoga centres in Kaziranga National Park (KNP). Promotion of ethnic cuisines among tourists is very much in our agenda. In the coming one year and a half, many new tourism infrastructures will be seen in the State. We’re also going to absorb jobless youths in this sector so as to lessen the problem of unemployment in the State.”    

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Ankur Kalita